Hoima airport contractor lays off 160 workers

Construction of Hoima International Airport in Kabaale, Hoima District underway.

SBC, the company contracted by the government to construct Hoima International Airport has laid off 160 workers. 

The company said in a letter to the staff that the decision to lay off the workers was in line with the government guidelines to control the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

It, however, comes at a time when the government is easing restrictions that started in March.

The letter that was signed by the SBC Senior Project Manager, Mr Mihail Gorachivoc, instructed all workers to return all company belongings including identity cards to the human resource office. 

He add that the affected workers would get their salary and terminal benefits up to the end of May in accordance with their employment contracts.

The termination letter was also copied to the Hoima District Labour Officer, Mr Anthony Ayesiga and the company’s Human Resource Officer.

In April 2020, SBC halted the construction work and sent home more than 900 workers saying it did not have accommodation facilities at the construction site in Kabale village, Kabale sub- county, Hoima district. 

Addressing the nation on the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, President Yoweri Museveni advised those undertaking construction works to sleep on the site to restrict their movement.  

Mr Amos Muriisa, the SBC spokesperson confirmed the termination of contracts of the employees saying the company cannot call in more workers since they have to observe the standard operating procedures of social distancing as a means of combating the COVID-19 Pandemic.

One of the affected employees who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity says termination of their working contracts have come at a time when they are financially frustrated. 

The airport is one of the key support infrastructures for the next course of the fast-paced activities leading to commercial oil production.

The airport construction works which are in the second phase commenced in April 2018.   

The $309m airport financed by Standard Chartered Bank will have a capacity of accommodating four cargo planes at ago, a fire station, an apron, a control tower and accommodation facilities for the workers.

The airport will handle both cargo and passenger flights because it has a multipurpose terminal building. 

The construction of runways, earthworks, capping of layer, pavements, apron and filling areas for cargo is ongoing.

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