ILO Approves Uganda's Minimum Wage Proposals

2087 Views

In short
As member of ILO, Uganda is required to revise its labor law to match international standards. ILO standards on wages provide for regular payment of wages, the fixing of minimum wage levels, and the settlement of unpaid wages in case of employer insolvency.

International Labor Organization (ILO)'s new Regional Director for Africa, Chimpinga Chuma is mooting for the approval of Uganda's Minimum Wage Bill 2013. This would guarantee access to adequate and regular wages for all people in employment.

The Bill currently in parliament but yet to be debated makes some recommendations, among others the setting up of an advisory board with the task of setting minimum wages for various sectors in the economy. Uganda has been operating on the 1957 law, which places the minimum wage at Ugx 6,000.

The bill drafted by Workers MP Stephen Rwakajara, Jinja Municipality MP Paul Mwiru and Kasese Municipality MP Stephen Mbahimba, is aimed at replacing the 1957 law. This however isn't the first such an attempt is made but earlier endeavors yielded no results.

An advisory council set-up in 1995 had also recommended that Uganda's minimum wage be set at Ugx 75,000. Implementation of this has been hard to come by.

As member of ILO, Uganda is required to revise its labor law to match international standards. ILO standards on wages provide for regular payment of wages, the fixing of minimum wage levels, and the settlement of unpaid wages in case of employer insolvency.

However, in Uganda, the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) is concerned that Ugandan authorities have put more emphasis on protecting investors than employees. As such, the right to bargain collectively is not recognized, a recent submission to the ILO indicates.

Choma who was in Uganda last week, told URN that the bill required a few changes, but that the idea is widely welcome. The ILO chief said he discussed this topic with the Trade Unions and the Federation of Uganda Employers.

//Cue in: There was a discussion…
Cue out: …remains of course a local institution//
 
Choma also noted in further discussions with unions, the strengthening of the Industrial Court needs was necessary. He did admit that currently low expertise in this area. 

He also visited a local entrepreneur, Joseph Mwesigwa, 23, who employs about 45 people to make dolls, handbags dining table mats from papyrus and fibers in Mukono District. Most of these products target tourists. Mwesigwa is a beneficiary of ILO's Green Business Plan Initiatives, aimed at supporting projects that are environmentally friendly and employ the youth and women.

//Cue in: I started in 2007…
Cue out: …most of the youth and the ladies//

With start-up capital of 100,000 Uganda Shillings "Ayesiga Mukama Crafts" has been able to deliver a monthly profit of 400,000 Uganda Shillings.