Strengthening Women’s Voices for Minimum Wage

Strengthening Women's Voices for Minimum Wage

On Wednesday, SEATINI Uganda organized a meeting on why the decision for Minimum Wage legislation must be based on human rights, not economics and investment interest. The meeting took place at the Golf Course hotel, Kampala and gathered Parliamentarians, casual workers, advocates, civil society organizations

The policy, Laws, Investors, Domestic workers conditions, Minimum wages were debated transparently and democratically

Notably, on 19th February 2019, the Parliament of Uganda passed the proposed Minimum Wages Bill, 2015 with no substantial objection from any Member.

The main aim of the bill is to put in place mechanisms for determining minimum wages for each sector; state the duties, powers and functions of the Minimum Wages Advisory Board and the procedures for determining the minimum wage; and provide for an employee-led a minimum wage determination

Uganda’s Minimum Wage was last revised in 1984 when it was set at 6,000 Ugandan shillings only.

Therefore, putting the Bill on hold by parliament leaves workers in exploitation; parliament needs to provide a framework for revision of this minimum wage, provide a ray of hope.

The legislation had been rejected by his Excellency, the President of Uganda on a number of grounds.

The President stated that the current law; the Minimum Wage Advisory Board Act is sufficient. However, according to the Workers’ representatives, the current Act contains gaps. The Act does not provide for certain critical aspects, including a sectorial based minimum wage determination

The current legislation does not grant workers the bargaining power they need to negotiate for payments they wish to earn, and therefore leaves them at the mercy of their employers

Speaking at the meeting, Hon Kyamateka Jovia said “it is not always about the minimum wage but it is about the working conditions, and as a member of Parliament will continue to advocate for better working conditions

In the bill, the President directed Ministry Gender and labour to undertake a study on the implications of fixing a minimum wage on investment and the economy

The bill doesn’t protect the whistleblower, when the President rejects the bill, it is the role of the Parliament to send it back to him let us work together to get the bill out ~ Faith Lumonya

However, the President’s arguments and the proposals put forward for a study only seek to assess the implications of a Minimum wage on investment and the economy and ignore the rights and wellbeing of workers who currently receive less than 6,000 Ugandan shillings a day

We need a minimum wage legal regime starting with paid employees who are casual labourer’s

As the parliament is not seated, it is working hard that the minimum wage bill is passed, and we just waiting for the president of Uganda to sign on the papers ~ Hon. Winnie

Most women that work in Flower farms, Bidco company, kalangala face a lot of challenges ranging from labour exploitation, sexual harassment, and low pay and the bill is needed like yesterday

Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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