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1 Nov 2016

Joseph Kato & Stephen Wandera, Monitor (Uganda)

Police probe flower firms over poisoning, sexual harassment

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Last week, over 80 workers at Royal Van Zanten flower firm in Wakiso District received emergency medical attention after complained of various health complications following alleged exposure to poisonous chemicals at their place of work... Mr Andrew Kaweesi, the Police spokesperson said all flower firms in the country are under probe because of workers’ outcry regarding alleged unfavourable working conditions. “There have been a couple of complaints which we have not been following and we have now realised it is part of a bigger problem. Workers have complained of sexual harassment, forced labour and non-payment,” Mr Kaweesi said told journalists on Monday in Kampala...

This comes hours after women lawyers and trade unionists petitioned the Netherlands government over the allegedly poisoning of workers of Royal Van Zanten where total of 102 employees of the firm inhaled toxic chemicals. “We call on the Dutch government to summon the firm [Royal Van Zanten] to account for it actions that has led to workers’ rights,” Ms Irene Ovonji, the executive director of the Federation of Uganda Women Lawyers (Fida), said.