Uganda: Push for minimum wage law to curb exploitation of workers

Author: The Independent (Uganda), Published on: 26 September 2019

"Fight over Minimum Wage Bill"

A fresh fight is looming between workers’ unions and representatives in Parliament and the government over new proposals to have a minimum wage law. President Yoweri Museveni returned the proposed Minimum Wage Bill 2018 to Parliament on Aug.21 saying the new proposals as contained in the Minimum Wage Bill 2018 are already covered in the existing law.This, President Museveni said, was based on the advice from the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga. 

However, the architect of the proposed law, Arinaitwe Rwakajara, who also serves as Workers’ Member of Parliament, says he plans to re-table the Bill in Parliament. He says the President was ill advised to think that there exist laws that cater for the minimum wage for the working population. Rwakajara says the Bill seeks to address the gaps in the current Minimum Wage Advisory Board Act by providing for an employee-employer led minimum wage determination based on various sectors. “Currently, people cannot dictate what they wish to be paid and therefore live at the mercy of their employers. This is something we intend to correct,” he said...

Currently, only Kenya and Tanzania have minimum wage-related laws in the East African region. However, in Uganda, the question whether to fix a minimum wage for the labour market remains unresolved for some time now for fear that it will increase the cost of production and hinder the country’s faster economic growth and development...“The minimum wage can help minimize injustice and exploitation of workers,” he said, adding that President was misled by the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Janat Mukwaya.

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