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Cyprian Is Nyakundi




18th April 2013 , Uganda Radio Network Reported

78 casual workers of Bidco Uganda Limited in Jinja have staged a strike. The employees laid down their tools on Thursday morning to protest poor working conditions. They are accusing management of failing to respond to their grievances such as low pay, lack of meals, transport and inadequate protective gears. Juma Musenero, a casual laborer in the oil department explains that they are paid 3600 shillings each day. He claims that they report to work at 5am and work until 7pm, but they are neither given drinking water nor food.He explains that the machines in the oil department emit a lot of heat, which requires them to drink a lot of water and milk, but nothing is provided by BIDCO. He claims that they were provided a lunch allowance early this year, but it has never been paid. Musenero says they also pay 10,000 shillings for the company identity card and buy the knives they use to work which is unfair. Mary Nabukenya, another worker accuses the management of discriminating against casual laborers. She claims that salaried workers are given meals and transport, which casual workers don’t get.

Most of the workers at Bidco Uganda limited stay in Bugembe, Mafubira and Jinja town which is more than seven kilometers away from work. Nabukenya says that she earns 28,000 shillings each week, but spends most of it to buy water to rehydrate the body since she works for long hours. Peter Oketch, another worker says that they are not allowed to wear open shoes yet the heat inside the factory is unbearable. He wants management to fire the human resource manager for failing to address their plight.

Bernard Gwabi, the Bidco Uganda Human Resource Manager told URN he was on his way to Kampala to present the workers grievances to the Chief Executive officer, directors and board members. Samson Lubega, the Jinja Regional Police spokesperson says the workers are still peaceful. In 2005, employees of Bidco Oil Palm project in Kalangala district went on strike protesting poor working conditions.


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