The Chinese company working on the Bulima-Kabwoya road in Hoima district has been given two weeks to review the wage scales for its workers who have been on a sit down strike.
Lorry drivers and mechanics working for China Railway Number Five Group have been on a two-day sit-down strike complaining of poor pay and other forms of mistreatment from the contractors.
The strike stalled the works on the African Development Bank-funded project that was handed to the Chinese contractors by Uganda National Roads Authority.
On Tuesday evening, top officials in Hoima district met both the contractors and their employees to resolve the impasse. The officials included Resident District Commissioner Isaac Kawooya, local council five chairperson Kirungi Kadiri, labour officer Anthony Ayesiga and Bernard Akankwasa, the district police commander.
During the meeting workers complained that the Chinese managers mistreat them by beating them on the site. The also noted that their employers reneged on a promise of shillings 2000 increment on their daily wages.
Sam Atiku, who spoke on behalf of the workers, says they have been earning in varying scales ranging from shillings 10,000 to 13,000 but no increment as agreed. He said the Chinese supervisors have been beating them at the site and nothing is done and so they wanted this sorted out before resuming work.
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The contractors' commercial manager who only identified himself as Mr. Ma told the meeting that the drivers only went on strike after realising that fuel tanks had been locked to prevent siphoning of fuel.
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Ma said that the company negotiates with every driver taking up a job and have been giving bonuses for every trip made. He said the drivers are given bonus of shillings 5,000 for three trips and 7000 for four trips.
Kirungi Kadiri, Hoima district chairperson, asked the contractors to address the bonuses issue to make the drivers happy.
Kadiri said the drivers prefer the Kibaale-Kyenjojo to the Bulima-Kabwoya section of the road because of better pay.
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RDC Isaac Kawooya gave the district labour officer and the Chinese contractors two weeks to jointly review the wages of all the workers, including the administrators. He asked the drivers to resume their work immediately. The RDC however accused the drivers of sabotaging the government development projects by siphoning fuel which they reportedly sell cheaply to other motorists.
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The contractor has also been tasked to provide safety gears to all the workers in the company.
The drivers today morning resumed work of ferrying aggregates to the construction site in Masindi district.