Workers of Busoga Forest Company-BFC and Mayuge Sugar factory has revealed chilling stories of exploitation and abuse by their employers. They accuse their employers of failing to provide them with protective gear, underpayment and sexual harassment of female employees. Workers at BFC and MSF earn less than 3000 shillings a day, which is deducted allegedly to pay for protective gears. The employees expressed their complaints during an inquiring by Mayuge district leadership into the affairs of the two organizations.
They blamed the problem of exploitation on lack of supervision by government on the activities of investors in the country. Jackson Basalilwa, an evaporation specialist at Mayuge Sugar says they have no gloves, gum boots, helmets, headphones and work for long hours without being provided with basic necessities such as water and food. Basalilwa says they are exposed to over 85 decibels of noise and 40 Centigrade of heat, in breach of environmental laws of Uganda.
He says their pleas for the intervention of Mayuge Resident District commissioner - RDC, labor office and investments ministry have yielded not yielded any results. Basalilwa says investors have become untouchable adding that, whoever raises any complaints against them is asked to shut up on allegations of economic sabotage. Thomas Aramu, the Mayuge district Environment Officer has written to both Mayuge Sugar Factory and Busoga forestry Company on the breach of environmental laws.
He accuses Mayuge Sugar factory and Busoga Forest Company for failing to control its noise levels and encroachment on the buffer zones respectively.
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But Kamulesh Makhesh, the Managing director Mayuge Sugar Factory denies allegations of exploiting their workers and a poor working environment. He insists the working environment at the factory is okay.
Isaac Kapalaga, the Managing Director BFC says the trees planted in the environmental buffer zone have been abandoned.
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Margret Mbeiza, the Mayuge RDC says they have already written a report from their findings to state house, Uganda Investment Authority and Ministry of Investment. An investor found guilty of breaching the Investment code could have his license revoked.