Workers at Tembo Steel Rolling Mills in Lugazi are embroiled in pay dispute with the factory workers. They say they receive wages of only 2,000 shillings per day, which is too little to compensate them for their labor.
Yesterday the dispute escalated and resulted in an eight-hour sit down strike. The police were called in to protect the Tembo Steel Rolling Mills premises for fear that violence would break out among the 500 workers on strike.
David Kyazze, the chairman of the factory's workers' union, says the wage dispute has lasted for three months. He says attempts to engage the factory General Manager, Agrawal Dewalal, in a discussion about increasing the money have failed.
Kyazze says the workers want Dewalal to be sacked. He claims that the General Manager is dismissive of their concerns and whenever they complain about this, his threatens to sack them.
Rose Nakyomu, a nurse at the Tembo Steel Rolling Mills clinic, says poor pay is not the only problem at the factory. She says the workers do no have protective gear and accidents are many. It doesn't help that the clinic is poorly equipped to handle medical emergencies.
Nakyomu says some of these issues would have been addressed if the factory hired a personnel manager to deal with workers' concerns.
Many of the factory workers say they have been employed by Tembo Steel Rolling Mills for five years, but have never been given appointment letters. They are afraid that without valid contracts, they could be sacked on a whim.
Rajesh Nair, the Chief Executive Officer of Tembo Steel Rolling Mills, promises to sack his general manager. He appeals for his staff to return to work as other issues are sorted out.