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Workers Strike Paralyses Business At Victoria FM

Steven Kagiri, a sports news anchor says the company has failed to meet most of its contractual obligations since he started working in 2015. He says his transport, feeding and airtime allowances have never been paid. According to Kagiri, he has only received less than Shillings 400,000 from the station yet he is entitled to Shillings 200,000 each month.
Work has grounded to a halt at the Jinja based Victoria FM following a sit down strike by workers. The workers laid down their tools on Tuesday this week to protest poor working conditions, low pay and unclear terms of employment. The striking employees include presenters, news anchors, reporters, sales executives and managers. 

The employees demand accumulated salaries and allowances for the last six years amounting to Shillings 100 million. Shafik Khalifa, one of the pioneers of Victoria FM and Station Manager, says most of the workers have unpaid arrears dating back to 2010. He accuses the director of the station of renewing the contracts of the employees and giving them pay rises without effecting the payment. 

According to Khalifa, the company owes him more than Shillings 38 million in unpaid salaries and allowances. His basic monthly pay is Shillings 500,000. Steven Kagiri, a sports news anchor says the company has failed to meet most of its contractual obligations since he started working in 2015. He says his transport, feeding and airtime allowances have never been paid.  According to Kagiri, he has only received less than Shillings 400,000 from the station yet he is entitled to Shillings 200,000 each month. 

Helen Kutaira, a morning show presenter says she has been footing her transport costs from Walukuba to Kimaka where the station is found since she joined four months ago. According to Kutaira, she hasn't received any of her monthly pay of Shillings 100,000. The heavily indebted workers say cannot afford to pay rent, schools fee and meet treatment costs for themselves and their children. 

Richard Kimera, the Programs manager Victoria FM, says their major advertisers like Coca Cola, Riham, Bamarco, Vita foam and Crest foam have cancelled their contracts because the station has been off air since Tuesday. He says in addition to none payment of the employers, the company hasn't been remitting the employees contribution to the National Social Security Fund. 

Uganda Revenue Authority is also demanding more than Shillings 900 million in tax arrears from the station. James Mutyabule, the Resident Director Victoria FM confirms the radio is heavily indebted to the tune of Shillings 1.4 billion. He says their lawyer is handling the matter to settle all outstanding debts before they can resume operations. 

He says some of the former shareholders like Waako Muzinge and Victoria Walusaga will also be settled. It took the intervention of Felix Migizi, the Jinja Central Police Commander to stop the angry employees from destroying the company property. Victoria FM was opened in 2008 under a partnership. However, in 2014 Florence Mutyabule, the former Namutumba district woman Member of Parliament took over the station fully.

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