News and Views
Workers storm minster’s office
By Patrick Jaramogi
There was commotion at the Finance ministry Monday morning when a group of over 200 workers stormed the offices of Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka demanding that workers issues be addressed.
The workers under their umbrella body The Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) beat the tight security at the Finance Ministry located at Sir Apollo Kaggwa road by entering in one by one as usual visitors.
The COFTU head and workers Member of Parliament Dr. Sam Lyomoki tactfully entered last amidst cheers and ululations from the workers, who had camped at the Ministers office.
They chanted union songs as security ushered them into one of the ministry boardrooms. “We have declared a protracted struggle with industrial actions to compel government to value labour and address workers issues. The struggle that was launched on May 1st resumed today June 4th and will continue until all issues are readdressed,” said Lyomoki.
Lyomoki and his entourage were only calmed down when Finance state minister Jacan Omach moved out to talk to them. They had vowed not to leave until their issues are addressed.
Omach had earlier called his senior colleague Maria Kiwanuka who was out of office when the workers besieged the premises. “My senior minister is out of office but she says your issues will be addressed accordingly,” said Omach.
He told the enthusiastic workers that Kiwanuka had called Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi over the issue. “I am told by the Finance minister that the Prime Minister will be meeting you tomorrow to discuss your issues,” said Omach.
The workers and their leaders had initially planned to storm offices of the concerned ministries and demand that long standing worker’s demands that fall within the jurisdiction of particular highlighted ministries be handled.
“If government continues to be adamant, we camp in the offices of these ministries and all workers join until demands are met, and no leaving whether arrested or teargased. We are protected by law so when leaders get arrested, others will take over,” said Lyomoki. He said he confirmed with Amama that the meeting will be held at 3pm.
Among the issues that the workers want address are issues to do with minimum wage, industrial court, honouring the presidential pledge to workers, protection of workers, fair and equitable wages for all government workers.
Others include; payment of the 30 percent increment to all scientists as pledged by President Museveni, development and adoption of the industrial Relations Charter and inclusion of workers in the prosperity for all programmes among other grievances.