Representatives of workers in parliament have renewed their demand for electoral reforms that provide for a wider representation in parliament and at different levels of local government.
The call arose from consultative meetings between worker’s representatives in parliament and workers’ groups across the country in which they expressed need to have their representation revisited as a measure to ensure protection of worker’ rights.
Speaking at the sidelines of a consultative meeting held in the Western City of Fortportal, Workers MP Hon. Arinaitwe Rwakajara said workers are not contented especially those in the private sector whose rights are continually abused.
“Workers are not contented especially in the private sector. Majority of workers have no recognition agreements with employees, work beyond the stipulated 8 hours, operate in hazardous environment and welfare issues including salary disparities which is why representation is very important” He said.
He said, initially workers were thought to be in towns only but nowadays factories have been extended to the countryside employing many workers and the requirement to defend their rights at all levels has become crucial.
“Workers are concerned about the cities that have come up; they are not sure whether workers will be represented like other interest groups and other societies. They are also concerned whether this time they will have representation at Municipalities and Sub-county level” Rwakajara noted.
The 10th Parliament has 5 workers’ representatives as part of Special Interest Groups alongside People with Disabilities, and Youths. However, Cabinet this week passed a resolution to create 5 more seats for the elderly in parliament.
Rwakajara says, rather than splitting small constituencies to create seats for smaller groups like the elderly, government should also consider more seats for workers who make up a population of more than 7 million Ugandans.
“So far we have councilors at District level, but that’s not enough. We need representation at all levels like other groups. And we demand this without hesitation we don’t want to miss another term without representation” He said.
Hon. Rwakajara appealed to the Electoral Commission, Local Government minister and the NRM Electoral Commission to quickly consider the demands of workers before the 2021 general elections commence.