KAMPALA —The Special Returnees Association (SRA) an umbrella body of Ugandans that worked in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005 to date has petitioned the US government— asking President Biden administration to intervene and aid the process that would enable them to recover their payments that accrued as a result of under payment during their time of service.
SRA advocates for equitable civil treatment and fair employee rights on behalf of Ugandans who have gained employment abroad and are either still abroad or have returned to Uganda.
In their demands, the body maintains that they were underpaid by the different US Security Contractors that recruited them to offer security services to the US government in the gulf region.
Speaking to reporters in Kampala, association chairperson Victor Musinguzi explained that sever Ugandans were recruited by US Security Contractors on behalf of the US Military from September 10th, 2005 and up todate the Baghdad-US Embassy is manned by Ugandans.
“The discrepancy on salary that we observed in the contract was that the money that was in the letters of authorization which we were issued was not the actual amount of money that was paid in our salaries,” Musinguzi said.
Quoting letters of authorization from the US Department of Defence, Musinguzi says that returnees were entitled to a salary grade of GS12 to GS15 which approximately translates to USD59, 000 to USD80, 000 per but they were paid salaries ranging from USD4800 to USD12,000 per year.
Musinguzi says that they learnt of the discrepancy when they were already offering services and making claims wouldn’t be easy.
“As Ugandans we were not conversant with the US payment system like the use of terms such as GS; we just came to understand the salary grade after we were engaged with work but that doesn’t stop us to raise concern over the bleach of contracts which we observed,” Musinguzi said.
SRA Director Public Relations, Griffin Nduga Musaazi said that the association has since acquired a legal task force that is set up in USA to handle the legal technical issues within the case.
“We call upon all Ugandans that were once recruited in Iraq and Afghanistan to join the association so that we can have a collective bargain for our due payment. It may be impossible for a single person to make any claims but if we are united as an association, we all stand to gain,” Musaazi noted.