KAMPALA – After receiving overwhelming endorsements from workers regionally, the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) Chairman General Mr Wilson Usher Owere has promised when elected as MP will help to strengthen workers bargaining power.
“I will improve industrial relations between employers, government and employees, bolstering their relations,” said Owere during an exclusive interview with PML Daily last week.
Mr. Owere, who has been a strong voice for the workers’ welfare is credited for liberating National Social Security Fund (NSSF) from financial scandals and advocating for workers’ representation on the NSSF board.
Mr Owere said that involving workers on the NSSF board, savings have since increased over the last few years from UGX 2 trillion to now UGX14 trillion, adding that trade union leaders and other stakeholders are struggling to enable members who have reached the age of 45 and above to access at least 20 percent of their savings.
The NOTU boss also suggested the amendments of NSSF Act more benefits like midterm access, employment benefits, medical insurance, and housing.
Mr. Owere, pushed for minimum wage through International Labour Organisation (ILO), of which in 2017 Uganda was directed to put in place minimum wage. He privately continued the pressure on parliament, a development that saw MPs present a private members bill on the same. It was passed in 2019 but President Museveni is yet to ascend to it.
Workers commend him for vehemently resisting the importation of foreign doctors into the sector and his criticism on government slow pace in increasing salaries of civil servants including medical workers, scientists and teachers.
The workers say, they want him to Parliament for more service delivery.
During the Acholi NRM sub-region, chairperson Gulu NRM Workers League Mr Santa Obwoya commended Owere whom he said was involved advancing for increment of teachers’ salaries and local council district councillors.
“As delegates, we will elect only him because he’s committed and is indeed a true workers defender,” Obwoya said.
He pledged to broaden his scope and role in strengthening workers bargaining power so that they are able to negotiate with employers and government.
He vowed to lobby President Museveni to enable the workers quest for minimum wage bill is harmonized and signed into law.