Thematic Portfolio Social Protection in Central Africa - Uganda

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Ugandan legislators to promote Labour rights and productivity

  • Ugandan legislators to promote Labour rights and productivity
    • Ugandan legislators to promote Labour rights and productivity

In a bid to improve decent work and social protection for workers in Uganda, the capacity of legislators and labour stakeholders was built on labour laws and productivity through a training organized by the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development in partnership with Enabel, and the Parliamentary Forum on Labour Decent Employment and Productivity. Through the training, legislators can ably advocate for and promote the role of decent employment opportunities and productive labour in achieving sustainable wealth creation through effective stakeholder engagement, legislation, and oversight. The two days’ training brought together 75 participants, who included Members of parliament, members of labour unions, and employer organizations.

In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Labour, Decent Employment and Productivity, Hon. Roland Ndyomugyenyi said that they want to build the capacity of the MP on the accreditation of the international labour standards and the national laws regarding labour. “We want to create a networking platform for all the members of parliament, labour unions, and employers because labour is a multifaceted concept that involves several stakeholders, and when we come together, we will be able to address the issues and achieve high productivity”, said Hon. Roland.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Chief Technical Advisor and Head of Office in Uganda, Mr. Stephen George Opio in his communication said that skills development is one of the issues that needs to be addressed because productivity can not be achieved without investing in skills development. He said that the forum should put into practice the 4 key principles of the ILO, which are; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, the effective abolition of child labour, the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, and a healthy working environment for all workers. “The parliamentary forum should strengthen their engagement with the labour unions, Federation of Uganda Employers, and the government through legislation and appropriation”, added Stephen.

Representing the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD), Hon. Sarah Opendi, in her opening remarks said that decent work can only be attained when the necessary legislation is in place. There is therefore a need to undertake a legal review, identify gaps, and make amendments. She said that the ministry is currently spearheading the NSSF reforms, implementation of the Social Protection and Decent Work agenda in partnership with Enabel, and the operationalization of the Industrial Court. She said that the workers’ Members of Parliament are currently working on the private members' bill regarding the issue of the minimum wage. “Therefore, the Parliamentary Forum on Labour, Decent Employment, and Productivity should work hard to ensure that the bill is on the order paper and is enacted”, added Hon. Sarah Opendi.

The Parliamentary Forum on Labour, Decent Employment, and Productivity was incorporated and registered on 11th October 2021. It adopted its ambition in accordance with Vision 2030, NDP Plan III, Labour Policies and Laws, the International Labour Organisation Strategic Plan, and Ministerial Policies on Labour and Productivity to; enhance labour productivity and decent work promotion, promote Safe Working Spaces, promote Innovation and Technology through skilling for socio-economic transformation, create models for employment and on job retentions, promote Apprentice and work-based learning, and promote green jobs for safe working environment.

The training is a decisive step towards ensuring that the rights and welfare of Ugandan workers are secured, that labour laws are aligned with international standards, and that the nation progresses towards a future of equitable development and social justice which will be achieved through advocacy and informed debates on the floor of Parliament.

The Ag. Country Portfolio Manager for Enabel in Uganda, Mr. Ali Azoti in his opening remarks said that critical components of pillar 5 of the Social Protection Project have been aimed at strengthening an enabling environment for policy development and national dialogue for decent work and social protection at the national and East African level. “In pursuit of this objective, the project implements action research to provide evidence-based policy guidance by facilitating the operationalization of public strategies for decent work, fostering peer-to-peer changes among stakeholders in Belgium, DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, and providing capacity building of public agencies and institutions”, said Azoti.

The Social Protection Project's involvement in the consultative process for national employment and social protection strategies in Uganda underscores its dedication to shaping inclusive policies that benefit all segments of society. The link between the Parliamentary Forum on Labour, Decent Employment and Productivity and pillar 5 of the project is undeniable, thus increasing awareness and capacity building of Members of Parliament and their collaborators to amplify the project’s impact and collective efforts towards decent work promotion.

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