HomePOLITICSMp Rwakajara Pledge to Union Workers, Moving Stern Private Members Bill on...

Mp Rwakajara Pledge to Union Workers, Moving Stern Private Members Bill on Externalization of Uganda’s Labour.

By Jimmy Twist


Incumbent Worker’s MP Arinaitwe Rwakajara seeking for a third term as workers representative in the 11th Parliament has told members from the 44 unions constituting the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) in Uganda at the Electoral Commission where they had converged for nominations that, he has sought for a leave of Parliament to come up with a private members bill on the Externalization of Uganda’s Labour force to the United Arab Emirates.

The proposed private members’ bill in progress by Rwakajara, comes in handy following weekly media reports of mistreatment of Ugandan migrant workers, especially in the Middle East.

Rwakajara told the press that in the private members’ bill on the Externalization of Labour in Uganda that he seeks to table on the floor of Parliament for its forest reading when Parliament resumes business, he considers inserting stringent penalties to deal with recruitment firms involved in labour export business that have often neglected the welfare and protection of the people they take to the Arab world for greener pastures.

“In this bill I will propose to Parliament that companies that do not take care of Ugandans they take in the UAE for greener pastures should be delt with individually once complaints araise about them and also pay fines for negligence…” said Rwakajara

The Speaker of Parliament, at the 29th Sitting of the 1st Meeting of the 4th Session of the 1Ott, Parliament held on 29th August 2019 during plenary directed to the Committee of Gender, Labour and Social Development an assignment to investigate the externalization of labour phenomenon and come up with a preliminary report to the House. The directive was in response to concerns raised by Members regarding the harmful consequences of the Externalisation of Labour and what the government has done to address the concerns especially the mistreatment of Uganda migrant workers in the Middle East.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 20 1 1, international migration is the movement of a person or a group of persons across an international border. It encompasses any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition, and causes. A well-coordinated system for externalization of labour is intended to guarantee the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of immigrant workers, in the view of experiences of uncoordinated and illegal movement of workers out of the country. 

As a component of labour, the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and social development in Uganda has failed in its overall mandate to oversee the Externalisation of Labour Program due to the absence of the law on the externalization of labour. 

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development indicated that between 2006 and 2O15, more than 5O, OOO Ugandan migrant workers were employed abroad through labour externalization program.

According to the Daily Minute of Monday 12th March 2018, the highest number of Ugandan workers externalization in a single year was 8,353 in 2O10. However, statistics from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development indicated that a total of 109 companies had been licensed to recruit migrant workers and externalization abroad as of October 2O18. As at the time of the signing of this report, the number of Companies in Uganda licensed to externalization labour was 187. Between 2O12 and October, 2O18, a total of42,245 Ugandans had been externalized by external labour recruitment companies. Security link limited, a recruitment company had externalization of 12,214 Ugandans equivalent to 28.9% of this total number of recruitments.


According to statistics from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the number of Ugandan workers working abroad is over 20,000, bringing in remittances of over USD 1.4 Billion annually. While more than 3,000 Ugandans are externalized monthly, creating jobs for more than 36,000 Ugandans.

Rwakajara also revealed to on the agender of the unaccomplished assignment he intends to embark on once Parliament resumes business is to seek for an interface with the president to convince him to sign the long-awaited controversial Minimum Wage Bill 2015, passed by Parliament which the president has since declined to sign, stating that the current law is sufficient for the sector.

“President hasn’t signed the minimum wage but I will push for it and ensure that the president signs the Minimum Wage Bill into law…” said Rwakajara

On the 27th August 2019, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga informed the House that the president wrote stating that he was not assenting to the bill.

“Having received advice from the Attorney General… I hereby refuse to assent to the Bill… There are no gaps in the Minimum Wages Advisory Board and Wages Council Act that the Bill seeks to cure,” reads the President’s letter in part.

 The President went on to state that the cabinet had directed the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to review a report on the implications of fixing a minimum wage to investment and the economy.

“The said report was prepared by the Minimum Wages Advisory Board and cabinet still awaits the report from the ministry so as to make an informed decision,” Museveni stated in his letter.


 However, Kadaga said the explicit refusal to assent to the Bill was unlike in the past where the President indicated areas for adjustment in a given bill.

 “This is a total rejection of the whole Bill; therefore, I direct the Member responsible for this Bill to bring it to the House so that we take a decision on the entire Bill,” The Speaker added.

Parliament passed the Minimum Wage Bill, 2015 on Tuesday, 19 February 2019. The object of the Bill was to establish a minimum wages board by the minister; put in place mechanisms for determining minimum wages for each sector; state the duties, powers, and functions of the board and the procedures for determining the minimum wage.

The Bill was moved by Workers MP, Hon. Arinaitwe Rwakajara, who also sought to provide for an employee-employer led minimum wages determination, sectoral based minimum wage determination, and application under the Minimum Wage Advisory Board Act.

However, Rwakajara has also promised the National Organization of Trade Union (NOTU) which is the umbrella body of over 44 union groups that part of his other mission in the 11th Parliament once voted will involve pushing for the building of a headquarter to house the 44 union groups and save them from renting costs.

“This will help the union to reduce on the cost of renting offices and as well stay under one structure..” said Rwakajara



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