GROWING RIFT: RVR Workers Lay Down Tools Demanding Un-Cleared Salaries and Allowances for Over a Year

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President Museveni reopening the Uganda railway
President Museveni reopening the Uganda railway

Just after Makerere University was shut down by President Museveni less than 24 hours after a riot by students protesting lack of pay for their lecturers, another company is facing imminent shut down after the workers lay down their tools.

The growing grievances at the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) prompted the sit-down strike of the workers under the Uganda Railways Union. The Investigator has established that the workers decided to down their tools due to a number of issues ranging from high handed disciplinary penalties, militarization of Trains and Marshalling yards, favoritism in recruitment, failure to build a team as well as failure to pay terminal benefits, and meal allowances for over a year.

The spark of the strike followed the sacking of two employees, Mutenyo and Bakutayo under unclear circumstances.

In a strongly worded letter, the National General Secretary Uganda Railways Union described as inhuman the sacking of the duo on mere suspicion.

In a heated meeting called to resolve the impulse, attended by the Chairman General National Organisation of Trade Union (NOTU) Wilson Usher Owere and his secretary General Werikhe, as well as the director of Labor Martin Wandera the RVR management was requested to reinstate the two dismissed officers.

The enraged staff said the deployment of armed UPDF officers within the RVR yard in Kampala and in Jinja stations had contributed to multiple accidents as staff is scared of carrying out routine checks on the fleet, fearing the mean looking armed men.

Owere revealed to The Investigator that they are also investigating allegations of nepotism on the side of the Joram Nyanzi, the General Manager Rift Valley Railways who is accused of recruiting many colleagues of his where he served initially at Spedag.

The manager is also accused of failing to build a team of staff since he lacks the communication, coordination and cooperation aspects that are key in team building in any organization. But bitterly, the fact that left many staff with tears rolling down their face is that failure to pay them their terminal benefits for the terminated and retired staff.

The affected staff said Nyanzi has failed to pay them their lunch allowance for over a year now yet even the overtime allowance is sometime not paid and if it is paid, it doesn’t reflect the exact hours that the staff has worked. To make matters worse, the promise of the general salary increase that was supposed to be effected March 2016 has not been effected.

Nyanzi was adamant when contacted to defend himself preferring to let the circumstances take its own natural cause.

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Patrick Jaramogi is a trained Crime, Financial and Fraud investigative journalist. He is a senior writer and Editor at the Investigator. He can be reached via email: pjaramogi@gmail.com or watsup +256772426211​​​