Rift Valley Railway Striking Impulse finally Resolved after Workers Union Intervention

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NOTU, Ministry of Labor and RVR management team addresses the staff at the RVR in kampala
NOTU, Ministry of Labor and RVR management team addresses the staff at the RVR in kampala

The two day strike at the Rift Valley Railways that left business paralysed has been resolved after a tense two day talks between representatives and of the workers and the RVR management.

The call off of the strike for followed the intervention of the National Organization of Trade Union (NOTU), The Ministry of Labor and the Uganda Railways Union under the chairmanship of Martin Wandera the Director for labor and Industrial Relations.

The Investigator has established that close two day talks was also attended by the RVR General Manager Joram Nyanzi who led the RVR team, Usher Wilson Owere the Chairman General NOTU, as well as the Byamaro the Railways Union leader. Also in attendance was Peter Werikhe the NOTO secretary General and the workers MP Agnes Kunihira.

Speaking to The Investigator, the NOTO Chairman General Usher Wilson Owere said the strike was called off after the Ministry of Labor and the RVR management concluded weeks of the collective bargaining agreement.

The strike was also called off after the Ministry of labor took over the issue of addressing the dismissed the two workers, Francis Bakutayo and Peter Mutenyo. The eminent dismissal of these two was the key issue for the igniting the workers sit down strike last week. “The Ministry has taken over the dispute of the two dismissed workers, and accordingly the management has been advised to rescind the dismissal and instead place the duo on four weeks suspension as the Ministry investigates,” said Owere.

The meeting also resolved that the Rift Valley Railways management doesnot victimize any worker due to the industrial action. “The workers should immediately resume work,” said Owere.

The growing grievances at the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) prompted the sit-down strike of the workers under the Uganda Railways Union. 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 and films circumstances.

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

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.

The affected staff had accused Joram Nyanzi of failure to pay them their lunch allowance for over a year now as well as their overtime allowances.

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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​​​