Multiplex workers strike over poor pay

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Hundreds of workers of street-parking firm Multiplex-Uganda are on a sit-down strike protesting against poor pay and working conditions.

The striking workers gathered at the Railway Grounds in central Kampala leaving street parking in the central business district unattended to. They laid down their tools over a litany of demands which they want to be fulfilled.

The workers said they receive a net pay of 6,500 Shillings a day, an amount too small to live on in Kampala.

They also accuse their employer of not remitting contributions to the National Social Security Fund-NSSF despite making deductions from their meagre pay.

The workers add that although they are entitled to an additional 2,000 Shillings per day to cover the cost of their meals, the money is delayed and quite often paid in arrears.

They also want the rate increased stating that 2000 Shillings is not enough to cover the cost of food anywhere in the central business district.

The workers complained that they are not entitled to medical care yet the conditions under which they operate, including in rainy, sunny, and dusty conditions make them susceptible to various health complications.

They said when one falls ill, on or off the job, he or she struggles single-handedly without any support or empathy from the Multiplex management, adding that such a person also doesn't get paid his or her wages.

The Multiplex workers said they are denied personal protective gear like overalls, nose covers and caps, exposing them to vagaries of weather.

According to the workers, some of their supervisors subject them to physical, sexual and emotional abuses.

They add that they are checked in such a way that portrays them as 'stealers' of company money, demeaning them and lowering their self-esteem.

They reason that while parking fees have increased from 400 to 1,000 Shillings per hour and monthly stickers from 42,000 to 105,000 Shillings, that has not been reflected in their pay and working conditions.

They now want management to improve their pay taking into account the high cost of living in the city.

Sources said the workers held a general meeting on Sunday over the industrial action. That while a few workers opposed going on strike, the majority were in favour.

 On Monday, managers at Multiplex were locked up in a crisis meeting.

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