KAMPALA. The National Organisation of Trade Unions of Uganda (Notu), a workers’ rights lobby body, has demanded that the government should permanently shelve the Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalisation Bill, 2011.
Notu argues that social security should be the preserve of the government, which will not be the case should the Bill be enacted.
The organisation warned that should Parliament enact the Bill, Notu members would lay down their tools starting May 1.
“We are not going to agree to liberalise,” Notu secretary general Christopher Peter Werikhe told Parliament’s Finance Committee on yesterday in Kampala.
“Matia Kasaija [the minister of Finance], should withdraw this Bill. If he does not do that, workers will ‘celebrate’ Labour Day at the Constitutional Square – in Kampala [and not in Pallisa District in eastern Uganda where the national ceremony will be held].”
Notu, in response to the Finance Committee’s summons, was presenting its views on the Bill.
One of the objectives of the Bill is to liberalise the retirement benefits sector.
It seeks to repeal the Pensions Act Cap. 286 and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Act.
It seeks to turn the public service pensions scheme into a contributory scheme.
The other objectives of the Bill are to remove the monopoly over mandatory contributions and to provide for fair contribution among licensed retirement benefit schemes.
The proceedings at some point turned chaotic, with Notu officials saying they cannot be intimidated by Parliament.
“You are trying to gag us, to ensure we make a presentation then you justify what you want to do,” Notu chairperson Wilson Owere said.
The chairperson of the committee, Mr Henry Musasizi Ariganyira, however, warned that Notu should not issue threats.
“We [directly elected Members of Parliament] were not voted by you. You should not treat us the way you treat your [Workers] MPs,” Mr Musasizi said.
To this, Mr Owere replied, “We can influence the voting.”
“We wish you well [in your future attempt to influence the voting,” Mr Musasizi said.
He added, “On May 1, you go to the designated place, not the Constitutional Square.”