More than 100 former workers of Uganda Railways Corporation have resolved to drag government to the Uganda Human Rights Commission for allegedly failure to pay their terminal benefits.
Uganda Railways Corporation terminated the services of the employees following the privatization of the corporation a year ago. This sparked off a series of strikes between March and April 2005 in which the workers demanded immediate payment of their terminal benefits and pensions.
In December 2005, the workers' union, through its lawyer, John Jean Barya, also sought an injunction against the signing of any concession agreements between Uganda Railway Corporation and any investors before it paid the terminal benefits and pensions. However the High Court gave Government the go ahead to sign a concession agreement with the South African syndicate, Rift Valley Railways Consortium.
Following the defeat of their court case, the workers sought to settle the matter amicably. They met with the former Ministers of Labour and Works, Housing and Communication and agreed to be paid a total of 16 billion shillings in terminal benefits, which would be distributed by July last year.
However the issue of pensions remains unresolved until today
During a meeting at Aboke trading center in Apac district, the workers said they want the human rights commission to prevail upon government and order it to pay the workers terminal benefits. They argued that many of their colleagues died before they could receive their benefits.
A former Accounts Assistant in the Corporation, Aloysius Kiiza said government had stubbornly failed to heed a High Court ruling last year. In May last year, the High Court in Kampala ordered Government to pay more than 13 billion shillings to former employees of the Uganda Railways Corporation.
The ruling delivered by the High Court Registrar, Flavia Anglin, followed a case in which about 1000 Uganda Railways workers sued the corporation for failing to pay their pensions.