Seventy former employees of the disbanded Forestry Department are suing the Ministry of Public Service for failure to pay their terminal benefits and pensions totaling to over one billion shillings.
The group is part of 600 workers who lost their jobs in 2001 and 2002 when the Forestry Department was transformed into the National Forestry Authority. At the time, the Forestry Sector Secretariat was given 4.9 million Pounds by the British, Norwegian and German Governments to facilitate the restructuring process. On completion of its work, the Forestry Sector Secretariat handed over eight billion shillings to the Ministry of Public Service to supplement the payment of pensions and annuities to the retrenched staff.
However, the Public Service Ministry claimed that the number of retrenched staff had been inflated and refused to pay some of the pensions.
Fred Ahimbisibwe, one of the former Forestry Department employees, says the Ministry questioned the legality of the retrenchment of eight of the workers and wanted their retirement letters canceled. Ahimbisibwe says he and his colleagues sought resolution to the matter through the Public Service Commission, which ruled in their favour.
However despite the conclusions of the Public Service Commission, the employees' pensions were never paid.
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Ahimbisibwe says the suit against the Public Service Ministry has been filed in court and all that remains now is for a date of hearing to be set.
forestry sector department
ministry of public service