Mbarara Town Cleaners Complain of Sexual Harrassment, Delayed Wages

2182 Views Mbarara, Uganda

In short
Cleaners with Mbarara municipal council are threatening to go on strike if they are not paid their wages soon and provided with protective gear.

Cleaners with Mbarara municipal council are threatening to go on strike if they are not paid their wages soon and provided with protective gear.
 
The 30 cleaners are responsible for sweeping Mbarara town streets and collecting garbage.
 
But the workers complain that some of them have gone for more than two months without pay. Others say that their work exposes them to dangerous diseases and they need protective gear like gumboots and gloves.
 
Annet Muhangyi, a casual labourer, says council has failed to provide them with reflector jackets, gumboots and gloves despite making several appeals.
 
Muhangyi says she has to use her bare hands to collect garbage everyday. In spite of the risks she takes on a daily basis, she has not been paid for two months. She is a mother of five.
 
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The council pays each worker 100, 000 shillings per month.
 
Joyce Ahebwa says though she turns up for work everyday, she lives in fear of being raped like some of her female colleagues. She says several colleagues have been raped while collecting garbage from dark corridors between buildings.
 
Ahebwa says though they play an important part in keeping the town clean, they are disrespected by some shop owners who abuse them. She says many shop owners litter the fronts of their shops and expect the cleaners to pick the scattered garbage.
 
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The Mbarara municipality Mayor Wilson Tumwine and the town clerk Johnson Baryantuma Munono have promised to look into their plight in the next financial year’s budget.