Labour Day is a public holiday or day of festivities held in honour of working people. This year’s Labour Day comes at time where both formal and informal employment sectors have been greatly negatively affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
A Huge number of Labourforce has been forced to go Home, but also those working in the informal sector have closed businesses. something that is unusual in our economy. Very many Companies are struggling, some have already terminated employee contracts, some are planning to, others have trimed employee salaries and a couple of benefits slashed. Majority of workers are not sure whether they will resume work or not, especially those in private sector.
Many sectors like the manufacturing, transport, tourism, insurance, health, oil and gas, real estate, communications, education, agriculture among others have gravely been hit by the current situation. There is basically nothing the labourforce is celebrating about the Labour Day since the economy is biting hard. A few days a go milk tanks were seen parked in the US farms since farmers have no market to sell their milk.
Back here at home, Uganda exports a lot of Agricultural and none Agriculture products like Coffee to China, Fish to Europe, Australia, Egypt, middle east and Asia, Milk in Kenya, Cotton, Tobacco etc, the demand for exports has reduced due to low consumption.
It’s high time our economies think of serious and sustainable economic reforms and policies like export promotion and import substitution, offering tax holidays and exemptions to the local manufacturers, regulating government spending to none essential services, redistribution of income among others.
Reviwing and enacting stringent labour laws is very critical in Uganda, because the way how some companies are terminating employees’ contracts is inhuman. Employers have to be called to order and workers need to be protected by the Government through enacting favourable labours and policies. These laws should not only be put in place, but also implemented and monitored.
Meanwhile, I dedicate this Labour Day to all our Health Workers who are working very tirelsly to save thousands of lives from the deadly COVID-19 Pandemic and other illnesses. You are our heroes!
Happy Labour Day.