Workers have announced a nationwide strike against what they called unfairness by the Finance Ministry to take over sole control over the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Trade Union leaders under the National Organisation of Free Trade Union (Notu) during a General Council meeting unanimously resolved to mobilize the workers across the country to lay down their tools protesting the ministry’s move.
Speaking to Daily Monitor yesterday, a Notu member, who attended the meeting but preferred not to be named, said the decision for a strike followed submission by the chairperson general, Mr Usher Wilson Owere, on their failed attempts by the workers to have a law that serves the workers’ interests.
“We were 33 members representing the various sector unions under Notu and we agreed to start notifying our respective members to get ready to rise against this move to steal our money,” said the member.
Ministry of Finance wants full control of the management of NSSF contrary to a Cabinet decision of placing it under duo management by the Ministry of Finance and that of Gender in the proposed National Social Security Fund amendment Bill, 2019.
Mr Owere confirmed the development and said the government has disregarded the principles laid down by Cabinet, which recommend duo management of the Fund.
In July 2019, Cabinet chaired by President Museveni passed the principles to amend the NSSF Act of 1985, where the ministry of Gender would be in charge of social security policy and compliance of NSSF and the ministry of Finance would be responsible for investment.
Mr Owere warned that if Parliament passes the NSSF Amendment Bill, 2019, contrary to the guidance by the President and in protection of workers’ interests, the workers’ money would be at a risk.
“Whoever wants to change the Cabinet position, we are appealing to the workers of this country to rise up for a national strike which we are going to call if the law is not passed as proposed. This is our money not government money,” Mr Owere said.
State minister for Finance-in-charge of General duties, Mr. Gabriel Ajedra, on Wednesday said NSSF shall continue to be managed by the Ministry of Finance despite demands from various workers’ organizations opposing the government position.
Mr. Ajedra said the President in his wisdom guided that the Fund should remain under the Ministry of Finance.
“When you have a Fund that is about 10 percent of the GDP, that is a huge amount of money and, therefore, management of the Fund can have a huge impact on the economy,” the minister said at the commissioning of a multi-billion high-end NSSF apartments at Mbuya, a Kampala suburb.
He said with guidance from the President, they are now ready to conclude the NSSF Bill, which is currently before Parliament.
Earlier in October, the trade unionists accused the Ministry of Finance officials of misleading President Museveni to overturn the July 2019 guidance to have the Ministry of Gender play policy and compliance roles while that of Finance takes over the investment role.
“…They did not explain to the President that they are sitting on a time bomb of $2.5 billion debt of pension for civil servants which they have failed to pay who have threatened to strike one of these days,” said Mr. Milton Turyareeba, the Chairman General of the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions.Daily Monitor