Trade Unions

Trade Unions in Uganda, Employers and Trade Unions in Uganda

What is a trade union?

It is any organisation created by employees for the purpose of representing the rights and interests of employees and includes all registered labour unions at the commencement of the Labour Unions Act, 2006.

Can any employee join a labour union?

Yes. It is the right of the employee to join a labour union. However, the employee also has the right not to join a labour union.

Who pays union dues?

All employees who are members of a particular union are required to provide a written instruction to their employers for a deduction to be made from their salary on a monthly basis or as may be agreed between the employee and the union.

Why should union members pay union dues?

The payment is meant to facilitate the work of the union to negotiate for better terms and conditions of service for all employees at any given work place where unions exist.

Should employers allow workers to organise or join a labour union?

 Employers have to appreciate the fact that employees are supported by law to organise themselves in any labour union. When it comes to mutual aid practice, employers enter into collective bargaining with the labour union.

 What should employers be acquainted with employees’ rights to join labour unions?

As an employer, it is important to acknowledge workers when they have chosen to organise themselves in a labour union. This means that an employer should grant his or her workers the opportunity to assist in the running of the activities of a labour union, as long as it does not interfere with delivering job target requirements. Once a worker belongs to a trade union, he or she is free to bring on board a representative of his or her choice to pursue collective bargaining with an employer.

Should an employer get in the way of the employees who have chosen to join a labour union?

In Uganda, it is clearly stated in the labour laws that an employer should not interfere with, restrain or coerce a worker for their decision to join a trade union. Their right has been granted and any time a worker feels like belonging to a labour union, he/she can simply do so.

Employers should not interfere in the process of the formation of a trade union. In fact, any worker who happens to be a member of a trade union should not be discriminated against. More still, any lawful involvement of a worker in the activities of a trade union should not weigh against the employee. In this regard, an employer is advised to restrain from discharging unionized employees purely because they have joined or formed a union.

What happens to an employer in case of interfering with the right of union?

It is an offence in Uganda for an employer to hinder a worker’s right to form or join a trade union. He or she will be liable to a fine not exceeding 96 currency points or even imprisonment for four years, and in some cases both punishments apply.

What should employers do to be on a safe side of the laws governing labour unions?

Employers should be aware that workers have a strong legal backing in the Ugandan labour laws. In the event that a worker or labour union feels that an employer is violating their legal rights, industrial action will be taken. In order for an employer to be on a safe side, the right of association should be appreciated. More still, employers have to be aware of the fact that the registrar has the power to investigate the employer’s conduct as regards the employee’s right of association, and then act accordingly.

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It is any organisation created by employees for the purpose of representing the rights and interests of employees and includes all registered labour unions at the commencement of the Labour Unions Act, 2006.

Can any employee join a labour union?

Yes. It is the right of the employee to join a labour union. However, the employee also has the right not to join a labour union.

Who pays union dues?

All employees who are members of a particular union are required to provide a written instruction to their employers for a deduction to be made from their salary on a monthly basis or as may be agreed between the employee and the union.

Why should union members pay union dues?

The payment is meant to facilitate the work of the union to negotiate for better terms and conditions of service for all employees at any given work place where unions exist.

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