DRIVERS OF MPs PETITION PARLIAMENT OVER MISTREATMENT
By our reporter
Drivers of legislators through the National Union of Drivers and Cyclists and Allied Workers Association (NUDIKAWA) have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over mistreatment and poor pay which they say is an infringement on their rights.
Presenting a petition on behalf of the drivers of MPs, the Chairperson of the Union Mr Moses Baleka said that the conditions under which the Drivers operate is appaling citing cases of drivers who work beyond eight (8) hours as situpilated in International Labour Laws without being paid overtime allowance, employment without contracts, working on empty stomachs, and other forms unfair treatment which compromise their safety and welfare. Mr. Baleka narrated incidents where MPs dine on expensive food in hotels while their drivers are massaging empty stomachs outside.
Baleka said that drivers of MPs are underpaid with some of them paid an amount as low as One hundred thousand shillings per month, while others take months without pay. He also pointed out the issue of discrepancies in amounts paid yet they all do almost the same job wondering why some drivers receive One million shillings per month, while others receive an amount as low as One hundred. Baleka further noted that whenever drivers complain about such issues, they are fired by the MPs.
In the petition the drivers plead that a new system should be adopted which involves charging salaries of drivers directly from the MPs accounts at the end of every month. This they say would save the situation by facilitating timely payments and save the drivers from confrontations with their bosses at the end of every month.
Responding to the petitioners’ queries the Speaker said that it is unfortunate that drivers of MPs are not employees of Parliament, and therefore the administration of Parliament may not have powers to intervene since the relationship of the drivers and their bosses is a private arrangement.
Kadaga expressed concern over the issues raised by the petitioners and promised to see what Parliament can do about it saying that she has received similar complaints from personal assistants to MPs. Kadaga said that it is unfortunate that such things are happening but also noted that it is not a simple matter since every time Parliament has tried to intervene, MPs respond in an unfriendly manner.
“We have been grappling with a challenge of they can be equitably paid, but it’s not easy since they are not employees of Parliament” Kadaga said.
She further revealed that management of Parliament has ever suggested that drivers of MPs be paid 500,000 shillings per month deducted directly from the salaries of legislators, but MPs violently protested against the suggestion.
“one time we tried, but they said no no; don’t touch our money. So these are the challenges, but we shall keep engaging” Kadaga noted.
This is not the first time for employees of legislators to petition the Speaker over unfair treatment at the hands of legislators. A few weeks ago, female personal assistants of MPs raised a similar complaint citing cases of low pay, poor working environment and sexual harassment.