Upon graduation in 2010, 29-year-old Salma sought employment as a casual laborer and receptionist in Mukono District where she was paid Shs4,000 per day. Being the eldest in a family of five siblings, she had to use her earnings to educate her siblings and made sure she took care of her family back home in Kasese.
“I left the job in 2012 after I got another job that paid me Shs400,000 per month. But, I still do not have a contract with the company to date and as far as I know, I do not have an NSSF account,” Salma told Jobs and Career.
According to Industrial National Coordinating Council, (INCC-U) Uganda, Salma’s case is an example of the type of job opportunities that many youth, educated or not, are being offered as they continue struggling to get decent employment.
With more than 400,000 tertiary and university students graduating each year, the youth unemployment rate stands at 83 per cent, according to African Development Bank. This means that at least 160,000 are jobless after school.
Because of the hopelessness, many end up in informal employment or doing precarious work.
According to Catherine Aneno, the general secretary of INCC-U, precarious work arrangements are contractual arrangements that have the effect of depriving workers of the protection due to them under employment relationship.
“It comprises low pay, short contracts, temporary work or labour broking among others,” she told Jobs and Career.
Aneno argues that this type of employment, however, deprives employees of their rights. She cites better working conditions which are regulated and recorded, payment of taxes by both employers and employees, and a better pay which is consummate to the basics of a family to man work places a way of dealing with precarious work.
“We need decent jobs for our people to help them to get better housing conditions, good schools for their children and a good retirement package thereafter. Whenever individuals are involved in precarious work, there is a high chance that they will not be able to plan for their retirement which brings a burden to government to take care of them when they retire at 55,” she explained.
Citing the textile industry as a hub for informal work, Moses Mauku, director of planning, research and development with Uganda Hotels, Food, Tourism and Allied Worker’s Union, said many industries are taking aantage of employees through these arrangements.
“For example an employer has 100 workers but only has 15 formal employees and the 90 are casual laborers or on informal types of work. This type of work is common in factories and industries. We know that we cannot wipe out precarious work but since the rates are too high, even in places where it shouldn’t exist, we want to reduce on the numbers,” Mauku said.
Whereas precarious work has been existent for some time, Rosemary Ssenabulya, the executive director of Federation of Uganda Employers warned that employers may not get the commitment of the employees which in turn may harm production.
“Such employees do not have the company at heart because there is no assurance and the employers do not get total commitment. The employees are also easily tempted to get better paying jobs because they know they will be discarded soon,” said Ssenabulya.
Just like Salma, most employees under casual kind of work do not have NSSF accounts or commit taxes under pay as you earn. Even though she was lucky to get a better paying job, she indirectly remains under the category of precarious workers where many of today’s desperate youth land especially after graduating.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor