Chinese Firm Ordered to Better Work Conditions

Workers at the Mukono-based Chinese firm Nile Plastics have complained about their work conditions, accusing management of neglecting their welfare and safety.

On Tuesday, a group of employees took their grievances to the Mukono district labour officer, Mr Henry Ssaabaganzi Kitiibwa. They included Richard Kamya, who reportedly lost part of his foot while on duty.

“When doctors told me to go back to the hospital, I told my bosses but they refused to take me at the slated time they could only take me at their own time. This made the doctors shout at me for delaying to go back,” Kamya told The Observer on Tuesday.

He added that he was aised by doctors to buy a special shoe to replace his lost part of the foot but the company was not forthcoming.

“Now my foot is rotting,” Kamya said. “I want them to treat me until I get well, and they must compensate me.”

When The Observer visited Nile Plastics on Tuesday, other workers, including women who sort polyethylene material from rubbish, said that they did not have protective gear such as gloves. They revealed that since the company’s pit latrines were full, employees had resorted to using nearby bushes to ease themselves.

Kitiibwa told The Observer that the district had directed the company to close until it improves the working conditions. He also urged the firm to take responsibility and pay Kamya’s medical bills, his salary, and rent until he recovers.

“When an employee gets injured while at work, the employer must take charge without being beseeched or coerced. Protective gear such as gloves and gumboots are necessary for people working in such an environment, as it is the right of the employee,” Kitiibwa said.

The company manager, David Lee, told The Observer that they would take Kamya for further treatment, pay his salary and take care of him as agreed. Lee blamed the deteriorating sanitation in the area on the rainy season.

Source : The Observer

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