President Yoweri Museveni has challenged the labour unions in Uganda to work towards getting more Ugandans out of “the sea of backwardness” into the industrialization and services bracket.
The President passed on the call while meeting with members of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) at State House, Entebbe.
He lauded the union and expansion of the labour movement from 20 to 33 unions, with a membership of 1.5 million. It is important that workers are not manipulated by external groups.
However, he appealed to them to work on strategic transformation of the society.
“When you call yourself a labour movement, you need to learn the mission of the labour movement. The labour movement should work with a few awake people to expand the island of modernity,” Museveni remarked.
“In order to expand it, you need to look at the factors of production which are; skilled labour, land, capital, entrepreneurship and knowledge. This is how you will expand,” he said.
Citing the case of Europe, he asked that the labour unionists in Uganda resolve the sea of backwardness and expanded modernity, and that a good way to start is transform the majority population that is still engaged on agriculture.
He said that this can be achieved by getting more Ugandans involved in industrialization and services, and fewer people in agriculture.
While the unions reflect on what stimuli is required to realize this, the President said government will also attend to their concerns such as representation on the Umeme board, telecoms keeping servers abroad, companies that do not put workers on payroll and holding the pre-Labour Day round-table.
“The question of the national health insurance policy will be discussed further,” Museveni said.
He also committed to fulfilling his pledge of Shs 850 million towards construction of the NOTU House.