Sharing experiences and building the capacity of young workers

Five PSI Ugandan affiliates participated on 24-25 August 2021 in a young workers’ training workshop in Kampala, Uganda as part of the project “Organising workers for trade union unity of action, density and quality public services” sponsored by Kommunal/Union to Union.

The five unions included the National Union of Educational Institutions (NUEI), the Uganda Medical Workers Union (UMWU), the Uganda Public Employees Union (UPEU), National Union of Government and Allied Workers Union (NUGAWU), and the Uganda Electricity and Allied Workers Union (UEAWU).

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Participants at the young workers’ training workshop in Kampala, Uganda, on 24-25 August 2021

The meeting focused on:

  1. Building the capacity of young workers in terms of trade union values and history,

  2. Trade union rights and responsibilities

  3. Sharing experiences of workplaces challenges,

  4. Positioning oneself strategically for leadership positions in the union

  5. Digitalization and how this will impact the future of work especially for young workers

Young workers shared their various experiences in the workplace that call for urgent intervention by trade union leaders. Some of the key outstanding issues were the employment of young workers as graduate trainees for more than 10 years without social protection provision and the exploitation in terms of low wages within the public sector. The question of how to protect graduate trainees and interns in the workplace was raised. It was recommended that trade unions include these categories of workers in their CBAs.

Some of the young workers decried the discrimination they face in getting promotions and permanent jobs despite having good appraisal reports from their supervisors. It was also reported that a number of young workers were afraid to join the union due to fear and threat of the employers’ reactions.


PSI Young trade union leaders mentorship programme for the African English-Speaking sub-region

PSI young trade union leaders decry labour rights violations

Unions were called upon to take up their responsibilities of fighting and defending workers from exploitation and victimization by some employers within the public sector in Uganda. Concerns over planned rationalization of some of the Government agencies and how these would affect the jobs of the young workers were raised. The meeting was informed that PSI NCC Uganda was already in talks with the concerned ministry to ensure that the jobs of the young workers are secured even during the process of rationalization of the agencies.

Whereas members agreed that digitalization was here to stay and could be used to enhance efficiency of undertaking work, there was need to ensure that Governments be responsible for data generated as a result of digitalization and not allow private companies to trade citizens data for their profit maximization. In addition, unions must be part of data policy formulation to ensure that workers interests are taken into account during the policy formulation. Comrade Daniel Oberko, PSI Tax Justice and Trade Officer for Africa and Arab, led the discussions on digitalisation virtually.

As part of the training process, the young workers were put in various groups and did role playing by acting to portray the various values of trade unionism including voluntarism, continuity, solidarity/unity, democracy and independence.

Role playing during the young workers’ training workshop in Kampala, Uganda, on 24-25 August 2021