The former staff of Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) were laid off due to budgetary constraints, management has said.
According to Joshua Karamagi, UETCL CEO, management in May 2022 took a decision to lay off 66 staff whose contracts expired on 30 June 2023 after failing to secure funds from the government to have their contracts renewed.
“The 66 staff who were released were being funded by the government and there were no funding provisions from the Ministry of Energy. The funding had been taken away from the budget for that specific project,” Karamagi said.
This, he said during a meeting of the UETCL board led by the State Minister of Energy, Hon. Sidronius Okaasai, and the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Wednesday, 09 August 2023.
The committee has been analyzing a petition from the disgruntled staff who are protesting what they termed as “unfair dismissal”.
In their petition, the affected staff protest the decision to dismiss them and retain others saying, it is unjust, discriminatory and should be rescinded.
Karamagi contends that whereas all staff belong to UETCL, they are tagged to different projects which can be affected by the source of funding.
He added that the affected staff were informed about the decision not to renew their contracts a month earlier as per the Human Resource Policy.
“We have 130 staff involved in various projects. The criterion on who should leave or be retained was not on performance. All the staff passed the performance and disciplinary appraisal. If it wasn’t for funding gaps, then everyone would have been retained,” he said.
The Deputy Committee Chairperson, Hon. Nathan Nabeta Igeme urged the ministry and its agencies to absorb the affected staff.
“Losing a livelihood leaves everyone aggrieved because they feel they were unfairly treated. These are young people who looked sharp and dynamic. The Ministry of Energy should consider redeploying them,” Nabeta said.
Minister Okaasai approved of this proposal saying, ‘any petitioner who thinks he or she was laid off unfairly, the doors are open for them to compete for other jobs in the ministry and other agencies because these are professional jobs’.
Bokora County Member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya advised UETCL to have proper measures to ensure that such petitions do not arise in the near future, by having clear and well-documented terms of service.