80% of cases at CESTRAR involve unlawful dismissal
Current records from the Workers’ Trade Union (CESTRAR), a body charged with advocating for better conditions of employees, indicate that about 80 percent of 250 cases currently before them involve illegal dismissal.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, CESTRAR’s legal officer, Francois Butera, said between 250 and 300 cases registered per year are hinged on unfair dismissal of workers.
“This trend has to change because most workers are still very ignorant on what the labour law says about their rights,” Butera asserted during an exclusive interview, arguing that employees’ welfare should be considered at all times.
He disclosed that most of the cases are from factories and construction companies.
“Basing on thorough investigations on matters raised by the employees, we find most of these people are dismissed without termination allowances as indicated in the labour law. And some institutions still fire their workers by just words without formal writing,” he added.
According to the labour law, article 33, dismissal benefits should disbursed in accordance with performance, professional qualification, time spent in the company and social responsibilities of the terminated worker.
And this has to be done after a one month prior notice to the employee.
The Secretary General of CESTRAR, Eric Manzi, said there is need for closer cooperation between the Private Sector Federation and the Ministry of Labour to curb or at least reduce the trend.
“We need to join hands and embark on promoting the social welfare of the workers in the country, but some institutions like the Public Sector Federation (PSF) put more effort in attracting investments and less or no effort on social dialogue with workers,” Manzi noted.
CESTRAR also raised concerns on the issue of minimum wage saying that several employees from either government or private institutions are exploited by the employers and are ultimately paid less compared to the work done.
‘There is also an urgent need to revise labour law on salaries and come up with minimum wage because the current law only protects the employers. We rely on a 1973 law which states that the lowest employee should at least be paid Rwf 100,” Manzi added.
When contacted, Jean Baptiste Rucubigango, a parliamentarian with the workers’ party, PSR, admitted that the Ministry of Public Service and Labour should urgently draw up a minimum guaranteed wage.
“We have for long requested the ministry to present to us the minimum wage draft, but up to now, nothing has been done,” Ricubiganga lamented, adding that the ministry should closely follow up.
According to the ministry, a conclusive minimum wage is yet to be arrived at as consultants originally contracted to carry out the research fell short of establishing this.
The task has since been reassigned to another firm and hopefully, a draft minimum wage reflecting the views of local companies will be out at the end of this year.