Rwamagana- Employees of Steel RWA, an iron smelting factory based in Rwamagana District, are demanding for contracts and other benefits, including health insurance and pensions.
Employees who sought anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, said they feel insecure.
“When you are injured on duty, they pay your treatment bill and that is all. Suppose you are maimed or died? I doubt there would be any compensation,” one complained.
Olga Sesonga, the district Labour Inspector, told The New Times that she had received similar complaints and advised the firm’s management, to fulfil the requirement as per article no. 13/2009 of 27th 2009 of the Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda, but in vain.
“The Labour Code must be respected and the factory has not done enough.Contracts, Social Security, insurance, protective garments, etc cannot be done away with. Otherwise, we shall enforce punishments prescribed by the law,” she warned.
When contacted, Mohd Zaheeruddin, an official at the factory, explained yesterday that all workers were covered under the Group Accident Insurance Policy offered by SORAS.
He added that health issues at the factory were taken seriously, adding that all workers were given anti-Tetanus jabs as a precaution against iron rust.
“Allegations that our workers don’t have insurance are completely unfounded. We are in touch with local health centres and hospital...well, working conditions here are such that one is prone to injury, but we react immediately,” he said.
On work contracts, Zaheerrudin explained that many workers were temporary.
“Labour here is unreliable...people work for two to three days and disappear.So, how do you give them contracts? We have at least 35 permanent employees, the others are temporary,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zaheerrudin lamented the lack of skilled and experienced manpower, which has left the factory to rely on expatriates.
He noted that the available workforce is mainly made up of farmers.