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44% of Ugandan’s essential workers earn less than they deserve - a report shows

Health-care workers in Uganda
  • International Labour Organization World Employment (ILO) and Social Outlook report for 2023, shows that 44% of Ugandan essential workers are underpaid. 
  • These workers are in crucial industries like health and security, yet they earn the lowest wages. 
  • 90 countries were sampled in the ILO report of which Kenya had the most alarming salary statistics. 

According to the 2023 International Labour Organization World Employment and Social Outlook, at least 44% of Uganda's essential workers are underpaid.

According to the report, which examines crucial industries in various global economies, including Uganda, workers in crucial industries like health and security continue to earn the lowest wages despite putting in long hours. This is true even though these industries are crucial, particularly during emergency episodes like the Covid-19 pandemic.

ILO reports that some of the workers in the aforementioned sectors are subjected to indecent working conditions, which include long deployment hours and delayed pay.

ILO noted that in order to increase productivity and labor satisfaction, it is necessary to improve the wages and working conditions of these workers.

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According to the UN agency, key workers in the health, food production, and delivery systems, retail, security, technical and clerical, cleaning and sanitation, transport, and manual sectors make up slightly more than 52% of the global workforce.

According to the report, among the 90 countries sampled, Kenya has the highest percentage of underpaid key workers—50%—while Portugal has the lowest—5%. With 44 percent of its key employees receiving inadequate pay, Uganda comes in at number four.

The value of key workers to society, as revealed by Covid-19, must be reflected in their wages and working conditions, according to Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, director general of the ILO.

“Valuing key workers means ensuring that they receive adequate pay and work in good conditions. Decent work is an objective for all workers, but it is particularly critical for key workers, who provide vital necessities and services both in good and bad times,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Charles Bakkabulindi, a Member of Parliament for Workers, has previously argued that legislation establishing a minimum wage is necessary to address the problem of low pay on a global scale.

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“The problem of low pay is large because we don’t have a minimum wage. There needs to be sector-based payment standardization, which would create a minimum wage for domestic workers, government workers, industrial workers, and agricultural sector workers,” he commented.

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