The National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) is embroiled in a conflict over its representation to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Board. The 11th NSSF Board was inaugurated by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija yesterday but without workers representatives from NOTU.
The inaugurated board is composed of eight members, eight of them male and two females. The females are; Florence Namata Mawejje, the General Manager Human Resource of Centenary Bank representing employers from the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) and Peninah Tukamwesiga representing workers under Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) umbrella.
This publication has learnt that NOTU’s nominees were rejected by the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) as “unfit for the job.” But according to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, NOTU has been advised to nominate more of preferably female candidates, whose names will be sent to URBRA for vetting and appointment, if approved.
But NOTU Chairman General Usher Wilson Owere says that the Minister should not be giving them conditions on who to nominate.
“Whoever we sent there, they say they are unqualified yet we even sent people with masters. The board has nine or ten members, you cannot tell us that we send two names and you want to pick one woman. That is the condition Kasaija is giving NOTU,” he argued.
He added that the government should instead appoint a female representative if it is interested in gender balance.
“They have better women than us,” he said. Government is represented by the Ministry of Gender Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana and the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ochailap. We even told him; why can’t finance send a woman? They just want us to pick stooges who will not represent workers money. That is the disagreement we have. We must sort that one first,” Owere added.
The NSSF Act says the Board of Directors is supposed to consist of a chairperson, the Managing Director and not less than six or more than eight other members. This means that it can have a minimum of eight members and a maximum of ten members.
NSSF board members are picked from the government, workers representatives and employers. The board unveiled yesterday already has two Central Organization of Free Trade Unions (COFTU) representatives, two Federation of Uganda Employers representatives, NSSF Managing Director, two government representatives and a chairperson who is also appointed by the board.
An addition of a NOTU representative would take the number to nine members. However, Owere says NOTU also wants to have two representatives instead of one as proposed by the minister for the board to have a maximum number of members.