Rwanda Trade union to advocate for domestic workers

The Workers’ Trade Union (CESTRAR), is pushing to have all employees in the country sign contracts before commencing work.

According to Eric Manzi, Secretary General of CESTRAR, the move would offer respite to illegally dismissed employees.

This comes at the backdrop of several grievances from employees, especially those in the informal sector over conditions they operate in, with most citing illegal dismissals, low salaries and nonpayment by employers as some of the main hitches.

“We are going to carry out a sensitization campaign targeting domestic workers to train them on their rights as laid down in the labour code. Many of them are mishandled yet they are employees as the rest in other labour sectors,” Manzi affirmed.

He added that most informal workers are not enlisted for social security and medical cover.

When contacted, the acting Director of Labour Administration and Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, Edmond Tubanambazi,  recounted that CESTRAR’s move was timely asserting that regulations should be set to recognise such workers.

“We plan to set regulations for the informal sector that will involve domestic workers, but currently, we want to set a minimum wage, which will solve the issue of under payment, which is an issue raised by most,” Tubanambazi divulged. He, however, emphasised the need for further negotiations between the Ministry of Labour and CESTRAR.

According to Eunice Uwimana, a housemaid interviewed by The New Times, the move would provide them more dignity.

“I will be very happy when we get contracts. It will at least make us feel complete employees like the rest, and especially provide us with medical coverage,” she pointed out.

A Remera resident, Catherine Mbabazi, said contracts would help resolve issues of misconduct among some domestic workers.

“Some just quit jobs any time they want, so once they are offered contracts, this would be sorted out,” she spelt out.

By Fred Ndoli, The New Times

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