Employers dialogue on the future of work in Uganda

Employers dialogue on the future of work in Uganda

Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization has today held an employers’ dialogue aimed at developing an employers’ position on the future of work in Uganda.

This dialogue is based on the pretext that Uganda and the world over is experiencing profound changes that are affecting the work environment stemming from technology innovation, population growth, globalization, climate change, growing economic divide, changing character of production and employment among others.

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These transformations today challenge the future of work over the long term. Recognizing this pressing need is why the ILO launched the Future of Work Centenary Initiative in 2013 aimed at gaining greater understanding of the changes in the work place and developing effective policy responses that can shape the future of work.

Mrs Rosemary Ssenabulya, Executive Director Federation of Uganda Employers said, ‘FUE is an employers’ association established to represent employers’ interests on social, economic and labour issues. The future of work is therefore an important aspect in which the employers’ perspective ought to be shared.’ She added that at FUE, we realize that the onus is on all of us to develop suitable policies for the changing work environment while especially focussing on ensuring decent working conditions and acceptable social welfare. Employers all agree that the greatest resource any company can have is the human resource; it is therefore imperative that we participate in all the processes that improve the working conditions of all the employees both now and the future.’

Mr Okwir Nicholas, the Chairman Board of Directors FUE said, ‘Work in future will be more networked, more devolved, more mobile, more team-based, more project-based, more collaborative, more real-time, and more fluid. The challenge will to be make sure it is not more complicated, confusing, or overwhelming. This will require better and different ways to communicate, collaborate, and network.  The future of work will require leaders to act increasingly as network architects and role models for the new ways of working.’

Mr Richard Byarugaba, Managing Director National Social Security Fund while making the key note address said, ‘Some of the jobs that we have today were not even in existence only ten years ago, for instance, app developer, social media manager, sustainability manager, drone operator and YouTube content creator. Some of these occupations are in high demand for the work we do at NSSF where we need to have our social media up and running all the time. By one popular estimate cited by the World Economic Forum in 2016 with a focus on Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it is projected that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.’

Mr Byarugaba added that we (employers) need to be prepared to effectively engage in this global dialogue on the future of work by understanding the drivers of change impacting business since they will ultimately affect job sustenance and job creation. We need to understand the sectors which are having expanding employment opportunities, and we also need to appreciate the increasing trend of income inequality and the rising number of the working poor. We have seen serious disruptions in the economy here in Uganda with some companies closing which is a cause for concern since businesses that are meant to create jobs now and for the future are disappearing before the future has even arrived. This calls for strategic policy interventions. We need to focus our attention on economic and social activities that create jobs by deliberately mainstreaming employment targets in all our sector plans.’

The ILO Future of Work Initiative is centered on four objectives namely:

Work and society

Decent jobs for all,

The organization of work and production, and

The governance of work

During the same employers’ dialogue, FUE also launched the employer of the year awards (EYA) 2017 brand identity logo. EYA is a survey that assesses companies’ human resource and business practice that culminates into an awards ceremony to recognize outstanding companies. Its findings also go a long way in helping FUE advice on the best Human Resource and business practice in companies.

FUE has reduced EYA participation fees to two broad categories, 500,000Ugx only for SME’s and 1,000,000shs only for large and well established firms. This fee entitles participants to more than the survey; but also a general report, summary individual feedback report, a certificate of pursuit of excellence and a visit by an FUE servicing team. Currently enlisting exercises are ongoing with a deadline of 28th February 2017.

Ssenabulya concluded by calling upon all employers that are not yet members of FUE to join and benefit from the services they have to offer.

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