By Watchdog reporter
Ugandan who were recruited as security operatives in Afghanistan by Saracen Uganda limited in 2015 have sued the company and the Attorney General for slavery, servitude and forced labour.
Metanzanye John Bosco, Kaima Chwa Avedon, Ssentamu Joseph, Obba Samuel and Mutabazi Alex said that they were submitted to slavery, servitude and forced labour while in Afghanistan where they were hired by Reed Incorporated to the United States Army Base in Bagram, Afghanistan on 1st November 2015 while on the 15th January 2016 they were flown back to Uganda without any remuneration for their services since November.
Through their lawyers of Messrs Rwakafunzi and Company Advocates, under Article 25 and 50 of the constitution of the republic of Uganda 1995 the plaintiffs sued the Attorney General for representative capacity pursuant to the provisions of Article 119 (4) (c) and 250 (2) of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 as well as section 10 of the government proceedings Act Cap.77, and Saracen Uganda limited, a liability company incorporated in Uganda with the same Article and Act.
Messrs Rwakafuzi and company advocates located at Jaffali Kibirige House said that Saracen limited licensed by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development as a recruiting agency infringed and violated the plaintiffs’ right to protection from slavery, servitude and forced labour which is contrary to article 25 of the constitution whereas the Attorney General is liable for breach of contract between their clients and Reed Incorporated in order of compensation in special, general and exemplary damages and also interest and costs of the suit.
Advocates say that their clients were fraudulently procured the consent of them to sign a contract whose terms were different from the actual conditions of work as they first signed while in Uganda to work for 8 hours a day and six days a week at US$450 per month yet the contract was changed to 12 hours per day and 7 days a week without any salary increment.
They were also withhold from the contracts which they had signed in Uganda and they were given altered contracts imposing contested terms of payment and working conditions, the plaintiffs were also prohibited from interacting with united states army on the base except officials from reed incorporation following the fear that the US army will find out about the breach of contracts and they were also restricted and denied from accessing previously accessible offices on the base.
Rwakafunzi advocates and company added that Saracen Limited is liable for non-contractual injuries, grievances or violations meted against Ugandan migrant workers especially human rights violations in as far as it has a positive obligation to ensure the protection of Ugandan migrant workers from human violations of employers it vetted and verified as fit and proper to employ Ugandan migrant workers within the employment laws of Uganda.
Saracen limited is also liable for bleach of contract by the said Reed Incorporation pursuant to the provisions of regulation 7(3) (f) of The Employment (Recruitment of Uganda Migrant Workers Abroad )regulations S1 62 of 2005 in as far as their one year contracts were terminated on baseless accusations and without notice or allowing them a fair hearing and without pay for services rendered for over a month of working in a dangerous war zone.
Saracen (U) Limited is further liable as the actual participant and perpetrator of the violations of slavery ,servitude and forced labour of those Ugandans as far as it was them who recruited and delivered Ugandans to the Reed Incorporation under legal disguised means and forced them to work under imposed other than agreed condition for over one month under the menace of returning them back to Uganda where they would be unemployed, they are also both liable for the human rights violations and contractual breach of those Ugandans as fore mentioned as result of which they were severely aggrieved mentally and psychologically for the immense exploitation of their man power, skill and knowledge in such a highly dangerous war zone, have suffered financial embarrassment as they were rendered unemployed yet they have dependants, for which they seek recompense in special, general and exemplary damages.
The particulars of special damages are:
1.Unpaid salary arrears as agreed for 1 1\2 months of work US$ 1275 for each which is equivalent to US$ 7650.
2.Compensation in lieu of notice US$ 850 for each which is equivalent to US$ 5100 and the total is US$12750
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