Following a growing list of Ugandans who have lost their lives in the Middle East countries, where they had sought jobs. The governments of Uganda and Saudi Arabia have committed to establishing an efficient joint technical committee to monitor the implementation of the 2017 labor export agreement following complaints of harsh working conditions in the kingdom.
Recently, the Minister for Gender, labor, and Social Development, Betty Amongi led a delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The visit followed one she had to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December 2021 on issues related to externalization of labor from Uganda to mainly the Middle East.
According to the minister, the aim of the visit was to assess the status of implementation of the Bilateral Labor Agreements signed between Uganda and Saudi Arabia in 2017.
Speaking to the local media, the minister said they have agreed that there must be strict enforcement of the signed agreements and contracts in order to protect the migrant workers and also ease the work of the gin following up cases arising from contractual breach.
“The Joint Technical Committee will be established to thoroughly review and consolidate the existing agreements before their expiry in December 2022. It is this Committee that will support the two governments to monitor implementation of and compliance with the agreements/contracts to ensure safe and decent labor externalization,” she said.
Through the committee, Amongi said an elaborate joint reporting, complaints, and case management system/procedure should be established.
For effective monitoring and follow-up of deployed migrant workers, she said there will be periodic quarterly status reports on each deployed worker submitted online and in copy to the embassy by the Saudi recruitment agency and to the ministry by the Ugandan recruitment companies.
She said the ministry is following up all reported cases of abuse and non-compliance with contractual obligations and in addition to the imposition of strict sanctions against companies, individuals involved in violation of the rights of migrant workers
“The ministry will explore ways for strengthening and empowering the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies to be able to regulate its membership and comply with the requirements and standards of labour externalisation, ”she said.