In a significant milestone for Carrefour workers in Uganda, UNI Global Union commerce affiliate, HTS Union, recently concluded its first collective agreement with Carrefour franchisee, Majid Al Futtaim Group. The the UAE-based company operates seven Carrefour Uganda stores employing around 700 workers.
Keith Jacobs; the Regional Secretary of UNI Africa said:
“We are proud of the dedicated work of HTS Union that secured the first collective agreement for Carrefour workers in Uganda. Our Ugandan comrades have blazed the trail for further victories across Africa including Kenya and Ivory Coast where we are working with our affiliates to win inaugural contracts for Carrefour workers.”
HTS Union achieved recognition at Carrefour Uganda in 2021 as a result of an organizing campaign launched during the pandemic. The organizing drive was accelerated through an international solidarity project run by UNI Commerce and assisted by FNV Union of the Netherlands. These collaborative efforts led to the recruitment of hundreds of union members and paved the way for successful negotiations in the form of a strong collective agreement.
Mauku R. Moses, the General Secretary of HTS Union said:
“We would like to offer our sincere thanks to UNI and FNV for their support which facilitated our organizing campaign led to the first agreement that provides Carrefour workers with strong job security, better working conditions, a safer workplace and many benefits.”
The newly ratified collective agreement, effective until April 2025, includes an annual salary review and enhanced benefits and working conditions:
- Trade union rights: Trade union rights including elected shop stewards at stores, paid leave for shop stewards and union members for union activities and meetings and union offices (rooms) at stores.
- Promotion: For all new or vacant positions and posts, priority will be given to the existing qualified or qualifiable workers.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding employees: The shifts will be designed in favour of the pregnant and breastfeeding employees. Breastfeeding rooms will be made available where possible. If they want, female workers will be exempt from the night shifts until their children turn one year old. Female workers will be granted paid leave for pregnancy and postnatal care services including immunization of the child.
- Maternity leave: In addition to the 60 days of paid maternity leave granted by law, Carrefour workers are entitled to an additional 30 days of paid maternity leave which can be extended upon a recommendation by a doctor.
- Working hours and shifts: Any changes to the daily or weekly schedules will be consulted with employees and if the parties cannot agree, the union may be invited to settle the dispute.
- Overtime work and working on public holidays: Overtime work will be properly recorded on a weekly basis and workers will be compensated for overtime work (1.5 times) and overtime work on public holidays (2 times) in accordance with the law. Workers will be entitled to choose between an extra (daily) pay or extra day off when they work on public (bank) holidays.
- Occupational health and safety: The company will take all necessary precautions; provide workers with suitable uniforms, protective gear and clothing; and insure all workers for work accidents. A safety and health committee will be set at all stores in which the store management and union members will be represented.
- Gender-based violence and sexual harassment: The management and the union will work together to eliminate gender-based violence at work through awareness raising and establishing proper mechanisms at the store level. The management will introduce a sexual harassment and HIV/AIDS policy in consultation with the union, which will be actively implemented at the store level by the occupational health and safety committees.
- Job security: In order to avoid discretionary disciplinary actions against workers, the collective agreement lists and clearly defines disciplinary misconducts, breaches and offences and the corresponding disciplinary procedures and actions. Moreover, a disciplinary committee will be set in which the union will be represented. No worker will be dismissed without a proper investigation and a fair disciplinary hearing where worker will have the opportunity to defend herself/himself and represented by the union.
- Sick leave: In addition to the 30 days of paid sick leave granted by the law, Carrefour workers will be entitled to have an additional 30 days of paid sick leave.
- Annual leave: Workers will be paid 200,000 UGX (around US$53) when they take their 21 days of annual leave granted by the law.
- Financial benefits: The collective agreement provides workers with different benefits and allowances including death/obituary benefits, stocktaking allowance, transfer (across districts) allowance, free transportation to work/home for the workers who do early or late shifts, paid or unpaid study leave, wedding and new-born baby allowances and gifts such as diapers and hamper.
This is the first collective agreement with the Majid Al Futtaim Group, which operates more than 375 Carrefour stores across 17 countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It is also the second collective agreement for Carrefour workers in Africa, following Tunisia.
Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce said: “This ground-breaking agreement proves the fact that our global framework agreement with Carrefour plays a key role in ensuring respect for trade union rights across the world including the franchised operations. All Carrefour workers in integrated and franchised stores deserve union representation.”