ROKO Construction Limited, one of the leading construction companies in Uganda, with majority of its contracts with government, has laid off several of its workers.
According to a letter by the company’s contracts manager, Danison Blas, to all staff, majority of the work force was reduced by a reasonable number leaving them in a dilemma.
“Dear all, this is an instruction to all sites concerned to reduce workers effective Monday 22nd may 2023,” the letter reads in part.
Blas further instructed all the laid off and transferred staff to report to the company’s headquarters in Kawempe for redeployment or layoff.
According to Sharon Ajuo, a security guard at the Makerere site, the information caught the laid off staff off-guard.
“I was informed by Moses Odongo our supervisor that lays off are taking place, and that there will be no money to give to the laid off staff, that I should count myself lucky that he was keeping me on site,“ Ajuo said.
Ajuo also revealed that Roko has been struggling with meeting its obligations like making timely payments for wages and salaries.
“Can you imagine there are people, who were laid off in December before being paid and up to now, they are still demanding for their pay, but the company does not show any sign of paying. I am worried for my colleagues who have just lost their jobs because they won’t get paid too,” Ajuo revealed.
Some other sources from the laid off staff were shocked, adding that, after serving at ROKO for years, they are being given one month’s pay yet arrears of NSSF money since late 2018, and previous salaries and wages have never been paid.
“There is this security officer, Moses Odongo, who is threatening us. When we demand for our pay, the man acts as the Transport manager, security manager, accounts officer, auditor, and time keeper. He is so canning and treats us like criminals, yet all we need is our money,” the disappointed laid off workers lamented.
ROKO Construction Limited, has been handling most of the juicy contracts in the country, including government projects.
In July 2022, the Parliament of Uganda approved the purchase of 150,000 shares of ROKO worth 202 billion shillings.
One wonders what became of that money. Instead of the company improving, it has become worse, leaving its workers stranded and in shock.