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Court to pass Judgment on Uganda Cooperative Transport Union

Kampala, Uganda: High Court sitting in Kampala on Friday finally set a date for passing verdict over the case between the Uganda Transport Cooperative Union (UTCU) and its thirteen former employees after more than 7 years in court.

On Friday, sitting at TWED Towers along Kafu road, presiding judge Justice Musa Ssekaana received the last presentation of evidence, and set 13th Dec 2019 as the date for delivering judgment.

In 2011, the plaintiffs, through their lawyers Lukwago & Co. Advocates filed civil suit No.139 of 2011 at the High court in Kampala, in which they allege that on 2nd Nov 2009, the defendant (UTCU) terminated their services and issued a general retirement notice to them, but consequently failed to pay them their full terminal benefits.

The thirteen, who had worked as employees of UTCU for more than 20 years between 1987 and March 2010 also fault the Union for failure to provide them with several other employee entitlements including annual leave, salary increment of up to 15%, medical insurance, and failure to remit their contributions to the National Social Security Fund, as prescribed in their employment contracts.

In an interview with theCooperator, Annet Kanyago, the Counsel for the complainants argued that the Union violated the rights of his clients -  Byabagambi Deogratiuos, James Peter Etwou, Byamugisha Henry, Nkunge Daudi, Anniset Mpoza Sempa and Ronald Nsubuga. Others are Aggrey Lubwama, Kananura Obah, James Kyamanyi, Blassy Matovu, Jacob Suda, Anthony Mudekete and Gerald Kiiza.

Gerald Kiiza, in particular, avers that he sustained an injury during the course of his employment at UTCU which led to permanent damage to his left eye. He argues that he is now unable to acquire alternative employment and seeks Shs.2.3 million in compensation.

However, in a written defense submitted to court on 21st July 2011 by its lawyers AYIGIHUGU & CO. ADVOCATES, the Union referred to the compensation claim by Gerald Kiiza as “very strange.” “The defendant (UTCU) paid all his medical claims during the course of his employment after clearance with its clinic,” the statement reads in part.

The Union also denies the rest of the charges and insists they met their end of obligations to the complainants. “The defendant denies that the plaintiffs have suffered any inconvenience or been subjected to untold suffering. No notice of intention to sue was served. The defendant prays that the suit be dismissed with costs,” UCTU argued in its final defense statement.

In their concluding statement, the complainants, on the other hand,

asked court to, in addition to the costs of the legal fees “and any other relief that court deems fit and just,” award them special damages and general damages to the tune of Shs.131 million.

When contacted for comment, UCTU’s lawyer Denis Kwizera declined, saying the case is coming to an end and that they would wait for the ruling in December.

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