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Wakiso election material drivers strike over pay

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Truck drivers hired to transport electoral materials to different polling stations in Wakiso district have threatened not to do the job unless they are paid the full amount of money they negotiated with the Electoral Commission.The drivers argue that if they are not paid in full, they might never be paid in full yet they will be under armed guard as they work and the question of them absconding from duty does not arise.

By press time, the truck drivers were still stuck at Wakiso district headquarters with their lorries waiting for their money to do the job. In the previous 2016 general elections, Wakiso and Kampala, the two main opposition strongholds registered several cases of delayed delivery electoral materials with some polling stations receiving materials as late as 4 pm in the evening. 

The drivers were reportedly hired for Shs 200,000 and the Commission was only now willing to pay them an initial deposit of Shs 100,000 and the final Shs 100,000 after the election. Ismail Mulindwa says that they were told that they are going to take the electoral materials to different polling stations and be given half-pay and when they come back, they get the last payment which he says that they cannot accept.

“We agreed on little money to transport the materials but now they are telling us that they are giving us half-pay of the money we agreed which we are not allowing. We want to go with all our money and we do well their work.” Mulindwa said.

John Ssekyondwa says that they were found at the stage and were told that there is a job of taking election materials and upon reaching the headquarters, they were told that they are going to get half-pay.

Jamiru Mutyaba, the Wakiso Truck Drivers Association chairman says that they want all their money so that they can transport all the materials.

Wakiso district returning officer, Tolbert Musinguzi says that the work of transporting these materials was tendered to someone and he doesn’t know why he has failed to agree with the drivers.

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Asia & Americas

Qatar ready to mediate between Iran, US, official says

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Qatar has reiterated its readiness to mediate between Iran and the United States days after newly elected President Joe Biden took office.

“Qatar is ready to mediate between Iran and the United States as the new US President, Joe Biden, assumes office after the turbulent years of the Trump administrations,” Lolwah Al-Khater, spokeswoman for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, told to Spanish EFE news agency.

She stated that Iran and the Gulf’s Arab states are both geographical realities in the region and that’s why they need to start direct dialogue.

Al-Khater also pointed to Qatar’s trade ties with Iran and Turkey during the GCC crisis, saying that these ties helped Qatar achieve a GDP growth more than that of its neighbours.

READ: Qatar beats Egypt to lead negotiations with Iran

Last week, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Muhammad Javad Zarif, welcomed the Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani’s invitation for a comprehensive dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Tehran.

In 2018, Trump led a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, pulling Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran and reimposing punishing sanctions.

The sanctions targeted Iran’s vital oil sales and international banking ties, plunging its economy into a deep recession.

Last Wednesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called out the departure of “tyrant” US counterpart Donald Trump, who was due to leave office later in the day making way for Biden.

A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said in televised remarks to his cabinet.

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Iran

4 Iranian referees nominated to officiate at Futsal World Cup

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4 Iranian referees nominated to officiate at Futsal World Cup

Iran is now the only country in the world that has 4 candidates on the list of these competitions.

Ebrahim Mehrabi Afshar, Mahmoud Reza Nasirloo, Galareh Nazemi, and Zari Fathi are the four Iranian nominated referees.

After taking various tests, the final referees will be announced to officiate the event.

The 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup will be the ninth FIFA Futsal World Cup, the quadrennial international futsal championship contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA. The tournament will be held in Lithuania.

The tournament was originally scheduled to be held from 12 September to 4 October 2020 as the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA announced on 3 April 2020 that a decision would be made whether the tournament would be postponed and rescheduled.

On 12 May 2020, FIFA announced that the tournament will be held between 12 September – 3 October 2021, subject to further monitoring.

HJ/IRN84199587

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Ireland

Office worker wins compensation after employer would not let her work from home

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An office-based worker had no option but to resign from her job during the first Covid-19 lockdown after her employer rejected her plea to work remotely from home, according to a ruling from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Adjudication officer Kevin Baneham ordered the employer pay the Operations Co-Ordinator €3,712 compensation for her unfair dismissal on May 12th last.

An employment law expert, Richard Grogan, described the WRC ruling as “a wake-up call’ for employers.

Mr Grogan – who wasn’t involved in the case – said: “The amount of compensation isn’t high as the worker got new a new job within a short space of time, but the findings are important as it is the first ruling that the WRC has made concerning a Covid-19 related unfair or constructive dismissal. I believe that we are going to see an awful lot more of such Covid-19 cases going through the WRC”.

Remote working proposal

In an email to her employer, a university-based Facilities Management Service Provider last April, the worker stated that her employer’s refusal to accept the remote working proposal “has increased the infection risk with COVID-19 for all three Operations Coordinators”.

She stated: “In the event one of us gets sick I will be putting at risk my husband who is an asthmatic patient.”

In his ruling, Mr Baneham found that the university-based Operations Co-ordinator had “no real option but to resign” after her employer failed to take reasonably practicable steps to mitigate risk posed by Covid 19 in the workplace.

Mr Baneham found that the employer failed to implement the proposals made by three office workers that would have eliminated the risk of transmission of Covid-19 in the workplace.

‘Repudiation of contract’

In his findings, Mr Baneham found that the requirement by the employer that the Operations Co-Ordinator attend the workplace without adequate consideration of the elimination of risk posed by Covid 19 “amounts to repudiation of contract”.

He said: “As an infectious disease, Covid-19 constitutes a biological hazard. In this context and at the centre of this case are the duties of both employer and employee arising from the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and the underpinning health and safety principles.”

Some 1,000 students were stuck on the campus in March, some of whom were self-isolating and Mr Baneham stated that the worker and her colleagues dealt with the difficult task of managing thousands of students who vacated their accommodation at the start of the lockdown.

Mr Baneham stated that it was striking that the employer did not trial the “eminently sensible” suggestion by the three office based Operations Co-Ordinators that only one worker attend the office and the others work remotely at any one time.

Small office

The worker provided a ‘lock-down’ photo taken on April 17th last showing her and her colleagues working in close proximity in the small office.

In an email dated April 17th, the worker told her employer that she was not able to socially distance from her two colleagues in the workplace.

In a formal grievance lodged on April 30th, the three Operations Co-Ordinators stated: “All three of us have family members in the ‘at risk’ category, and we are concerned about the health of our family members as well as our own wellbeing.”

They stated that these concerns were brought to the employer’s line manager attention numerous times at the start and during the Covid-19 outbreak “but nothing was done about it and zero care and consideration was given back”.

They state: “Most of our work can be completed from home but if there are issues that require our presence there will be one coordinator in the office to address them. This measure will minimise the infection risk and will help us keep our family and ourselves protected.’

Employer response

However, in response the employer rejected the work from home proposal.

In a letter on May 4th, the employer stated: “Prior to Covid-19 there was never a suggestion that the roles could be performed remotely, and the same situation pertains in a post-Covid situation. “Each person may absent themselves from work and check if they are entitled to a state benefit. The position will be kept under review, but at present the employer’s position is that the three roles are not suitable for remote working.”

Ireland

Employees in Ireland to have legal right to seek p…

The employer stated that it had taken Covid-19 workplace precautions, including PPE; changing the physical layout of the office; the installation of screens and warning tape and moving desks.

The managing director of the facilities management company told the hearing that the worker was of the opinion that she should work from home, but the company’s client would not have allowed this to happen. He stated that her job was essential, and the client would not have allowed her to work from home.

He outlined that it was the coordinators’ role to deal with the students and they were required to be on campus. He said no staff member, thankfully, contracted Covid-19, either in the university or elsewhere. In response to the proposal that some co-ordinators work from home, the managing director told the hearing that it was so busy at this time, so they all needed to be there.

 

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