Burundi: The Minister of Public Service, Labor, and Employment calls for dialogue between employers and employees.

The Burundi Minister of Public Service, Labor, and Employment, Mr. Felix Mpozeriniga paid a visit on Thursday, October 18, 2018, to the company Afritextile, ( Ex Cotebu) to ensure the state of the premises, the working conditions and the whole within the company, as reported by the Burundi Press Agency.

According to the Director General of this business, Mr. Gilbert Nzeyimana, the Afritextile recovered, in April 2013, the activities of Complex Burundi (COTEBU) which went into bankrupt in 2007. Its activity is to transform cotton into a finished product, more than 90% of the product consisting of women loin cloths commonly called COTEBU.

Lack of foreign currency hinders activities.

It uses 1000 workers supported by some Indian consultants and product 1,200,000 m of tissue per month. This production is satisfactory, according to the Director General, who regretted some difficulties, in particular, the lack of foreign exchange necessary to import raw materials and new machines.

This prevents the modernization of production as the latest machines 1993. The modernization plan would employ 500 new employees, Mr. Nzeyimana added.

Speaking of the workers’ demands, he particularly stressed the salaries by saying that this issue will be resolved in a draft internal regulation of this company which is in finalization course. He reassured that these texts will be ready with the end of November.

To avoid any Minister Mpozeriniga advised the administrative staff to collaborate with his department to produce a statement satisfying the staff.

For Minister Mpozeriniga, the Workplaces need to organize a framework for discussion, dialogue, and exchange on issues variety. For him, the work stoppage must be an exception.  According to workers’ representatives, in relation to staff contributions to the project of the company, there is cause for concern.

Employees deplore the wages disparities.

They ask for the intervention of the Minister for the workers’ proposals, particularly with regard to the harmonization of salary, graduation, and promotion status are taken into account. They complain that since
2010, this company operates without regulation and recommend that before its popularization, this text
be shown to the workers to check if their voice has been heard.

On the part of the workers, the most important complaints concern the wage disparity. Workers’ representatives deplored the fact that different wages can be different for the same employees with the same degree. they were promised that this wages disparity is going to be taken care of.

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