Butchers in Yumbe Town, Uganda, have gone on strike because they are unhappy with the cleanliness of the main slaughterhouse. They started their strike on Friday and have refused to slaughter animals, causing problems for customers and meat supply in the town.
Muhammad Tiga, the leader of the Yumbe Town Council Butchers Association, said they stopped working because the town authorities did not address their concerns raised during meetings. These concerns include not having clean water to wash meat, not having proper pits to dispose of animal waste, neglecting the slaughterhouse’s premises, and having bad roads leading to it. The butchers have been paying a tax of sh10,000 to the town council and a sh5,000 slaughter fee to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
Starting on September 1, they decided to stop paying the tax but continue with the slaughter fee. Tiga said they believe paying the tax is pointless because the town council doesn’t invest in improving the place where they earn revenue. This has caused a disagreement between the butchers and the town council.
The town council authorities invited the butchers for a meeting at their offices in response to the strike, but the butchers insisted on holding the meeting at the abattoir. Tiga said they consider the meeting at the office useless because they’ve had such meetings before without any positive outcomes. However, the town council refused and locked the meeting rooms.
The leader of the butchers’ association stated that they won’t return to work until the town council commits to addressing their concerns.
New Vision contacted the Yumbe Town Council town clerk, Adam Angoliga, for his thoughts. He questioned the timing of the strike and suggested that the butchers may have hidden issues related to a tender awarded to another company. He argued that the abattoir had been operating since 2002 under the same people, and it’s puzzling why they’re raising concerns now, especially since they were responsible for revenue collection until last year.
Angoliga emphasized the need for open communication and mentioned their efforts to improve the abattoir’s condition despite challenges in revenue collection. He also mentioned digging a well, but it didn’t provide a sufficient water supply due to low water tables. The town council is now exploring alternative water sources, possibly piped water.
Angoliga expressed a willingness to engage with the butchers to resolve the situation and, if necessary, involve security teams if negotiations fail.