In 2004 PLA received accreditation from the Uganda Law Council to operate as a legal office. In addition to the support that Platform for Labour Action receives from outside counsel; Mr Angerett Sebastian of Angerett & Co. Advocates. The Practicing Certificate (PC) enables Platform for Labour Action’s legal officers to also represent clients in law courts.
In 2005, the Legal Department was able to attend to a total of 640 clients, 11 cases were carried forward from 2004, and 379 were new clients and 250 were domestic workers reached through legal aid clinic
A total of 120 cases were amicably resolved by the intervention of the Department through Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms and 199 cases were resolved administratively following service of demand notices on the employers, while 60 merited conventional litigation, and 13 cases were filed by the Department in various courts depending on the pecuniary prayers of each. The cases handled included wrongful dismissal, unpaid wages and terminal benefits and compensation for work related injuries. Our client base is comprised mainly of vulnerable, marginalized and undocumented workers such as construction workers, teachers, fuel attendants, bakery workers, casual labourers, market vendors and domestic workers.
In April 2005, the report on the key findings of the review of current legislation and policies in relation to children in commercial agriculture was disseminated. This report presents a summary to guide policy makers in making amendments to the relevant legislation and finding practicable solutions to address the problem of child labour in Uganda.
The department further provided legal advisory services, mediation and arbitration services and technical advise to employers and employees on the formalization of employment contracts. PLA has also made available to Community Based Organization (CBO’s) the procedures for assumption of a corporate legal personality.
The department has also hosted legal outreach clinic for domestic workers in collaboration with Children of Zion where 150 workers attended.
Overall Objectives of the Legal Department
- Provision of Legal Aid Advisory and Support Services to Vulnerable, Marginalized and Undocumented workers.
- Periodic analysis of national laws and policies to ensure compliance with International Human Rights instruments as well as the ILO (Core) Labour Standards.
- Legal Education and Rights awareness for Vulnerable, marginalized and undocumented workers.
- Workplace monitoring to ensure respect for employees' rights.
- Technical Support to Community based Organizations.
- Approved and registered Law Chambers.
- Limited Legal Aid Providers in the labour sector in Uganda.
- Strong referral system with the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid Project, Legal Aid Clinic, KCC District Labour Office and the Public Defenders.
- Two Enrolled Advocates, with training in Alternative Dispute Resolution and human rights.
- Networking with an established and renown labour rights lawyer, Mr. Sebastian Angerett, from whom the Legal Officers are learning quite a lot.