Challenges of labour retention in private organisations in Uganda: a case study of Entebbe Handling Services (ENHAS) Ltd.
Muhumuza, Patrick Nkore
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This study was conducted at ENHAS LTD, a private company which deals in Passenger and Cargo handling at Entebbe International Airport in Wakiso district of Uganda and which company was formed as a result of privatization of cargo and passenger handling sections of the former Uganda Airlines. Privatization has been a key component of structural reform programs in both developed and developing economies. The aim of such programmes is to achieve higher microeconomic efficiency and foster economic growth, as well as reduce public borrowing through the elimination of unnecessary subsidies. Microeconomic theorists hold that privatization increases profitability and efficiency in both competitive and monopolistic sectors. Privatization affects Growth domestic Product (GDP) growth, fiscal deficit, and Employment level. The main objective of the study was to investigate the challenges of labour retention in Private organizations in Uganda. The study adopted a case study method and used a case example of ENHAS because ENHAS was one of the typical private companies formed as a result of privatization of parastatals in Uganda and characterized by high labour turnover. Respondents were drawn from various departments of ENHAS, Airlines, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, ROKA Bonds and CAA plus the former staff of ENHAS. The focus group discussions explored the relationship between employees’ aspirations and better educational qualifications in connection with better jobs. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used during collection and analysis of data. The data was collected by use of questionnaires, review of records, observations and focus group discussions. Views of respondents on key issues like education, leadership, gender, welfare and remuneration were discussed in addition to opinion on employees’ motivation and hopes about working with the company for relatively longer time. Findings of the study revealed that salary for the middle and lower ranks in ENHAS did not meet the prevailing market rates and were not commensurate with what was being offered by comparable Organizations in the same environment of Entebbe and Kampala. Thus ENHAS was facing a challenge of providing a competitive salary in order to retain a big number of clerical, middle level and supervisory staff. On the other hand, a substantial number of employees were found to have been terminated due to what management deemed to be non - compliance to the company rules and regulations. While this seemed to be a challenge, the company was not coming up with new measures in place to address the problem. It was a potential way of creating job insecurity among staff. The key challenge for labour retention was found to rotate around improving labour opportunities for high educational qualifications. Most of the respondents indicated that when a person is supported by the organization to get a good education qualification, the loyalty of such a person towards work improves which was not found at ENHAS. The study concluded that improving human resource practices, welfare of workers and opportunities for growth were key issues for staff retention and therefore recommended that private organizations had a challenge of increasing commitment to these issues in terms of policy, strategy and prioritization in order to curb down labour turn over.