Hopes of recovery of several jobs lost due to coronavirus are waning, with a section of employers citing surge in infections as threat to businesses and consumer spending.
Rwanda Today established that while businesses in sectors like transport, manufacturing and hospitality gradually recalled several of their workers since the lifting of the national lockdown on June 1, many especially SMEs continue to exercise caution when it comes to restoring their contracts.
Workers indicate that even big employers who recalled their staff, it could take longer to reinstate their slashed salaries to pre-Covid-19 levels due to dwindling revenues.
“The situation is still complex for now because as infections continue to rise businesses like in the manufacturing sector are mulling to scale down a few workers they had recalled, and people are cautious about making unnecessary movements and that has a bearing on revenues of businesses.
There are risks that the labour situation could be even worse,” said Abdon Nkotanyi, a trade unionist attached to CESTRAR.
“We cannot blame businesses, because some of these factors are really beyond their control.”
Emmanuel Kayiranga who heads a trade union that reprsents workers in industry, garages and mines told Rwanda Today that in most instances companies resorted to hiring their existing staff on daily basis instead of reactivating their contracts amid attempts to avoid the burden of another suspension should the lockdown be enforced again.
“Much as there are uncertainties businesswise, we believe that the laws should be respected because these workers are working the same hours as they used before,” he said, citing instances in two industries.
According to the national institute of statistics, the unemployment rate that stood at 13.1 per cent in February shoot to 22.1 per cent in May owing to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The statistics body put the total number of people who lost jobs between February and April when the country went into a full lockdown at 1.4 million.