Society

SOBUGEA employees reject new system of health insurance coverage

Employees of the Burundian company of warehouse management and transit assistance (SOBUGEA) protest against the recent decision made by SOBUGEA executive to change their health insurance coverage.

Amissi Hakizimana, the first secretary of SOBUGEA workers' union “After the suspension of annual bonuses and gratuities, we have nothing left. Our salary has significantly decreased.”

Amissi Hakizimana, the first secretary of SOBUGEA workers’ union “After the suspension of annual bonuses and gratuities, we have nothing left. Our salary has significantly decreased.”

The management of SOBUGEA decided on May 3, 2018 to pay its staff’s health care fees following a medical care scheme of ‘Mutuelle de la Fonction Publique, public health insurance. SOBUGE staff used to have their medical treatment at ‘Polyclinique Maison Medical’ private hospital. From now on, they will be subscribed to Mutuelle de la Fonction Publique, which provides 80% of the subscriber’s health care in public hospitals only.
Amissi Hakizimana, the first secretary of SOBUGEA workers’ union says this change will have a negative impact on the living conditions of workers.

At “Polyclinique Maison Medical,” SOBUGEA company paid 100% of health care fees, workers received drugs through order forms delivered by SOBUGEA at Salama and Arc-en- Ciel pharmacies. We did not pay anything, “says Hakizimana.

He explains that with their low salary it is impossible to use the medical care scheme of ‘Mutuelle de la Fonction Publique’. “The latter pays 80% of health care fees and each employee must pay a monthly contribution of 4% of base salary to it”.

Hakizimana says since January 2017, employees’ monthly payment was reduced to the salary of 2015. “After the suspension of annual bonuses and gratuities, we have nothing left. Our salary has significantly decreased.

The employees call on SOBUGEA management team to reconsider their decision so that they continue to have medical treatment at ‘Clinique Maison Medicale’
Télésphore Irambona, Director General of SOBUGEA, says the company has not stopped helping their staff have medical treatment arguing that only the way to do it has changed.

The ‘Mutuelle de la Fonction Publique’ covers health care of several state employees. Our staff are worried by the fact that it does not cover the cost of health care offered by private hospitals.”
He says SOBUGEA management organized meetings to explain to employees these changes, but they did not want to understand. “Nowhere is mentioned in the contracts that workers must have their medical treatment at the hospital of their choice,” says Irambona.
He, however, says the cancellation of bonuses does not only concern SOBUGEA employees. “This is a decision that has been made by the government since 2015.”

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