8 October 2012

Kenya: Mombasa Woes Continue As Ferry Workers Strike

Photo: Caroline Mwakio/AllAfrica
Passengers board the ferry amid threats of workers going on strike

Nairobi, Kenya — Recently after addressing the mounting tension between Ugandan traders and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) following introduction on new levies at the port of Mombasa, there is another addition to the government worry-list.

The Kenya Ferry Services (KFS), a critical component of the operations at the port have issued a strike notice that could paralyze services at the port to protest low wages and poor working conditions.

The strike will also adversely affect hundreds of thousands of commuters who depend on ferries, among them tourists frequenting the coastal city of Mombasa. KFS Managing Director, Mr Hassan Musa however played down the discontent saying talks were already underway to address the concerns of the workers.

"We are aware of their concerns. We are however of the idea that there are laid down procedures to be followed in addressing such matters. I am however confident that we will reach a middle ground," said Hassan.

The workers are claiming that the MD is a major stumbling block in their demands for better packages. The workers Chairman Mr. Alfan Ramadhan Jita gave the management a one-week ultimatum to address their demands for better pay of face an industrial action that would have devastating effects to the economy.

"We have made our concerns known to the management. we need to be duly remunerated for the effort we put in. If these demands are not made, we will be communicating our next cause of action," said Ramadhan.

Kenya was last week forced to shelve a planned hike in port fees imposed on Ugandan importers after an uproar that almost caused a diplomatic row between Nairobi and Kampala.

The affected Ugandan importers had even threatened to pursue alternative routes like the port of Dar es Salaam.

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