The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Grain Bulk Staff Down Tools in Pay Dispute

About 150 workers at Grain Bulk Handlers on Thursday downed tools to protest poor pay, mistreatment and alleged nepotism by a sub-contracted firm.

The staff, who were hired under the Blue Cat Port Services clearing and forwarding firm that has been sub-contracted by Grain Bulk, claimed they were tired of mistreatment.

"We have been poorly paid for the last 3-4 years after were initially given good money," said senior worker Gadau Maumau, who claims to have worked for the firm for about 10 years.

A colleague, James Ndago, who also claims to have served the firm for the past 10 years, said they had lost motivation to continue serving the firm.

The staff claimed they were initially paid Sh405 daily before the owner, identified as Johnson Naika, adjusted the rates about four years ago.

"We then started get paid according to his whims . He would pay us anything between Sh10 to 400 per day," said Maumau.

The workers also accused the management of massive nepotism with almost 75 per cent of the workers being from the community that the owner of the company belongs to.

Calls to Naika's phone went unanswered and a relative, a Mr John Mchibi, said he was not aware of the strike.

He directed the Star to another office claiming he was not involved in the management of the firm.

"Talk to the persons concerned. I am not involved in the management of the company," he said.

The company secretary said the management would get back to The Star but never honoured the promise.

Police later drove protesting workers out of the company premises as others returned to their work stations.

"Some colleagues were threatened into getting back to work but we decided we will not return to work until our grievances are addressed," said Maumau.

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