24 July 2014

Kenya: Dock Workers Issue Two Strike Notices

THE giant Dock Workers Union has issued a double strike notice for both the Kenya Ports Authority workers and the Kenya Ferry Services workers.

On Tuesday, the Union issued a 21-day strike notice on behalf of the ferry workers over the alleged failure by the government to allocate revenue to the KFS.

"The 65 per cent of the anticipated revenue expected from the Ministry of Transport is the cause of the trade dispute because the Ministry has failed to remit its share as expected therefore rendering the KFS financial position unsustainable," DWU general secretary Simon Sang said in a letter addressed to Labour Secretary Kazungu Kambi dated July 22.

Two months ago, KFS managing director Musa Hassan denied that the government has failed to remit allocation to the company as alleged by Sang.

Musa said it is the remitted money that has been running the ferries and helped reconstruct the Mtongwe ferry rump and additional rumps and the Likoni Ferry channel.

Yesterday, Sang also issued a strike notice against the KPA accusing the management of trying to 'sell' the port.

In a press release sent to media houses, Sang said KPA chairman Danson Mungatana has been 'fixed' by the management into 'selling' the port.

Mungatana and Sang have differed over the port Community Charter that was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta about a month ago.

While Mungatana insists the union was involved in the talks to come up with the charter, Sang maintains that the only meeting they were involved in was to discuss the Wajibika Project which, he maintains, was more of sensitization on the need to improve performance.

"The KPA chairman does not understand the dynamics of maritime and shipping business. In my view he has been fixed by the Management of KPA," said Sang in the statement.

He further challenged Mungatana to produce evidence that the union was consulted over the charter.

The union has since appointed a professional to come up with an alternative charter with views of different stakeholders including the Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties.

"However, whether the Chairman understands it or not, whether he likes it or not, the Union's stand and that of the Coast community is that the port will be privatized over our dead bodies," Sang said.

Sang also accused Mungatana of inciting workers against the union.

He said workers will make a resolution on whether to continue working with Mungatana after 21 days from yesterday.

"This port requires concerted efforts," he said.

He said they have given Mungatana 21 days to 'make up his mind', failure to which they will take industrial action.

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