The Star (Nairobi)

8 August 2014

Kenya: Don't Sell Off Port of Mombasa - Dockers

THE Dock Workers Union has petitioned the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Affairs to intervene on the privatisation of the Mombasa port.

In a letter to the committee chaired by Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo, the union wants contents of the recently launched Port Community Charter interpreted to ensure the port is not privatised.

The union has called for the removal of components, which have "negative socio-economic impact on the economy and the lives of port workers".

Speaking to the Star yesterday, DWU secretary general Simon Sang said the chatter allows KPA to source services from foreign companies, which will see union members lose jobs.

"Port services should not be privatised, otherwise we will see loss of jobs at the harbour. Revenue generated will also be transferred to foreign countries," he said.

Sang said the move will affect workers from poor families and especially those from underdeveloped regions, where living standards are low and dependant on employment only.

He said though the union supports President Uhuru's efforts to improve port efficiency and development, it is opposed to inclusion of anti-labour programmes in the charter.

"The recent launch of the Mombasa Ports Community Charter by the President has opened room for privatisation of 80 per cent of the port's business with the consequence of taking away more than 50 per cent of port's revenue and 65 per cent labour layoffs. This situation is likely to result in industrial relation conflicts and social instability," Sang said.

Uhuru led the signing of the charter in June when heads of parastatals and the private sector committed to the initiative. 13 public entities signed the charter.

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