Workers protest over poor working conditions

Over 50 disgruntled casual workers of Mombasa Maize Millers took to the streets on Monday in protest over what they described as poor working conditions and abuse of workers by the top management.

They staged peaceful protests outside the factory in Mombasa and accused the management of sacking them whenever they pressed for better pay and working conditions.

The workers had downed their tools complaining that the firm continues to ignore addressing their grievances which range from poor working conditions, mistreatment and extremely low wages and petitioned Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and Labour Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie to intervene and address their grievances.

The angry demonstrating workers spokesman David Munyasia said the top miller has a reputation of not renewing contracts for those who agitate for their rights and that of their colleagues.

‘We are working under inhuman conditions and work extra hours but are not paid for the overtime putting our families in abject poverty,’ bemoaned Munyasia.

He said they are routinely denied their rights to join unions and those who persist are victimised and sacked on grounds of being unproductive.

Munyasia who has worked with the miller for the last 10 years said they are routinely underpaid and threatened with dismissal while being subjected to dangerous working conditions without proper factory gear.

Juma Roho Mwinyi, another employee said a climate of fear persists as the firm refuses to improve working conditions and workers are threatened with dismissal if they dare raise their concerns over the mistreatment.

Said Darwesh, another aggrieved worker called on the relevant authorities to crackdown on the inhuman working conditions that have for long plagued workers in the company.

He claimed the management was disrespectful and practiced favouritism and that workers were working more hours than the stipulated eight hours.

“We will be staging peaceful protests outside the factory for as long as it takes until we get our most fundamental right,’ said Nelson Oguya who has worked with the miler for the last five years.

Ms. Nuru Ali said despite the grain handling industry being a high hazard industry they lack the tools of trade and protective gear and workers were exposed to flour dust and suffer respiratory symptoms such as cough, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Attempts to get comment from the company management proved futile.

By Hussein Abdullahi

Source: Kenya News Agency