Sacked KPA workers evicted from their homes
06 July 2015, 08:13
Mombasa - Some 28 employees of the Kenya Ports Authority were evictions from their homes at High Level Estate in Shimanzi, which is owned by the Authority.
The 28 workers were dismissed by KPA management on Friday for participating in the nationwide civil servants' strike over the new NHIF rates.
Police officers had to be called in to calm the situation after the tenants threatened to hold demonstration within the Estate.
The eviction came after the Dock Workers union frustrated a previous attempt to drive the workers out of the Authority houses on Saturday.
“Some people who are not KPA staff, we can simply call them goons for hire, arrived early morning trying to evict us,” said Yakubu Mohamed, a shop steward at the Port.
He said he had not received any dismissal letter and had not even participated in the strike.
Dock Workers Union Secretary General, Simon Sang said the eviction notice was illegal.
KPA had given the sacked staff notice to surrender the company properties in their possession and those in their Estate to vacate within 48 hours.
“The staffs are here on tenancy and not occupational agreement as the KPA claims. They pay monthly rent, therefore in case of an eviction, they should be given a three-month notice not 48 hours as indicated,” said Sang.
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The giant DWU said they will be moving to court on Monday to challenge the decision by KPA to dismiss 27 of its members and the subsequent evicting from the staff quarters.
“We will be moving to court tomorrow to challenge the matter,” said Sang during a press conference at the estate compound Sunday.
At the same time, a section of Port workers who are pro-management, held a press conference in Mombasa town supporting the move by management to sack the striking workers.
“We support the Managing Director for taking that stern action against the striking workers because their action was illegal,” said Geoffrey Mareko.
He said the industrial action was illegal because NHIF is not a KPA management problem.
Mareko accused Sang of misleading the members by forcing them to ditch the Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) to join Trade Union Congress of Kenya (TUC-K).
“If we were in Cotu, these problems would not have occurred,” said Mareko.
The dismissed workers were part of the over 5 000 Port employees who were participating in a nationwide civil servants' industrial action over NHIF deductions.
DWU said the new NHIF rates are too high for them and vowed to continue with strike even after over 90 percent of KPA staff resumed their duties for fear of dismissal.
The rates were increased in a graduated structure effective April 1, with the lowest paid employee remitting KES 170 and the highest KES 1 700 per month.
For the self-employed, the rates were increased from KES 160 to KES 500 a month.
Sang said the Port management erred in dismissing the 27 workers who are the top officials of the Union for allegations of inciting others to strike.
“We will be having TUC-K national delegates meeting on Tuesday to deliberate on appropriate action against KPA for dismissing our members,” he said.
The nationwide strike was called by the Trade Union Congress of Kenya (TUC-K), in which DWU, Kenya National Union of Teachers and other civil servants organisations are affiliated to.
Teachers, lectures and university staffs are expected to join in the strike on Monday.
On Saturday, KPA managing director Gichiri Ndua told a press conference in his office that approximately KES 1.2 billion had been lost during the KPA workers strike.
“As a result of the strike, the Port has lost KES 200 million. Considering delays in delivery and failure to find the market and losses associated with this uncalled for strike, losses stand at approximately KES 1 billion for the East African region,” said Ndua.
The strike disrupted business at the biggest Port in the region, which handles imports for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.
He said a backlog of 2500 containers was still being experienced at the Port and they expect to clear it by Monday following the full resumption of operations at the facility.
On Saturday, a total of 15 vessels were discharging and loading cargo alongside various berths while two other vessel were in the high seas, said Ndua.
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