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Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

EPZ STAFF DOWN TOOLS OVER SEX HARASSMENT< POOR PAY



Over 7,000 employees of three Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factories in Mombasa Tuesday downed their tools to protest against poor pay and the sacking of their colleagues. Police were forced to fire tear gas to disperse a crowd of striking workers in Changamwe, the county's industrial area. The staff were demanding the reinstatement of over 30 colleagues whose contacts were not renewed by the firms. The factories were shut down following the disturbances and the management promised to re-open them this morning. "We are working under inhuman conditions. We work for over four extra hours but we are not paid for the overtime and we have been denied our right to join the union," said Christin Kikaki, an employee at Ashton Apparel EPZ. Other than Ashton Apparel, other affected firms include Mombasa Apparel EPZ and MK Apparel firms, both based in Changamwe. The workers had early Tuesday morning staged a sit-down and despite a meeting between their union officials and local political leaders, they declined to resume duty. Reached truce See Also: Pupils report to wedding celebration, not school "We reached a truce and agreed that the workers should return to work. But because of the tension we later decided that they should go home and come tomorrow (today)," said Tailors and Textile Workers Union representative Evans Rajoro. According to the financial controller for the four firms, Pankaj Mehta, the organisation has four entities with a workforce of 7,000 and those employees whose contracts were not renewed were found to be unproductive. "Out of the 7,000, we did not renew the contracts of only 30 people. These individuals were sacked because of poor performance," said Mr Mehta. Other staff said they were opposed to Pay As You Earn (Paye) and National Social Service Fund (NSSF) which are statutory deductions. "We were paid half salary in December and still we paid the Paye and NSSF," said Teresa Mogambi, an employee.