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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Uproar as Bungoma security firm employees threaten pay strike

Over 1000 employees of the Multi-Business Shooters Investors Security Services firm have threatened to go on strike over poor pay and unfavourable working conditions.
They have accused their employer of failing to address their plight. “We have always presented our requests and complaints about low payment to the management but they don’t care about our welfare. Most of the employees in this company suffer but they can’t speak out for fear of victimisation,” said one of the guards in town. They said it is an abuse that has demotivated most of them saying they are looking for other works. It is unfortunate that the female employees who spoke to Weekly Citizen said that they are sometimes lured into the game through sexual escapades. “Some of us have been sleeping with bosses to get a salary increment and even get a job,” said one female guard.
A number of private owned security groups have been pushed out of business due to lack of regulation with some end up collapsing because of poor management and employment of unprofessional players, corruption, underpayment of guards and backbiting among others all this is reflected on MBSI by the Bungoma county government.
The company has been underpaying its employees and to an extent of not paying them for several  months now.
“We have not been paid our dues for four months now. When we go to ask we are abused and told to go back to our work stations and that they will address our plight there. Is this being fare?” asked one of the guards. According to the  chairman of youth’s association Moses Wanyama, the security firms should not underpay the employees saying most of the security groups get a lot of cash and pay their employees little demoralising them and even forcing some of them to find alternative working places or end up retrenching their workforce.
“The issue of MBSI security firm should be addressed by the governor because he is the one who awarded him the tender. It is so sad that most of the youths employed cannot even pay their rent and cater for their upkeep, leave alone helping their families some whose marriages have been broken because the couples are not trusting each other when one goes to work for the whole month and cannot sustain their families,” he said.
He said the county government should pay guards their salary. “The future does not look bright to our youths in Bungoma despite some of them being Standard Eight dropouts and Form Four leavers. It is not good for someone to be given money and use it all instead of paying employees,” he added.
Earlier on the Bungoma county assembly formed a committee to investigate how a security firm was contracted to provide security services at the Bungoma Referral Hospital but did not do so. A motion by Mihuu MCA John Nanyakha tabled documents showing that Multi Business Shooters Investors Security Services, owned by a businessmanWanyonyi Waswa was paid to deploy guards at the hospital.
Nanyakha said county secretary Murumba Chiuli extended the firm’s contract on June 12 to allow it employ an additional 176 guards, each of whom would earn Sh13,500 per month. The contract seen by   Weekly Citizen indicates the firm deployed the guards at the hospital on December 10 2013. At one time, guards from MBSI unsuccessfully tried to forcibly eject their rivals from Admiral Security Company at the Bungoma District Hospital. County assembly health committee decided to investigate the matter after the then health executive Grace Khayota denied knowledge of the standoff. She instead referred the committee led by chairperson Florence Wekesa to public administration executive Mokin arap Ptang’uny for further explanation.
However, the circular written by health chief officer John Situma on July 8 2014, asked all subcounty medical officers and medical superintendents to recognise MBSI as the sole security provider in all health facilities in the county.  Contacted, MBSI managing director Wanyonyi Waswa dismissed the allegation saying his guards have been providing services in all health facilities since they got the tender in 2013.