Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday 14 December 2014


James Muithiga Karanja aged in his early 50s is a bitter man and he is requesting Labour cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambu and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli to come to his help following the tribulations he has undergone.
Karanja was employed by Travellers Beach Hotel from June 13 1994 to June 8 2014 this year after they retired him on medical grounds.
According to sources, his skin became rough and clinics said it was a fungal infection. In March this year a severe skin disease engulfed his whole body and the skin resembled a snake. He went to Coast General Hospital’s skin centre and the doctors identified the disease as psoriasis. This occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and inflames or destroys healthy body tissue. It is a common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation. Most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales.
Travellers Beach Hotel located in Bamburi and owned by Dhanjal family and permits their employees to visit the Coast General Hospital whenever they have a medical problem and the employees meet their own medical bills. This is despite the collective bargaining agreement between the hotel and the union that states that the hotel pays the hospital bill of employees admitted or outpatient in any recognised medical facility. This was the brainchild of the general manager Fredrick Kiuru. Upon diagnosis of psoriasis, according to our source Karanja was instructed to buy drugs from selected chemist because the disease was rare. A dose went for Sh4, 500 a week and by April it was straining the patient.
Former colleagues at Travellers Beach Hotel raised money for the drugs. What was intriguing was that Kiuru and the human resources assistant Miss Jamila gave the patient an annual leave instead of sick leave as stated in the CBA. The CBA states that a very sick person shall get seven days sick leave or 75 days and if his situation worsens, he or she would get additional 90 days leave on half the salary.
He returned to work in mid April but his condition was bad. Being a guestroom attendant, his appearance was important. Other managers were sympathetic and volunteered to send him to Pandya Hospital. This, however, was only possible if the GM accepted. His efforts to reach GM office with works committee chairman a one Mr Okake, the diehard GM supporter was blocked. Even after the MD’s personal assistant told the GM to take care of his plight, nothing happened.
The GM, we have established, eventually ordered him to retire on medical grounds saying he could infect hotel guests and workers with the disease. He even threatened to sack him if he did not resign.
His visit to Kudheiha, the hotel workers union office in Mombasa did not help either. They instructed him not to resign and convened a meeting with the GM. The hotel refused to call him insisting he was a rebel and that had refused to answer their call.
The hotel retired him on medical grounds. His benefit was calculated to Sh250,000 which was suspect. After deductions he was paid Sh198,000 as retirement benefits and medical upkeep after working for 20 years.

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