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Chinese contractor denies firing 1,000 SGR workers in 'illegal strike'.

The Chinese Communications and Construction Company involved in the construction of the SGR in Naivasha has sacked all the striking workers.

The contractor sent home the close to 1,000 workers after they failed to heed a notice to return to work and end the week-long strike. In the notice sent to government offices, the company said the strike by the workers was illegal. It termed their demands for salary increase unconstitutional.

For a week, the workers attached to the Satellite Site in Mai Mahiu, Naivasha, have been camping outside the company's office demanding a rise in their salaries and better means of transport.

On Saturday, the workers were involved in running battles with riot police officers after they blocked the Mai Mahiu-Narok road leading to a major traffic snarl-up.

Following the impasse, the contractor in the letter said all those who had not reported for duty on Monday should consider themselves sacked.

'All those employees that are in the ongoing illegal strike and those who failed to resume work on January 8, the management recognises they have resigned automatically.'

'Your basic minimum wages is much more than the one under the regulation of wages amendment of 2017,' reads the notice in part.

Speaking in his office, Naivasha subcounty commissioner Isaac Masinde confirmed the sackings, terming the strike illegal and not protected by the law. Masinde said the workers had not issued a notice as required by law. Some of the workers' demands were unconstitutional, he said.

'The workers have been misled by their leaders over the issue of salary increase and they should learn that there are set procedures in adjusting wages,' Masinde said.

The subcounty commissioner termed the project crucial, adding that the administrators will make sure it continues as projected and without any delay.

But Naivasha MP Jane Kihara blamed the project manager for the mess, warning that things could get worse in the coming days if the residents are not heard. Kihara said the contractor failed to recognise a committee elected by workers and residents and was instead was working with cartels.

'The majority of those employed are not from this area and the project manager is working with a cartel leading to crafty deals,' she said.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jan 9, 2018
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