Standard Gauge Railway contractor initiates dialogue with workers after strike

Workers of China Road and Bridge Corporation demonstrate to protest poor working conditions along Mombasa Road, on Friday. [PHOTO: PIUS CHERUIYOT/STANDARD]

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) contractor has pledged to address workers grievances.

This comes after workers from SGR Section 8 in Syokimau on Friday protested claims of mistreatment, inadequate compensation and poor working conditions.

The workers also claimed the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) sacks them without notice while their contracts were not clear. “They never give you any warning letters to sign, but on dismissal they will hand you a number of letters supposedly signed by you,” one construction worker claimed at the Standard Group offices on Mombasa Road, Nairobi on Friday.

They also claimed that the foreman asks for between Sh3,000 and Sh4,000 for one to get a job.

Laid down procedures

The workers said they had raised the grievances with the management but no action has been taken and instead the complainants have allegedly been laid off.

However, the contractor denied the allegations saying they offer workers good pay compared to other companies and they have more than 24,000 local staff.

“We believe the workers should follow the laid down procedures to voice their concerns without resorting to industrial action,” said Jason Wang, the Human Resource Manager of the SGR project.

The company met with the workers to discuss their grievances, saying they were committed to adhere to local labour regulations.

“CRBC will immediately bring on board government representatives from the labour and transport ministries to seek advice on mechanisms to deal with such situations with a view to avoiding occurrence in future,” said Mr Wang.