SGR work stalls as strike enters second day

Some of the workers involved in the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in Naivasha after going on strike near Satellite center in Mai Mahiu in Naivasha. The workers are accusing the Chinese contractor of poor payment and ferrying them to work using open trucks [Photo, Standard]

Construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in the Naivasha section has now stalled after a strike by workers entered its second day.

The workers from the Satellite section in Mai Mahiu defied a three-hour notice by the contractor to resume duties.

The more than 800 workers vowed they would not resume duties until their grievances, that include a salary raise, were fully addressed.

The strike came barely two weeks after two workers were crushed to death while working in a section of the railway line from Nairobi to Olkaria.

In the latest strike, the workers accused the contractor of subjecting them to poor working conditions.

According to Peter Kuria, one of the workers, those in the Satellite site were getting lower wages compared to their colleagues elsewhere.

Mr Kuria said they had raised the issue with the contractor, who had ignored their plight, forcing them to down tools.

“Currently, work in this area has been completely paralysed and we shall not resume duties until our grievances are addressed,” he said.

Mai Mahiu chief Zachary Igeria, who was the arbitrator, admitted that they had hit a brick wall.

He said the issue on salary could only be addressed by union officials.