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Dock Workers Union reads mischief as port staff enter pay deal

By Patrick Beja | December 9th 2021
By Patrick Beja | December 9th 2021

Dock Workers Union (DWU) General Secretary Simon Sang. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

A decision by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to reject a 10 per cent salary hike for Kenya Ports Authority employees covering two years has threatened to split the 4,400-member Dock Workers Union (DWU).

This was after some union members signed a petition to accept a 12 per cent salary increment covering four years without involving General Secretary Simon Sang.

The union workers, led by the Chief Shop Steward Justine Angore, yesterday confirmed they had handed over the petition to union chairman Mohamed Mwasera, who had also forwarded it to KPA Acting Managing Director John Mwangemi.

Angore claimed members decided to accept the 12 per cent offer proposed by SRC to cover 2020/2023 following delays in implementing the 10 per cent Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) after it was signed by KPA and DWU in March. 

The 10 per cent salary hike was to cover 2020/2023 but SRC said it was against its guidelines requiring CBAs to cover four years.

National Assembly Committee on Labour and Social Welfare led by Mwea MP Kibinga Wachira had asked SRC to implement the 2020/2021 CBA but the commission had not yet complied.

“SRC had rejected the 10 per cent signed CBA and proposed that 12 per cent salary adjustment be spread over four years. We have signed a petition to have this implemented and end the current push and pull. Workers have waited for too long,” Angore said.  

SRC Chairperson Lyn Mengich. October 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

He said some union members' children were home because of lack of school fees and that they have pushed for the signing of the petition so the CBA could be conducted and paid before the end of this month.

But Sang rejected the petition, terming it sabotage of the union negotiation machinery and a scheme by his detractors.

“It is not the mandate of the chief shop steward to organise workers to sign such a petition. The union has only one spokesman in the industrial relations machinery and what the chief shop steward is doing is not procedural,” Sang protested.

According to Sang, the Joint Industrial Council (JIC) that brings together the union and KPA management to address workers’ issues was scheduled to discuss the salary issue later this month as proposed by SRC.

“Members of the JIC are scheduled to meet on December 15, 16 and 17 to discuss the 12 per cent salary rise for 2020/2023 and we expect the CBA to be implemented by Christmas. My detractors are behind the alternative plan through the petition and it should be ignored,” Sang said.

While receiving the petition from Angore, DWU chairperson Mwasera commended the workers for their move while calling for unity in the union.

“I want to thank you for the move you have taken in coming up with the petition and not disrupting work or people. The employer has not refused to pay us. It's just that the process has taken too long,” said Mwasera.

Yesterday, Angore said members believed the petition was the easier option since it will only require the managing director and general manager for human resource to fine-tune the document and seek the concurrence of the union general secretary to approve the four-year CBA. He said 2,000 union members signed the petition.

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