Mumias workers question union's silence in pay row

Sarrai Group bid Sh5.8 billion before taking over Mumias in late December. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Employees of Mumias Sugar have accused their union of letting them down in the fight for their unpaid salaries.

The more than 500 workers on Thursday questioned the silence of Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers Secretary-General Francis Wangara.

They criticised him for not prioritising their hiring by Sarrai Group which won a bid to run the company.

“We have orders issued by the Labour court in 2020 stopping the leasing of Mumias Sugar Company until the issue of our unpaid salaries is addressed. We read in the media that the company has been leased yet he (Wangara) is not speaking for us,” said Henry Kibondoli, a former Mumias Sugar employee.

The workers questioned the silence of Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers Secretary-General. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Added Joseph Owino: “Most of the top union officials appear to be siding with our oppressors." But Wangara, refuted the claims, saying the Mumias issue was "delicate".

"First of all when they were being evicted from the houses I was the one who asked Sarrai to stop."

He went on: "On being given priority in employment, hiring at Mumias was frozen courtesy of a court order which stopped Sarrai from carrying out any activity at the company until the leasing dispute is resolved."

Tumaz and Tumaz Enterprises which lost the bid to run the company obtained orders to stop Sarrai from running the firm until the tendering process was reviewed.

High Court judge Wilfrida Okwany barred Sarrai from taking over operations of Mumias pending hearing of another petition. 

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