Sang wins fourth term, pledges to end overtime pay rule for dockers

Dock Workers Union (DWU) secretary-general Simon Sang'. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Long-serving Dock Workers Union (DWU) General Secretary Simon Sang has pledged to have the 30 per cent cap on port workers’ overtime pay scrapped as he starts his new term.

Sang won a fourth five-year term on Thursday during elections held in Mombasa, Kisumu, Lamu and Kwale counties, beating his closest challenger, Renson Juma Thoya by 1,055 votes to 864.

Thoya, who is also Mikindani ODM MCA, is an ally of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has a rule that states workers’ overtime earnings should not exceed 30 per cent of their monthly salaries.

Overtime cap rule

“Top on my list is making sure the overtime cap rule imposed on all KPA workers is scrapped. Employees must be paid for every minute worked,” Sang said.

Sang launched a scathing attack on KPA management, accusing them of mistreating workers moments after Dock Workers Union Elections Board chair Alice Tabu declared him the winner.

Mohamed Sharia, who has been a critic of Sang since the previous polls in 2016, lost the chair’s race to a new entrant, Mohamed Juma Mwasera, who got 543 votes.

Nana Mote entered the union’s history books after garnering 1,108 votes to become its first woman treasurer, beating three other contestants. National treasurer Joseph Makero was not eligible to defend his post as he has attained retirement age.

Edwin Wasonga, from Mombasa port’s marine operations, and Zulpha Musau from container terminal, were elected male and female young workers’ representatives.

Mwasera commended the elections board for conducting the polls in a peaceful manner.

“I wish to salute the election board for the wonderful work it has done in ensuring peaceful and secure elections. I also thank union members for coming out to vote. It is important to note the core business of workers’ union is first and foremost to defend their rights and that is what we will do,” Mwasera said.

Simon Sang [centre] is joined in celebration by his wife, Esther Sang [right], and members of the union at Kenya Ports Authority headquarters in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

In his acceptance speech, Sang’, who was first elected to head the union in 2006, said he will ensure workers are not made to work for free after attaining 30 per cent of their monthly pay in overtime earnings.

“I will call for immediate Joint Industrial Council (JIC) to resolve the issue of 30 per cent capping. On this issue, management and union must sign a memorandum to provide for two options,” said Sang’.

“That upon attainment of the 30 per cent ceiling, no worker shall be required to work even for a single minute. This must happen immediately. For the management to pay every extra hour worked by an employee since the 30 per cent capping started, the process of approval must be agreed and signed.”

The unionist also demanded that all unpaid overtime arrears must be paid to the workers for all the months.

Pending CBA

Sang’ demanded that KPA settles the 19-month pending Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) pay for all the 4,400 union members.

In March this year, DWU successfully negotiated for a 10 per cent salary raise to be backdated to January last year.

“I will ensure we get paid the 19-month arrears by the first week of July 2021,” Sang’ said.

He also said he will push for promotions within three weeks of registration of the new union officials.

“All pending promotions must be dispensed with within three weeks upon registration of the union officials with the Registrar of Trade Unions.

“All those who have been working in higher grades must be promoted with effect from the time they were first appointed,” he said.

Sang’ also pledged to change the union’s constitution to give him powers to take disciplinary action against officials causing trouble in the union.

Further, he has committed to protect pensioners from negative government administrative arrangements and also guard against privatisation of the ports.