KPA workers push government to pay two years' bonus arrears

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

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) employees have launched a fresh push for the release of their annual bonus payments as the Christmas season approaches.

Dock Workers Union General Secretary, Simon Sang, confirmed yesterday that he had written to the KPA acting Managing Director, John Mwangemi, seeking an explanation on the delay in releasing the bonuses which are equivalent to one month's salary.

"I wrote to the KPA managing director Thursday seeking an explanation on the bonus payment for 2020 and 2021. There has been a long delay. The last one was paid in 2019," said Sang.

He said despite the National Treasury giving the nod for release of the money to the union's 5,100 members and other KPA employees, all totalling 7,000 workers, they are still waiting to be paid bonuses accumulated for the two years.

Sang noted that the last time port workers got the bonus was in 2019 despite meeting their performance targets, adding that the State is yet to approve bonus payments for 2022.

At the same time, Sang stated that the union was pursuing the controversial 30 per cent overtime ceiling pegged on monthly salaries that has been in force for more than two years.

He said the position of the union was that workers should be paid for all overtime hours worked as opposed to the ceiling, noting that this has demoralised the entire port workforce.

The union boss mulled at the union moving to court to challenge the move to protect workers from working overtime hours for free.

"We are challenging the 30 per cent overtime ceiling. It has never happened in the history of the port that overtime is limited to 30 per cent," he said.

Recently, the Kenya Ship Agents Association (KSAA) said it was alarmed by the directive from DWU on October 2 this year instructing members to strictly avoid working over the 30 per cent ceiling.

In a letter to Mwangemi dated October 4, KSAA Chief Executive Officer Juma Tellah said the move could lead to congestion at the port.