Scores of protesting workers at the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Athi River were yesterday injured during a confrontation with the police.
Police used teargas and were later forced to shoot in the air to disperse the over 2,000 employees of New Wide Garments factories. The workers were holding a demonstration to press for the reinstatement of one of their stewards who was sacked mysteriously.
More than 20 employees were injured and treated at the nearby Shalom Community Hospital while others were arrested for allegedly pelting the police with stones.
Two middle-aged pregnant woman reportedly miscarried after they were caught up in the clash.
Several offices had their windows shattered while a police officer fractured his hand.
- 1 EPZ employees now back to work after two-day strike
- 2 EPZ employees now back to work after two-day strike
Trouble started when the workers reported to work at around 7am and found that Mr Joshua Muturi, who represents them in the union, had been sacked.
The agitated workers demanded an explanation from the management on why Muturi had been fired.
"We will not resume until Muturi is reinstated. He has been sacked for being at the forefront in addressing the welfare of the employees," said Martha Mweni, one of the employees.
The workers also demanded better pay and improved working conditions from their employer, whom they accused of harassing them.
But according to the company General Manager Rodof Isinga, the management reached the decision to terminate Mr Muturi's services for allegedly inciting the workers.
"We cannot allow one individual to incite thousands of workers against their employer, that's why we decided to suspend him and he will remain suspended," said Isinga.
The general manager noted that the company, which exports garments abroad, has lost millions of shillings following the strike.
"This particular strike has cost us millions of shillings since we will not be able to deliver the orders made by our clients abroad," added Isinga.