Union at Kenya's port of Mombasa calls off strike
By Joseph Akwiri | November 3, 2012 12:49 AM EST
A union representing workers at Kenya's main port of Mombasa called off a strike on Friday after the management issued letters of employment to casual workers who were demanding permanent jobs.
The strike, which was in its second day, had left loading and unloading at a standstill. Also on Friday, a separate strike by workers demanding better pay halted operations by Kenya Ferry Services.
Simon Sang, secretary general of the dock workers union, told workers the dispute had been resolved after most of their employment letters were signed.
"Go to your departments. All letters have been dispatched to the departments. Pick your letter and go back to work," he said.
"Our most important demand has been granted," he told jubilant workers, who pumped fists in the air in celebration.
An official at the Kenya Ports Authority's (KPA) said the union had agreed to send the workers back to their jobs after receiving their letters.
"They are back to work," the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
Dockside work resumed gradually as workers trickled back after collecting their letters of employment, which guaranteed them a pension scheme.
Others chanted slogans outside the port's main offices as they lined up to get their letters.
"It feels a lot better now. At least I am assured of a hefty package when I retire," said Juma Kassim, a crane operator.
"I don't know why the port had to wait until we forced them by striking. I'm sure the port has suffered great losses."
Hundreds of tonnes of cargo were piled up.
"We arrived here yesterday morning to collect containers destined for Rwanda, but there is nobody to load them on the trucks. We just spent the night out here in the cold," said Colyns Mutua, a long-distance truck driver.
Labour unrest has increased in east Africa's biggest economy this year following steep price increases and ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections next March. Teachers, university lecturers and doctors have also staged strikes to demand better pay and working conditions.
The ferry strike blocked trucks, carrying fuel, food and goods, and office workers from the mainland who were trying to get to work on Mombasa island.
Tourists at the coastal strip popular with Kenyan and foreign holidaymakers, who were hoping to get to the main airport from beach luxury resorts, were left stranded.
The nearest alternative route into the island requires a detour of about 80 km.
(Writing by James Macharia; editing by Jane Baird)
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- HTC Google Nexus 8 Release Date Imminent with New Nexus 7 Deals, Two New Tablets Soon
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales