Workers union boss wades into SGR mistreatment claims

What you need to know:

  • Union boss John Chumo claims 40 local locomotive drivers are paid Sh30,000 monthly while their Chinese counterparts take home Sh100,000.

Railway and Allied Workers Union (RAWU) says it has been trying to file a complaint with China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) over alleged mistreatment of local workers.

RAWU secretary general John Chumo, speaking on Monday during an interview with a local television station, says he has been receiving complaints from local staff over various acts of racial discrimination against them.

The Chinese firm was awarded a 10-year contract in 2017 to maintain and operate the Standard Gauge Railway after the project was commissioned.

“Yes, I have received many complaints from local staff especially the locomotive drivers who said they have been facing discrimination from the management of SGR. But when I called the human resource manager he dismissed the claims as not true,” says Mr Chumo.

Mr Chumo claims 40 local locomotive drivers hired by the Chinese operator are paid Sh30,000 monthly while their Chinese counterparts take home Sh100,000.

“This wage disparity is unacceptable because the local drivers as just as qualified as the Chinese employees,” he says.

Mr Chumo also claims SGR local staff are not allowed to access one of the cafeterias.

Following reports of the alleged mistreatment published in a local daily, Kenya Railways (KR) management ordered its own investigation and gave the Chinese firm 72 hours to respond to the allegations.

“We have instructed the Standard Gauge Railway operator, China Road and Bridge Corporation, to submit a report within 72 hours for critical review against what is in the public domain,” the statement said

Mr Chumo has now called on Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to intervene in the matter.