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Go-slow by ferry workers causes heavy traffic jam

Some Kenya Ferry Services employees staged a go-slow paralysing ferry operations at the busy Likoni channel on Saturday.

The go-slow caused massive snarl-up as hundreds of passengers and motorists on either side of the 500-metre crossing channel were stranded.

Loading and off-loading of human and vehicular cargo from the three operating ferries – MV Kwale, Mv Harambee and MV Kilindini – took long on the island and at mainland ramps.

Hundreds of passengers and motorists were stranded for hours resulting into a massive traffic jam that snaked its way into Mombasa central business district.

“We have been here for more than one hour yet we have a very important meeting in Diani,” said John Njuguna, a motorist.

TOTAL FAILURES

Some of frustrated motorists demanded for a total overhaul of KFS management, saying it has failed to implement the much needed reforms at the channel that links Mombasa Island and South Coast.

“We urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to come personally and send the workers home including the managing director. They are total failures, “said Sheikh Abu Hamza.

The workers were protesting KFS management’s failure to implement the second phase of 17.5 per cent basic salary increments awarded to them by Industrial Court two years ago.

The Industrial Court awarded basic salary increments across the board and various allowances to 181 unionisable workers out of a total of KFS 290 employees in 2015.

The Dock Workers Union, ferry branch, sued their employer for failing to honour collective bargaining agreement signed between the management and their representatives.

HARDSHIP ALLOWANCES

The dispute involves basic salary increment, casual workers employment, outsourcing of services , public holidays overtime pay, and extraneous, house, leave travel, duty, and commuter/transport and hardship allowances.

The workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also complained that key private hospitals have refused to treat them and their families due to lack of remittance towards their medical insurance scheme.

“Some of our colleagues have been surcharged because of our employer’s failure to deduct money from their salaries to repay bank loans,” said an employee who did not want to be named.

But speaking to the Sunday Nation, KFS Public Communication Officer Aron Mutiso denied the claims by the disgruntled workers and attributed the crisis at the busy channel to an influx of commuters due to children going back to school.

“That is your own creation (the go slow). There is nothing like that. The long queue you are seeing is as a result of the back school rush and the holiday,” added Mr Mutiso.

Schools are expected re-open on Tuesday, May 2, for the second term this year.

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