Standard Gauge Railway workers go on a go slow over poor pay

Last month, two workers died and five others seriously injured after a section of Standard Gauge Railway bridge caved in.

The employees on Friday staged a protest at the Satellite section in Mai Mahiu, saying they will only resume work after their grievances are fully addressed.

According to one of them who sought anonymity for fear of being victimised, workers at the site have been getting Sh25,000 ($250) per month as opposed to Sh35,000 ($350) paid to their colleagues in other sections.

“There is a huge disparity in payment yet we are doing the same work. This is not acceptable. We will only resume work after our grievances are fully addressed,” he said.

As a result of the go-slow, ongoing construction of the 120-kilometre Nairobi-Naivasha phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) at a cost of Sh150 billion has been suspended.

Last month, two workers died and five others seriously injured after a section of Standard Gauge Railway bridge caved in.

However, according to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) spokesman Steve Zhao, workers are paid salaries based on their skills and position in the company.

Mr Zhao said that CCCC will continue to adhere to labour laws as they seek to offer their employees better working conditions.

“CCCC has since the start of the construction of the standard gauge railway ensured that we adhere with the Kenyan labour laws and have spared no effort to ensure that we offer our staff the best possible working conditions.”

He added CCCC will continue engaging the workers in open discussion in a bid to resolve the stalemate.

“On the issue of staff remuneration, this varies depending on the skill level and position in the company. Nonetheless, we are looking into the claims that there is a disparity in remuneration from one sub-section to the other,” said Mr Zhao.

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