The giant Seafarers Union of Kenya (SUK) has now joined the Kenya Ships Contractors Association (KSCA) in demanding for the immediate rationalisation and implementation of common tariff to cater for all ship operators operating at the Port of Mombasa.
Suk leadership led by Chairman Mr Daudi Haji and Secretary General, Mr Steve Owaki said that there was major rip off in what those contracted as day job workers at the busy Port of Mombasa are getting as remuneration.
” We have seen the zeal, encouragement and support with which President Uhuru Kenyatta and his administration is giving towards utilising Blue Economy. We wish to see lives of all those engaged as seafarers at sea and on dry land benefit,” the duo said.
Day job workers otherwise known as dockworkers who work at the Port of Mombasa offering tallying services, lashing and unlashing, garbage collection , sludge (oil) removals and trimming of bulk cargo work in groups referred to as gang comprising 8 people earning a paltry sh 2500 per group on an eight hour shift.
” The earnings and salaries being brandied out are way too far below what other Port day workers earn in other Ports of the World and this should change immediately,” Owaki said.
Owaki said that $100 per hour should be what each gang is paid for work done.
In an earlier interview with The Standard in Mombasa, Kenya Ship Contractors Association (KSCA) chairman, Mr Richard Jefwa said that they had petitioned the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to intervene on the matter over low pay and harmonising salaries.
Jefwa said that CAK had accepted their application for exemption in respect to setting up tariffs and went ahead to notify the general public of the application by KSCA. ”Documents in our possession from CAK confirm that our application had been granted. CAK had resolved to implement as our requests were justified,” Jefwa said.
Last year, Maersk Shipping Line, an international ocean liner which also operates at the Port of Mombasa was accused of offering little pay for work done on its behalf following an online media expose’ by a Danish paper, Copenhagen Post.
The online post stated that the giant maritime firm has since pledged to investigate the matter. Following the online report, the Danish shipping giant Maersk attracted heavy criticism following revelations that one of its subcontractors at the port in Mombasa, Kenya is providing its dock workers with disgraceful conditions and pitiful wages.
The investigatory media outlet Danwatch uncovered that the employees of the subcontractor, which was not been named to protect the workers, undertake 24-hour shifts with a minimal number of breaks at just 2 kroner per hour (Sh31)– a rate well below the Kenyan hourly minimum wage of 7 kroner (Sh109).
Many also do not have safety equipment as they are forced to purchase it themselves, but many can’t afford to do so due to their pittance of a wage.
Danwatch interviewed 27 of the dock workers and several of them said they risked losing their jobs if they spoke to unioniser journalists.
Maersk has written to Danwatch to inform it that it has launched an investigation into the allegations. “We take the information very seriously. The company is encompassed in our Third Party Code of Conduct and will be part of our investigation.
Should we discover any breaches in our code of conduct, we will rectify it as swiftly as possible,” wrote Maersk according to Ekstra Bladet tabloid.