Britain bans Kenyan trade unionists

This video from Kenya says about itself:

The Kenyan electrical trades and allied workers union has issued a 21 day strike notice over what it terms failure to review its members collective bargaining agreement for the year 2011-2012 and alleged unfair employment practices by employers of its members.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Prospect slams trade unionists’ visa refusal

Wednesday 30 May 2012

The Prospect union has slammed Theresa May‘s refusal to grant entry visas to two Kenyan trade unionists invited to attend the union’s national conference in Bournemouth last week.

General secretary Paul Noon has written to the Home Secretary strongly protesting at the Border Agency’s decision to deny entry to the guests from sister union Ketawu, Prospect said on Wednesday.

The letter came after 500 delegates unanimously carried an emergency motion expressing disgust at the decision.

Ketawu women’s president Agnes Githumbi and national chairman David Songok were perceived as at “risk of flight” because they did not have enough money in their bank accounts, according to the union.

Their appeal, supported by Prospect, was also rejected.

“Maybe if they had said that they were here to see the Olympics rather than declare themselves as trade unionists, they would have been let in,” Mr Noon suggested.

Four in 10 Kenyans live on less than 80p a day. Since neoliberal state policies and rapid urbanisation allow little scope for jobs in the formal sector, 79 per cent of the labour force must try to eke out a living in the informal economy: here.

11 thoughts on “Britain bans Kenyan trade unionists

  1. Kenyan teachers demand government release school spending funding

    The Kenyan National Union of Teachers has called on the government to release the $127 million school funding it is holding back. Currently, primary schools are facing a 20 percent shortfall in their spending allocation, while secondary schools have a 90 percent shortfall. According to the union, many head teachers have had to take out loans to finance their school’s activities.

    The union has threatened to strike if the money is not allocated by June 8.


  2. Medical staff in Kenya strike to defend colleague

    Medical staff represented by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPPDU) at the Gertrude Garden Children’s hospital in Nairobi went on strike at the weekend to demand the reinstatement of a colleague who was dismissed after becoming pregnant.
    Tensions had arisen at the hospital over the last six months after KMPPDU had attempted to get hospital management to agree its right to represent the 70 medical staff employed there. The hospital management has refused and following the declaration of strike action went to court to call for the arrest of union officials.


  3. Kenyan sugar plantation workers set to walk out

    Around 4,000 sugar plantation workers are set to strike at four Kenyan sugar companies on July 4. The Nzoia, Chemelil, Muhoroni and Sony sugar firms are scheduled to be affected by the scheduled action.

    The strike has been called by Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation Workers, who said that firms had failed to approve the report on job evaluation and a salary survey. Francis Wangara, the secretary general of the union said, “A job evaluation and salary survey undertaken last year recommended re-categorisation of jobs for our members”.

    Speaking to the Standard web site, Wangara said management had reneged on an agreement to review the salaries and implement changes by last month. He stated, “The recategorisation was supposed to start in May. The management of the sugar factories are now dismissing the report, yet they had representatives in the survey”.


  4. Kenyan teachers give notice to strike

    Teachers organised in the Kenya Union of Teachers will issue a seven-day notice of strike action following an upcoming National Executive Council meeting. They are demanding the government implement the proposals of the 1997 Teachers Service Remuneration Committee which had agreed teachers’ salaries would be reviewed every three years and allowances updated. They are also protesting a government plan to employ only a further 10,000 new teachers. The union says 40,000 are needed to meet the countrywide shortfall in teacher numbers.


  5. Pingback: Pesticides in Kenya kill birds | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Kenyan dockworkers threaten solidarity action in support of teachers

    Workers in the Dock Workers Union (DWU) this week gave seven days’ notice to the government to meet striking teachers’ demands. Otherwise they will come out in solidarity strike action.

    The government had been given an order by the Industrial Court ruling the teachers’ strike illegal. DWU general secretary Simon Sang noted, “If the government continues chest-thumping and misinterpreting what it means to declare a strike illegal, the rest of us will protest on behalf of the working fraternity.”


    Kenyan council staff strike

    Workers employed by Bungoma County Council went on strike Monday over salary arrears. They are owed Sh12 million (US$143,000) for July and August. A spokesman for the striking employees questioned why the council did not have the money to pay wages, noting it received Sh7 million (US$83,000) in revenues each week from markets and bus parks and had recently been given a Sh79 million (US$940,000) local authorities transfer fund payment.

    The council had offered to pay one month’s arrears, but this was rejected by the strikers, who demanded the full amount.


    Kenyan lecturers strike

    Around 11,000 lecturers and non-teaching staff at more than 30 universities throughout Kenya came out on strike at the end of last week.

    Represented by the Universities Academic Staff Union and the Universities Non-Teaching Staff Union, they are seeking a new four-year collective bargaining agreement to include a big increase in pay and allowances.


  7. In Kenya, the heirs of Jomo Kenyatta have long ago settled down to a bourgeois existence and are coming into conflict with the Kenyan working class, declaring that its struggles are illegal.

    Striking Kenyan public university lecturers and workers say no amount of intimidation or threats will make them go back to work until their demands are met.

    This follows a statement made by the Vice-Chancellors Committee of the Inter-Public University Councils Consultative (IPUCC) Forum warning them that their current strikes have no legal protection and those who will not resume duty will be sacked.

    The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) National Secretary General Muga K’olale however rubbished the claim. On Saturday, the Vice-Chancellors said the strike had been illegalised by the Industrial Court and they would, therefore, be free to sack anyone who failed to report to duty.

    The two University unions however have urged all its members to remain strong and not to be bullied by the threats.

    Dock workers have now threatened to down tools in solidarity with striking teachers if the government does not give in to their demands.

    Dock Workers Union general secretary Simon Sang said that an Industrial Court declaration that a strike is illegal does not necessarily mean that the concerned party should not go on strike.

    He said Article 41 of the constitution gives a worker the right to strike legally or illegally.

    ‘We give the government seven days to resolve the issue or else we mobilise all workers countrywide for solidarity support,’ said Sang.


  8. Strikes continue in Kenya

    The strike by teachers represented by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) which began on September 3 is set to continue.

    Government representatives snubbed a scheduled meeting between the unions and a parliamentary committee on Tuesday. Following the snub, KUPPET national chairman stated: “The government is not ready to talk and make sure that the strike is called off so that our students can go back to school. I therefore call upon all teachers to remain firm…”

    Doctors and nurses at the Moi Teaching and Referral hospital in Eldoret are continuing their strike action. They are seeking improved pay and conditions, also calling on the government to provide Sh1.3 billion ($15m) to adequately equip the hospital.

    The strike by more than 10,000 lecturers and non-teaching staff at more than 30 universities across Kenya has entered its third week. They are seeing a new four-year collective bargaining agreement. They defied a joint statement by university chancellors threatening them with sacking if they did not return to work last Monday. They instead held marches and rallies in Nairobi in support of their action.


  9. Kenyan workers strike Italian Space Agency

    On September 14, workers employed by the San Marco Italian Space Agency in Ngomeni, Kenya protested to demand a pay increase. More than 200 workers are involved in the dispute.

    The Union of Kenya Building and Construction said the workers’ salaries were last reviewed in 2010. The union said that a three years’ contract with workers ended on January 31, 2011. The agency then renewed the workers’ contract on February 1, without any salary increase.

    A shop steward at the agency, speaking anonymously to the daily Star newspaper said, “Currently, the lowest paid worker earns Sh17, 000 and the highest Sh98, 000. This is just peanuts.”


  10. Kenyan ferry workers protest

    Workers at Kenya Ferry Services are on a go-slow to protest management’s refusal to implement a pay agreement. They accuse Managing Director Musa Hassan of not honouring a collective bargaining agreement that promised annual pay increases, since he took over in 2010.

    On Monday they held a demonstration at the Likoni ferry terminal to press their demands and have threatened to strike if their demands are not met.



    Kenyan port workers win dispute

    Workers employed by the Kenya Ports Authority at Mombasa Port went on strike last Thursday over delays in making temporary workers permanent. Around 3000 were seeking permanent status.

    Following several hours of discussion between the KPA management and the Dock Workers Union on Saturday, the workers were issued with contracts establishing them as permanent, and they returned to work at the beginning of this week.

    Swaziland textile workers strike

    Around 300 workers at the spinning and yarn manufacturers Spintex in Matsapha downed tools and picketed their factory last week, in pursuit of a 12 percent pay increase. Management had offered just 3.5 percent.

    The workers are members of the Swaziland Manufacturing and Allied Workers Union. The Department of Labour intervened in an attempt to get talks going between management and the union.

    Failed attempt to end Nigerian Plateau State workers’ strike

    An attempt at mediation in the six-month strike of Plateau State government workers has failed.

    The workers are seeking implementation of the federal government N18, 000 (US$114) minimum wage.

    Plateau State elders, led by Air Vice Marshal Bitrus Atukum, had sought to mediate between the state government and the National Union of Local Government Employees to end the strike. However, the talks failed as the sides failed to agree on the amount to be paid to cover the loss of wages during the six-month stoppage.

    Ongoing strike in South Africa’s mines

    Miners at the Village Main Reef’s Buffelsfontein gold mine, near Klerksdorp, came out on strike Monday. The company is seeking a court order claiming the strike had not followed the procedures of the Labour Relations Act. It was not clear what the issues were.

    Around 12,000 striking miners employed by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in Rustenburg still have not returned to work. Amplats is in negotiations with the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers, the Solidarity union and a strikers’ committee.

    The company, however, has only proposed a R2000 (US$230) hardship allowance to get the striking miners to return. This has been rejected by the 12,000 strikers who are demanding an increase in pay.

    Miners working for AngloGold Ashanti at the Mponeng deep gold mine held a sit-in protest on Monday, just two days after they had resumed work following previous strike action.

    According to the company, the dispute was settled by Monday evening, but operations were suspended again on Tuesday to check out safety conditions and assets in the mine.

    South African farmworker’s strike

    Thousands of farm workers employed in the vineyards near the town of De Doorns went on strike Monday and marched to the town centre to protest. According to press reports some of the vineyards were set on fire.

    They are seeking a living wage of R150 ($17) a day but currently are paid only R63 ($7) a day. One worker told reporters, “We don’t like to see the bosses driving new double-cab bakkies (pick up trucks) and sending their kids to the best schools and then they come and tell us that ‘no, the harvest was bad this year we cannot pay you more.’ I have not personally burnt any vineyards down, but I know how people feel and I don’t blame them for taking things into their own hands.”

    Pat Marran, a local ward councillor, explained the action sprang from spontaneous meetings: “People have come together and said that enough is enough. There are no leaders; there is no organisation or union or political party pulling the strings. These issues have been at play for generations, people have been exploited in this area for decades. They have had enough and today they are making a point.”


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