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Kenyan SGR workers finally handed contracts

More than 300 Kenyans hired by the Chinese operator of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger train have finally been issued with one-year renewable contracts, reducing the possibility of industrial action by the workers.

The staff, including welders, coach attendants and ticketing operators, have been working without a contract from April after the expiry of their probation period that started in October.

The workers had in July complained about the contract issues and warned that they would down their tools.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) hired the locals alongside Chinese workers as security personnel, train drivers and wagon technicians.

The Business Daily saw a contract for a welder.

“Your salary will be paid monthly on the basis of Sh84 per hour. Holidays, vacations, time offs and other related benefits will be in accordance with the company policy as explained by your supervisor.

TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT

“The salary and benefits may change from time to time without affecting the other terms of your employment,” read a section of the contract.

Kenya Railways and CRBC in May signed an operations, maintenance and service agreement for the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR operation.

The deal which was signed in June to run for a period of 10 years will see CRBC maintaining the equipment and rail tracks according to prescribed manuals and in line with best global industry standards.

The Chinese firm is also expected to hire 1,000 Kenyans in various positions, who will eventually take over the operations of SGR after the expiry of the Kenya Railways-CRBC deal.

The 472 km SGR railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi is Kenya’s largest single infrastructure project since independence.

Constructed at a cost of Sh327 billion, it is co-financed through commercial and semi-concessional loans from China and the Government of Kenya.