Dock workers threaten to sue employer over their safety
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is dickering with safety standards of the dock workers, and the battle may end in the corridors of justice as the Dock Workers Union threaten to pursue a law suit.
Simon Sang the secretary of the dock workers union hinted at challenging the alleged privatisation of shed number 7/8 through Mercanrile Cargo Terminal Operations Limited which he approximates has led to loss of 600 jobs. Consequently, putting the lives of the workers at risk.
The dock workers union are also inviting the attention of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in the matter.
That, even after his resignation as the ports boss, the immediate former Managing Director of KPA, Dr Daniel Manduku, and the echoes of shoddy deals he engaged in during his reign.
Particularly, the privatisation of labour and transfer of port facilities to private hands.
“We are of the opinion that the two officers in KPA are supposed to answer questions with EACC concerning the transfer of core-business to private hands…,” a statement from the union reads.
There are also some “illegal structure currently under construction inside shed/berth number 7/8.”
On the spotlight for alleged particular misdeed, the dock workers union say, are three port officers: the acting managing director of KPA, the head of legal division – who signed the transfer of the service, and head of civil engineering and the head of safety.
Personally or collectively, they want the officers mentioned “be made to carry the cross.”
Mechanical failures of the machines at the Berth No 7/8 on Friday evening resulted in death of two employees, injuring six others in the wake of the accident. The deceased were crushed in a machine as they handled fertilisers.
James Mwangi Gathedo, 44 and Vikash Singh, 35, perished when the silo at their workstation collapsed, crushing them to death.
The two, an engineer and his assistant were installing a hopper machine for discharge and storage of fertilisers were Portside Freight Terminals, when the accident occurred at around 5pm. Their lifeless bodies or what remained of them, were transferred to Pandya Mortuary awaiting postmortem.
The others who survived the evening incident were in critical conditions. And, were admitted to Coast General Hospital teaching and Referral Hospital.
Hassan Munyaka, 30, Keya Buria, 25, Rebecca Maraga, 28, Morris Oluoch 27, Laik Ahmed 25 and Bibi Rahma, 27, survived.
Confirming the incident, KPA managing director Rashid Salim said, the engineer from the private firm were installing the fertiliser bagging equipment at the time of the accident.
That accident, the workers through the secretary general claim, was man-made, and the impending one is likely to take the same fashion as a result of non-compliance with the ISO certification standards. “The fatal accidents could be arrested of these standards are with.”
In a statement the dock workers union said: “The construction of additional structures on Shed No 7/8 is 99 per cent likely to collapse anytime,” the statement reads. “This again is the responsibility of KPA civil engineering and safety management.”