• The quarry employs more than 1,000 people.
• It was closed down by the Murang'a municipal over lack of toilets, safety walls and lack of uniforms for workers.
More than 1,000 quarry workers want the Murang’a county government to reopen the vast Kandundu quarry that was closed a week ago.
The Murang’a Municipal Public Health office closed the quarry over lack of toilets, safety walls and workers uniforms.
But the workers said the requirements had been fulfilled and they have been suffering since it is their only source of income.
The quarry supports more than 400 casual workers, 100 machine operators, over 100 food vendors, 30 mechanics, fuel vendors and quarry managers.
The county government, they told journalists, charges Sh1 for every piece of stone produced from the quarry. The quarry has a daily turnover of more than Sh300,000, they said.
The workers said the county’s timing is off considering many people are struggling to support themselves against the effects of Covid-19.
“Closing the quarry is aggravating the issue of unemployment. Kandundu area is dry and rocky and does not support agricultural activities,” resident Stephen Githaiga said.
They said public health workers rarely visit the quarry to advise them on safety measures.
But the municipal accused the workers of blatantly violating the Public Health Act, saying the operators ignore summons and flee whenever officers visit the quarry.
It accused workers of encroaching on a public road, piling quarry waste and dust into hills, failing to rehabilitate abandoned quarries, close proximity to residential areas and unsustainable portioning walls between each quarry.
The municipal also noted that the quarry has no first aid workers, lacks toilets and does not have sufficient water.
But the workers claimed that some quarries were compliant and accused the municipal of indiscriminate closure.
“This sector is vital and has a major positive impact on society and the economy,” Peter Nyamae, another worker, said.
They want the county government to give defaulters time to comply because they rely on loans to purchase their machinery and may end up going bankrupt.
Edited by A.N