Port workers now demand Sh259 million in bonuses

KPA workers at the Port of Mombasa .photo file
KPA workers at the Port of Mombasa .photo file

Some 7,000 workers at the Mombasa port are yet to received over Sh200 million in performance bonuses for the 2016-17 fiscal year, workers’ leaders have said.

The Port Workers Welfare and Performance Group has now warned that the delay is causing increased anxiety and could affect the workers’ morale and output.

“We are concerned the delay might collide with next year’s financial budget, which might cause further confusion and panic among the employees,” PWWP officials in a joint statement on Friday said.

PWWP chairman Waweru Kamau, secretary Ali Khamis and organising secretary Peter Ouma said this is the first time the delay has happened and they have had to pacify the employees to avert any disruption of work.

The delay has caused a stir among the workers, whose hashed murmurs in the facility could negatively affect their productivity.

“How can we work when we are constantly worrying about the bonuses. Some of our colleagues now believe bonuses may have been scrapped off without us being informed,” one of the port workers who sought anonymity for fear of victimisation said..

Bonuses paid for performance is usually pegged on one’s monthly pay.

This means if one earns Sh40,000 a month, their performance bonus will be Sh40,000 at the end of the fiscal year.

The lowest permanent and pensionable employee at the port earns about Sh37,000.

This means the workers are demanding at least Sh259 million.

The delay has prompted Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku to issue an internal circular to assure employees their bonuses will be paid as soon as possible.

“The process for the release of the funds is at an advanced stage,” said Manduku in the circular.

The workers’ leaders have expressed support for Manduku, whose tenure at the helm of the port has coincided with the port’s best ever performance.

“We have had communication with the boss and he is making the requisite follow up on the pending performance bonus,” said the three officials.

They called for patience from the employees but urged the government to make the payment as soon as possible to avert a crisis.

Manduku, according to sources, is pushing for the release of the bonuses before the end of the current fiscal year.

He does not want to taint his image which has been massively boosted by the good performance of the port since his tenure began and the good rapport he has with the workers.

“Since Manduku was in acting capacity he has been performing overwhelmingly well compared to his predecessor,” the PWWP officials said.

The MD was appointed in an acting capacity and later confirmed to the position last year after the unceremonious ouster of his predecessor Catherine Mturi-Wairi.

When he took over, the port revenue averaged about Sh30 billion a month.

This improved to about Sh50 billion.

Throughput has improved to 4,367 TEUs.

“MV Katalamba recorded 82 moves at berth number 17. All this means congestion in the port has reduced by over 90 per cent,” the officials said.

They noted the ship turnaround has reduced from three days to less than a day.

“MS Ever Dynamic carried 1,117 containers and was discharged in less than seven hours,” the officials said.