OPPORTUNITIES OUTSOURCED

Dock workers union leaders clash again over KPA jobs

Chairman Sheria says 3,500 dock workers risk losing their livelihoods.

In Summary

• Sheria on Monday said secretary general Sang went against a plan by the DWU officials and their lawyers to sue the Kenya Ports Authority and six companies working at the port.

• Sang said Sheria and his team had targeted a company they had no grounds for suing.

DWU chairman Mohammed Sheria.
OFFENSIVE DWU chairman Mohammed Sheria.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI
DWU general secretary Simon Sang.
DEFENSIVE DWU general secretary Simon Sang.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

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The wrangles in the Dock Workers Union escalated on Monday, with chairman Mohammed Sheria accusing general secretary Simon Sang of protecting some companies outsourcing jobs.

Sheria on Monday said Sang went against a plan by the DWU officials and their lawyers to sue the Kenya Ports Authority and six companies working at the port.

“Dock workers sent us to Nairobi to institute a case against KPA for giving out our jobs, which threatens our livelihoods, to six companies that were to be included in the suit,” Sheria said.

He said the officials, including himself, union treasurer Joseph Makero and Sang had signed all the agreements with the lawyers to sue the six companies and KPA.

However, he said, things changed when they got back to Mombasa. The suit was not filed the following week as agreed but delayed for three weeks.

“In the suit, we noticed only two companies had been sued out of the six. This is after Sang secretly went back to the lawyers to alter our instructions,” Sheria said.

However, Sang said that four companies were sued, not two as Sheria claimed. Sang said Sheria and his team had targeted a company they had no grounds for suing.

“These guys are insisting that we must have this company in the suit, but the company is operating outside the port just like other companies are including the oil companies,” Sang said.

He said KPA should only be explaining how they gave out jobs to companies working inside the port and not outside it.

Sheria said the six companies are threatening the livelihoods of more than 3,500 workers whose jobs are being outsourced.

There are about 7,000 workers at the Mombasa port, about which 4,500 are union members.

Sang said Sheria’s ‘rebel faction’ is bitter with him because his daughter was once employed at one of the firms they want sued.

“Now they think I am protecting the firm. I am only protecting workers at the port and nobody else,” Sang said.

Sheria said they are fighting to have the contracts of the six companies revoked to protect the jobs of the dock workers.

“We have noticed that for the last four years, there has been no recruitment at KPA. This is because the jobs that are supposed to be done by those to be recruited have been issued out to private firms,” said the chairman.

He, however, said the other four firms are not safe. The union will still sue them.

“We know why he left these four out. He is being sponsored here and there by some of them while his children were employed in one of them,” Sheria said.

He said some of the companies left out of the suit have roots in Rift Valley while those sued have roots at the Coast.

But Sang said Sheria and his group want to play the ethnicity card to spoil his reputation.