- Led by Mumias Sugar Branch Workers Secretary Vitalis Magoha, the former workers said they were promised to be paid once the factory starts operating.
- “They are now purporting to have started running the factory and they have not paid workers. They claim to produce sugar which we cannot see,” Magoha said.
Former Mumias Sugar Company workers on Tuesday camped at the sugar miller premises demanding payment of their salary arrears.
The workers want Ugandan-based Sarrai Group to pay their dues claiming that it was part of the agreement while taking over the company.
Led by Mumias Sugar Branch Workers Secretary Vitalis Magoha, the former workers said they were promised to be paid once the factory starts operating.
“They are now purporting to have started running the factory and they have not paid workers. They claim to produce sugar which we cannot see,” Magoha said.
Magoha alleged that the company's plants are rotting and called on President William Ruto to intervene.
“We don’t have only a sugar factory in Mumias. There are ethanol, coal and water plants that are wasting away. Mr President, we are losing a lot of property.
“As you promised, please bring us a new investor to rescue this company,” he said.
The worker's accused Sarrai of not caring about workers who are currently working in the factory, claiming their payments are low and some of them have died in the line of duty due to poor working conditions.
“I used to work inside the factory as a loader being paid Ksh600 per day. Since Sarrai Group came, we were fired and when we went back, we were told they could only pay Ksh250 per day.
“Our jobs inside were taken by foreigners who are paid better than us. We are suffering,” a worker, Patrick Wanga, said.
Another worker Musa Chebii claimed the current workers neither have contracts nor insurance.
“Some of us who are working in the factory do not have contracts nor insurance coverage. Most of us have been injured in the line of duty and we were not given any compensation,” Chebii said.
The Star reached out to the Mumias Sugar company operations manager Stephen Kihama for comments on the accusations above but he did not pick our call.
The Star commits to give his side of the story once he responds
While in Kakamega County last December, President Ruto promised to get new investors to revive the troubled miller.
"The government will clear all outstanding debts of the miller and bring in a new investor under an agreement that he will be remitting Sh100 million monthly to the County Government of Kakamega to improve on standards of education, health and improve the road network," he said.
Sarrai controversially won a 20-year lease tender in December 2021 following a bidding process that saw higher bidders locked out of the investment venture.
The matter proceeded to court for months before Sarrai started carrying operations at the miller.
In April 2022, High Court ordered Sarrai to leave the premises and removed Ponangipali Venkata Ramana Rao as the Administrator of the company.
The court further appointed Kereto Marima as the new administrator of Mumias Sugar Company and ordered Rao to hand over the company to Marima.