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November 21, 2018

Kenya Railways denies Kiraithe claims of secret code for SGR workers

Workers make Standard Gauge Railway reinforcement structures using steel at the Kathekani site, May 1, 2015. /ANDREW KASUKU
Workers make Standard Gauge Railway reinforcement structures using steel at the Kathekani site, May 1, 2015. /ANDREW KASUKU

Kenya Railways has refuted claims that SGR workers signed a secret code that restricts them from posting pictures and videos on social media.

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe alluded to this during a press briefing on Wednesday, while responding to reports of mistreatment of Kenyan workers by their Chinese counterparts.

"Are we gagging staff so that they don't post son social media? Unfortunately, yes. I have been a manager of public and private affairs; if you are in an organisation that you are giving bad publicity, your place is outside that organisation," Kiraithe said.

It was said that the binding document forbids the employees from sharing any pictures or videos taken at work with media outlets.

In a statement on Thursday, however, Kenya Railways chairman Michael Waweru said the claims were false.

Waweru announced the formation of an ad-hoc board committee to spearhead the resolution of staff grievances and matters concerning passenger and freight services.

The team is expected to submit a report in three weeks time on the findings and the way forward.

Members will also investigate wildlife conservation concerns, a process that will see the appointment of an independent auditor.

"Upon conclusion of investigations, action will be taken based on the findings and recommendations of the committee," he said.

Regarding the mistreatment, Kiraithe said Kenyans must gather the courage to tackle issues to do with work ethic.

The spokesman noted that the government is at hand to protect the rights and dignity of every Kenyan citizen but added that workers have to learn how things are done instead of complaining in the media.

"I am not saying any worker should be discriminated and humiliated but we must all appreciate that the operations of a modern train is a profession that calls for military standard discipline," he said.

More on this: Your work ethic is to blame, Kiraithe tells SGR workers on mistreatment claims

Also read: More wildlife is lost on roads than SGR - Kiraithe

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