Union Organising In Kenya – Support ITF Affiliate

The International Transport Federation are requesting support in a serious dispute concerning their affiliate the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers’ Union and Agility Logistics.

The company says it will recognise the union in Kenya if it gains 50%+1 of the workforce. However at local management level seem to be determined to ensure the union does not reach this level.

An ITF Monitoring Team, has been sent to Kenya and have noted a planned and concerted attack on union organising.

The local company management has so far:

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Pressured workers to resign from the union
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Ended contracts of casual workers who join the union
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Penalised union activists with short notice transfers
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Initiated company loyalty pledges
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Interfered with union recruitment efforts
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Blamed the union for the delayed payment of wages
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Placed armed police in the cabs next to drivers against possible strike action
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Used the police to bar workers from the workplace

On 1st April, the ITF Team met with the top management of Agility Kenya, led by its CEO, Ali Saibaba Kola who was accompanied by his HR, transport operations and finance managers. Regrettably, however, the ITF’s offer to assist developing productive industrial relations which did not involve both parties becoming embroiled in a series of court cases was not taken up, and a constructive way forward was not found.

They insisted that the union must reach the threshold of recruiting 50%+1 of the employees as prescribed in Kenyan labour law.

It is clear that as the union is getting close to the 50%+1 mark, the company is becoming more desperate in their attempts to prevent this level being reached.

Recent reports say that truck drivers in Kenya working for Agility global integrated logistics were beaten, abducted at gunpoint and forced to drive their trucks to a company workshop. One driver stated: ‚ÄúI knew they wanted us dead‚ÄĚ.

This police brutality follows protests by some 80 Kenyan truckers forced to work shifts of up to 24 hours in Maungu, near Voi and Mai Mahiu. The truckers’ strike action has paralysed Kenya‚Äôs northern corridor. All they want is for Agility to recognise their union and treat them with respect.

ITF affiliates (including Unite in the UK) are supporting the campaign and was part of the ITF team who visited Kenya. Belgian ITF affiliate BTB is sending a delegation to Kenya during the last week of April.

Please support the ITF and the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers’ Union and the workers in Agility, as they seek to establish union recognition, collective bargaining and decent working conditions in the industry.

Join the LabourStart campaign by clicking here and send your protest messages to the management.

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