Home NEWS County News MAWASCO employee injured after police lob teargas to disperse protesters

MAWASCO employee injured after police lob teargas to disperse protesters

One employee of the Malindi Water and Sewerage Company (MAWASCO) was injured Thursday after a police officer fired a teargas canister on his leg during a workers’ strike to demand better terms of service.

Majali Katana was rushed to hospital on a motorcycle as the police officers dispersed the other workers, who had gathered at the company’s main gate and were chanting slogans while singing.

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The about 250 workers blocked the main entrance to the company’s offices in Malindi town using trucks and gathered outside the compound, demanding to be addressed by the company management

Those who spoke to journalists said they were demanding salary increments promised by the management seven years ago, noting that most of them could not make ends meet due to the current economic woes in the country.

They also protested at an alleged failure by the management to remit monies deducted from their salaries in respect of bank and cooperative society loans and medical insurance among others.

Trouble started when Kilifi County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Water and Sanitation Omar Said arrived with police officers and attempted to address the striking workers.

The workers engaged the CECM in a shouting match, prompting the officers to disperse them by firing live bullets in the air and lobbing teargas canisters that formed a huge cloud of smoke that also affected workers at the adjacent Malindi Deputy County Commissioner’s office.

Katana told journalists before being rushed to the hospital that the workers were peacefully exercising their constitutional rights to demand better remuneration and wondered why the management involved police officers to hurt them.

Moses Mwandoro said the management promised to increase their salaries seven years ago but this had not been done, noting that they only received a Ksh 2,000 increment on house allowance and not the basic salary as promised.

“The junior most worker here receives a monthly salary of a paltry Sh14,000 as if they are working as domestic workers making many of them to be unable to cater for basic needs.

David Garama Ngowa called on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the issue failure by the management to remit statutory deductions, loan, cooperative and insurance deductions.

Contacted for comment, CECM Omar Said told reporters that he was yet to understand why the workers had downed their tools.

“I tried to talk to them but they refused; hence I really do not know what has made them to go on strike. I am told that one of the issues is that they want certain managers to be sacked, but there are procedures for firing workers,” he said.

On the issue of salary increment, Said said this was subject to the availability of funds and could not be implemented at the whims of the workers.

The CECM could neither deny nor confirm the issue of salary deductions not remitted to relevant organizations, saying he would investigate to unearth the truth before taking any action.

He said workers who had broken the law during the strike would be dealt with in accordance with the law.


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