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Kenya

RVR workers end strike

NAIROBI, July 15 – The strike by Rift Valley Railways (RVR) employees has been called off, ten days after the workers downed their tools to demand the payment of their June salaries.

Led by six of their representatives, the workers called off the industrial action after a successful consultative meeting with the RVR top management.

In a statement, the firm’s Managing Director Roy Puffett confirmed that an amicable solution had been reached by both parties, facilitating an unconditional return-to-work compromise.

"We have broken the standoff and the illegal strike has been called off following a meeting with the workers\’ representatives. Subsequently, all normal railway services including commuter and cargo trains will resume tomorrow (Wednesday) morning," Puffett said.

Before the strike had even begun, RVR had moved to stem a possible standoff precipitated by a delay in the dispatch of the workers’ June salaries, through formal dialogue.

The strike, however, was also intended to show unity with six employees who had received suspension letters, which they were disputing.

In a statement released to newsrooms on Tuesday morning, the company had stated that it would sack any employees involved in the strike, but whether or not this would be implemented following the fruitful talks is unclear.

"Management had earlier issued a notice dated July 11, 2008, to all staff, directing them to report to their places of work or risk getting summarily dismissed in accordance with the law," the earlier statement read.

RVR has now confirmed that all normal services including the urban commuter service on the Ruiru, Kahawa, Embakasi and Kikuyu routes would resume Wednesday morning. Upcountry passenger services to Mombasa would resume on Wednesday evening.

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Cargo freight operations on the mainline are already back on track.

The RVR boss reiterated that the firm would continue to foster dialogue with its staff members to ensure such action was not repeated.

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