, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 2 – Disgruntled Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) workers on Friday defied an order by the government to resume work.
Speaking at the KBC premises, the workers said that they would not be cowed by threats and intimidation by their employer.
In a statement read by staff member Nicholas Omondi, they appealed to both the president and prime minister to intervene on their behalf and restore order to the State broadcaster.
“The strike is not only legal but constitutional and anchored on Article 41 of the Constitution 2010. The management in earnest started intimidation of the workers they conceived as ring leaders,” the statement said.
They further said they would present a petition in court under a certificate of urgency by Monday to protest against their unlawful dismissal.
“We have consulted with lawyers to prepare constitutional petitions to be filed latest by Monday to stop the ministry from illegally and unprocedurally terminating the services of young Kenyans.”
Other workers also voiced their dissatisfaction with the way the government was handling their grievances.
They said that it was within their constitutional rights to use industrial action to demand their rights.
“We have decided that we are not going anywhere. This strike is on. It has just started and the minister should be told that this is not somebody’s kiosk. It is a public place,” said one staff member who requested anonymity.
They further pointed out that the spirit of the constitution was not being upheld following threats of sacking.
“If you ask me, I thought that this country is governed by law. The law that governs this land is supposed to be upheld. The last time I watched proceedings on Parliament, the assistant minister promised that nobody was going to be intimidated,” another worker said.
Earlier on, the KBC staffers were ordered to resume work by 2pm on Friday or face the sack.
Information Minister Samuel Poghisio said the strike was illegal and asked the management to immediately advertise positions of those who failed to show up at Broadcasting House at the designated time.
He said he would only engage the workers in dialogue once they resumed work, since they did not follow proper procedure in calling the strike.
Poghisio further ordered restructuring of the State Corporation to trim the bloated workforce.
He also asked the Public Service Commission to step in and weed out workers with bogus qualifications.
He said all employment contracts had been cancelled and everyone hired on such terms would be required to re-apply afresh for the positions.
News operations at the State broadcaster have remained crippled for the past three days after the employees boycotted work.