Security guards want to strike over pay

June 21, 2012 2:40 pm
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He said that the union had agreed to shelve the strike action in March after the government pledged to engage them in dialogue which has never taken place/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21 – Private security guards have now issued a 14-day strike notice, following the failure of security firms to comply with an order increasing minimum wages.

Secretary General of the Kenya National Private Security Workers’ Union Isaac Andabwa announced on Wednesday that he had notified the government and employers of all unionisable security guards of the July 9 strike.

“This is the only language the government understands; we have tried severally (sic) to engage the Minister in dialogue but he never responds to our letters,” Andabwa told journalists.

He said that the union had agreed to shelve the strike action in March after the government pledged to engage them in dialogue which has never taken place.

“That time they told us to shelve the move and we complied but until now, there has been no communication from the minister’s office,” he said.

The union had written to Labour Minister John Munyes in a letter dated March 19, but they later shelved the move on advice from the minister’s office.

“The advice received from your office was that, the Labour Commissioner will send out a circular to the Labour officers in all counties to enforce the security order,” he said.

Andabwa said the union has since toured most parts of country and established that no action had been taken.

“Our recent visit to all counties and survey across the country has revealed that your officers have failed completely to implement the order and our members continue to suffer at your watch,” a letter addressed to the union dated June 21 read.

Most security companies have declined to comply with a provision of the protective security wages order which called for an increment of starting from 18 percent starting from 2009.

“It is disturbing to note that the circular which was supposed to instruct the officers in the field has not reached the officers on the ground,” the union said, adding “we are left with no alternative but revert to industrial action.”

Most private security guards are paid poorly, with some receiving as low as Sh2,000 per month.

“We will continue fighting for these guards, they are poorly paid. Most employers don’t care about them at all, the government is also not doing enough,” Andabwa said.

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