MOMBASA, Kenya, Jul 9 – A day after the Kenya National Shipping Line and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) signed a new shareholding agreement, a section of dock workers have come out to oppose the deal.
Dock Workers Union (DWU) Secretary General Simon Sang on Tuesday said they are moving to the Employment and Labour Relations Court on Thursday to stop the deal between Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) and MSC, saying that due process was not followed by the national government.
Speaking during a press conference in Mombasa, Sang said the union does not oppose the privatization of the port of Mombasa, but dock workers are against the illegal channel that was followed by the national government.
The deal signed between KNSL and MSC will allow the foreign entity to fully run the second container terminal (CT2) at the port of Mombasa, which dock workers have been opposing saying over 5,000 jobs will be lost.
“We want to tell the President that we are not opposing the privatization of the port to make it more efficient, but we are against the process that was followed without our input as dock workers. There was no public participation in the entire process,” said Sang.
He said dock workers will now follow a court process to try and stop the agreement.
Two Civil Society Organisations; the Muslim for Human Rights and The Katiba Institute, and several coast MPs will be supporting DWU in court, said Sang.
“On Thursday, it will be the beginning of a bigger battle that will ensure that the port does not go into private hands. The process of port privatization must be in conformity with constitution of Kenya. Those busy bodies inciting the President against us must know we are not going into the streets, but the issue will be addressed through a judicial process,” said Sang.
On Monday, during the launch of the Bandari Maritime Academy, DWU Chairperson Mohammed Sheria, said the union supports the privatization of the port of Mombasa.
However, Sang said that Sheria ceased being an official of the union on June 29 after boycotting three consecutive meetings.
“Sheria is not an official on DWU. Yesterday, during the President’s function he was not representing us. His sentiments of supporting privatization are not the official stance for the Union. As a matter of fact, he will completely be removed from union in the next AGM in September,” said Sang.
According to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the signing of the new shareholding agreement KNSL, Kenya Ports Authority and the MSC aims at restoring the state corporation into a world class shipping company.
“The shareholding agreement we have signed marks the beginning of our well thought out plan to transform the Kenya National Shipping Line into a world class shipping line, over the next ten years,” President Kenyatta announced on Monday.
He said MSC, the second largest shipping line in the world, which has been a strategic partner with the KNSL since 1997 will assist in re-engineering KNSL into a world class entity.