Kenyan Dock Workers Begin Go-Slow Over Privatization, Contract-Staff Terms

Unionized workers at the Kenyan port of Mombasa, East Africa’s biggest, began a partial strike today to demand the government confirm it won’t sell the facility to private investors.

Workers engaged in a so-called go-slow and may begin a full-scale strike in two days unless the government publishes a notice in the Government Gazette confirming that the privatization has been halted, Dock Workers Union Secretary- General Simon Sang said in a phone interview today from Mombasa. The labor union also wants 3,128 people who have worked at the port for the past three to 15 years to be made permanent staff, he said.

“We will go on strike unless they gazette the privatization process, or we have an agreement on the way forward,” Sang said.

Kenya is the world’s largest exporter of black tea. The port of Mombasa also serves as a conduit for goods imported and exported from countries including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

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