A strike by workers at Mombasa, East Africa’s biggest port, entered its second day over demands that the Kenyan government not sell the facility to private investors.
Workers prevented officials at the port from entering their offices, Dock Workers Union Secretary-General Simon Sang said in a phone interview today from Mombasa. Laborers began a so-called go-slow yesterday to demand the state publish a notice in the Government Gazette confirming that the sale of the port has been stopped.
“The strike is in full swing until they hear us,” Sang said.
The port of Mombasa handles shipments of black tea from Kenya, the world’s largest exporter, as well as trade from countries including Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. Kenya’s government announced in March it scrapped a plan to sell the port, after Transport Minister Amos Kimunya said in February that the country arranged a 26.5 billion-yen ($337.5 million) loan from Japan to help finance the sale.
Sang said the sale of the port may result in more than 4,000 workers losing their jobs. The labor union is also demanding that more than 3,000 workers who have been working as contractors for more than three years should be employed on a permanent basis, he said.