About 3,000 employees of Bidco Oil Refineries in Thika went on strike yesterday paralysing operations at the leading edible oil processing factory.
The workers held a demonstration within the company premises protesting poor working conditions, harassment by senior managers and inadequate wages. They also claimed that there were plans to retrench hundreds of workers in a cost-cutting measure.
They demanded that casuals, most of who have worked for more than ten years, be hired on permanent basis and compensated for the years of service. “It is shameful that workers here get as little as Sh1,500 a month, yet this is one of the biggest companies in the East African region,” said a representative Chris Otieno.
They also said the management has blocked their attempts to join a union and accused the Thika labour office of colluding with the employer to deny them their rights. Waving placards and chanting anti-management slogans, the employees marched to the administration offices demanding the removal of three senior managers they claimed were oppressive.