Cash-strapped Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) has fired more than 80 workers from its Athi River-based production plant for allegedly participating in a work go-slow for the last two days.
The workers were issued with interdiction letters on Wednesday and blocked from accessing the company by a contingent of armed police officers.
The company’s management gave stern instructions to its security team not to allow any of the interdicted workers into the premised.
After three weeks of not operating, the first batch of 120 cows arrived at the factory on Monday for slaughter.
However, the workers went on a go-slow, to the chagrin of the management.
The protesting staffers have since camped at the firm’s entrance demanding to be allowed back so as to resume their duties.
A letter from KMC written to the individual workers and signed by its managing commissioner James Ole Serian dated November 27, 2018 stated they had been dismissed due to misconduct.
The letter’s reference is “Interdiction Pending Investigations into Gross Misconduct.”
“It has been noted by the commission that you have engaged in the following actions and or omissions, which are offences that contribute to Gross Misconduct as prescribed in Clause 14.4.19 of the Kenya Meat Commission Human Resource Policy, Regulations and Procedures Manual as well as Clause 17 (a) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement…”
The workers, however, said they were being victimised for agitating for their rights.
The lot said they had downed tools since Monday demanding answers on their gratuity, pay increment, and Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“We are being victimised for demanding our rights. We have been suffering for years since the company was revived in 2006. We demand that Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri intervenes,” said Wyclife Kibet, a sacked worker.
“Production workers at KMC are paid as low as Sh11,922 for those in Grades 9 and 10,” said spokesperson Fredrick Mwangangi.
The company’s new managing commissioner James Ole Serian said the workers had shown gross misconduct, forcing the management to act.
Ole Serian said the company operations were at 30 percent.
“The company has been struggling to meet the market demand and cannot tolerate indisciplined workers. We are hopeful the teething financial challenges shall be addressed by the mother ministry. Livestock supply is resuming gradually’’ said Serian.
On Tuesday, 40 cows were slaughtered with 80 cows remaining on holding docks waiting to be slaughtered.