Chinese firm ‘curing labour relations’ ills

Dinah Ondari @dinahondari

China Road and Bridges Construction Engineering, the company that runs the Standard Gauge Railway, has taken remedial measures to improve its labour relations which has been the subject of public uproar in the last few months.

The measures include withdrawal of a requirement that staff sign a secrecy agreement as well as reviewing the ratio of local to foreign employees.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet secretary Ukur Yattani yesterday told Senate committee on Labour and Social Welfare that the company had also been advised to consider a proposal by the government to increase staff leave days.

The CS said the ministry had advised the management to provide both maternity and paternity leave to eliminate inconveniences and adjust the number of leave days entitlement to 30 from seven.

“The company is organising for training of management and employees on labour laws, industrial and social relations, social security and industrial training which will commence on September 28,” he said.

Yattani, in his brief to the committee said while 90 per cent localisation had been achieved in departments such as cabin management and ticketing, locomotive driving is still being carried out mainly by the Chinese.

The committee indicted the SGR for failing to observe the gender requirement as well as representation of people with disabilities.

“Whereas the company states that it is an equal opportunity employer, it has 1,289 male employees against 346 female employees. There are no persons with disabilities,” commitee chair Johnson Sakaja said.

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