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Economy

Pay dispute cripples Nairobi train services

Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Nairobi commuter rail service has remained paralysed since last Wednesday following workers’ protests over reduced salaries and job contracts.

This is after the October termination of Rift Valley Railway’s (RVR) deal as operator on the Kenyan line.

The employees, comprising train attendants, welders, engineers, security personnel and drivers, downed their tools on Wednesday morning over revised employment terms.

The cheap commuter train that plies the Dandora, Ruiru, Umoja, Makadara, Imara Daima, Embakasi, Kibera, Kikuyu and Syokimau routes has been halted, forcing residents to the more costly matatu services.

The employees, who are yet to receive their September and October pay, were  on Tuesday offered six-month contracts and had their pay reduced by more than 20 per cent by the new employer—Kenya Railways Corporation, sparking the protests.

The workers were absorbed by Kenya Railways after the government terminated the 25-year contract it had signed with RVR to run its century-old metre-gauge line to Uganda. RVR had about 2, 600 employees.

Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina said workers not keen on the new contracts have the option of quitting, pointing to a protracted dispute.

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