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Taita Taveta iron mining firm workers go on strike

Iron ore mining site
Iron ore mining site in Taita Taveta County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

An iron ore trading company that was at the centre of a tax row with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has once again halted operations after its workers downed their tools demanding better pay and working environment.

Samruddha Resources Kenya Limited’s staff in Kishushe, Taita Taveta have been demonstrating at the company’s site since last Thursday, forcing local leaders to intervene.

The strike comes just days after the firm resumed mining operations following a two-month tax dispute with the KRA.

Senator Jones Mwaruma, MPs Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi) and Jones Mlolwa (Voi) held a meeting at Kishushe Hall Monday with the company directors, workers and residents in a bid to solve the stalemate.

The more 800 employees, who have gone on strike, accuse their employer of failing to address their grievances.

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“We have been working in an unsafe environment where we are not provided with gloves, safety boots and masks,” said workers’ representative Peter Njulu.

He claimed that the workers are ferried to the mining site in a lorry and demanded that the company provides a bus.

They also alleged harassment and demanded the sacking of some of their supervisors.

“There are no doctors at the site. When a worker gets injured they bear the cost of their treatment. The company must ensure that there is a doctor to attend to such cases,” he said while accusing the firm of low and delayed pay.

The company’s director Shivraj Jadhav agreed to provide an alternative means of transport to ferry the workers.

“We want to assure you that we will look into these complaints. We will ensure residents benefit fully from our operations including jobs and businesses,” he said.

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