RVR workers reject six-month contracts

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) workers protest over pay. FILE Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG
Rift Valley Railways (RVR) workers protest over pay. FILE Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG  

More than 2,600 Rift Valley Railways (RVR) workers have rejected a six-month probation contract handed to them a week ago by the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC).

The employees comprising train attendants, security personnel, welders, engineers and drivers said they can only accept employment on permanent basis.

The workers, through their representative, said a probation contract was an indication that KRC is not ready to absorb them.

“We will not accept to be employed on a six-month probation contract because we have been working under permanent contracts. The court ruled that all RVR workers should be transferred to KRC,” said their representative who asked not to be named.

The KRC Managing Director Atanas Maina had issued the workers with short terms contracts saying he needs time to reorganise the organisation and make an assessment of the total manpower required before the employees can be engaged on long term .

In a statement, Mr Maina said the workers could not be transferred directly to KRC.

He further stated that all liabilities to suppliers, or any other party who have dealings with RVR will remain with RVR.

Mr Maina noted that concession contact provides that all employees liabilities at termination remained with the concessionaire and therefore, the workers could not be transferred to another party.

The KRC Managing Director said that RVR should have closed the contract with its employees in accordance with labour laws and it’s only after that that KRC could have awarded them contacts on terms to be approved by the government.

The move by former RVR workers to reject contracts come barely a week after Kenya terminated a 25-year contract it signed with RVR to run its century-old metre-gauge line to Uganda.