Kenya: Govt. agency probes allegations of racism against China Road & Bridge Corporation against local staff
Kenya Railways has given China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), the Chinese operator of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), 72 hours to respond to claims of mistreatment of local staff. The directive follows media reports of mistreatment of local staff by the Chinese firm.
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Railway workers union allege China Road & Bridge Corporation refused to discuss complaints of racial discrimination
Author: Charles Wasonga, Daily Nation (Kenya)
“Workers union boss wades into SGR mistreatment claims”
Railway and Allied Workers Union (RAWU) says it has been trying to file a complaint with China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) over alleged mistreatment of local workers. RAWU secretary general John Chumo...says he has been receiving complaints from local staff over various acts of racial discrimination against them…“Yes, I have received many complaints from local staff especially the locomotive drivers who said they have been facing discrimination from the management of SGR. But when I called the human resource manager he dismissed the claims as not true,” says Mr Chumo.
Mr Chumo claims 40 local locomotive drivers hired by the Chinese operator are paid Sh30,000 monthly while their Chinese counterparts take home Sh100,000. “This wage disparity is unacceptable because the local drivers as just as qualified as the Chinese employees,” he says.
Author: Paul Wafula, Standard Digital (Kenya)
“Exclusive: Behind the SGR walls”
The Standard Gauge Railway has made the journey from Kenya's Capital Nairobi to the port City of Mombasa easier. The tugging of the locomotive engine cutting across the Tsavo wilderness to finally descend towards the Indian Ocean is a thing to marvel at. The coaches are almost always spotless, smiling staff willing you on board. To an outsider, the Chinese crew on board cuts the image of a humble servant, ready to please. They will hardly say a word whenever top government officials convene press conferences in their presence to celebrate another of their milestones. Investigations by The Sunday Standard have found a huge contrast between what happens when in public glare and what really goes on beneath the shiny surface when the Chinese- masters of the SGR- retire to their apartments and restaurant. Interviews with many of those working within the trains reveal that there exists an unwritten rule on the things that Kenyans can share with their Chinese masters.
For a start, they do not share tables at their staff restaurant. Though, it is not printed in black and white, Chinese staff would never sit on the same table with Kenyans and Kenyans are not expected to join their tables either. “Racism is so real here. There is an unwritten rule of where you need to sit. You cannot just join the Chinese table,” an assistant locomotive driver said. He said that this divide runs to the staff vans as well where even if it only one Chinese on board, Kenyans will not use them when time for drop offs come. “You cannot board a van that drops us in the evening even if there's only one Chinese on board. You will have to wait,” he said.
More excesses are allowed on the freight trains where there is little visibility. Chinese staff are allowed excesses such as smoking while in the locomotive and use of mobile phones, crimes that will get their Kenyan counterparts fired.
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Author: Eunice Murathe, Daily Nation (Kenya)
"Chinese firm on the spot over 'mistreament' of locals"
Kenya Railways (KR) has given the Chinese operator of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) 72 hours to respond to claims of mistreatment of local staff. KR wants China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) to file a report on the alleged mistreatment. In a press statement, the corporation said it will also conduct its own investigation. “Kenya Railways has launched investigations into alleged incidents of mistreatment of local staff employed to facilitate operations at the SGR being undertaken by CRBC under an operations & maintenance services contract entered into by the parties in May, 2017,” KR said. “We have instructed the Standard Gauge Railway operator, China Road and Bridge Corporation, to submit a report within 72 hours for critical review against what is in the public domain,” the statement said.
The directive follows media reports of mistreatment of local staff by the Chinese firm. “We have also deployed our human resources team to engage with the local staff to independently establish the authenticity of these allegations.” Kenya Railways said the reports have elicited strong emotions from the public. "The outrage, anger and disappointment expressed is understandable and we share the same sentiments. This unethical conduct, if found to be authentic, is completely unacceptable,” KR said.