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Senators want SGR workers' secrecy oath revoked

Kenya Railways and China Road and Bridge Corporation have been directed to nullify the secrecy oath administered to the Standard Gauge Railway employees.

The Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee chaired by Johnson Sakaja asked KR Managing Director Atanas Maina and Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani to explain the circumstances under which it was administered.

Maina’s statement contradicted Yattani’s when they appeared before the committee, raising suspicion.

The CS said most of the claims raised had been ascertained to be true. He cited the case in which Kenyan employees have no transport allowance while their Chinese counterparts are given.

However, the MD failed to explain the contractual agreements between the Chinese firm and the government, the status of operations, the transfer of skills and the law governing the implementation of the project.

Neither could he explain claims of racism, violation of rights and freedoms, terms and conditions of Chinese employees as well as Kenyan staff and the role of Kenya Railways in the management of the SGR.

Related: Your work ethic is to blame, Kiraithe tells SGR workers on mistreatment claims

The legislators accused KR of taking issues raised by Kenyans lightly.

They said it is a shame that Kenya Railways could not articulate issues well, but rather chose to table a report that looks more of consultative.

Senators, however, commended Yattani for going out of his way to verify issues on the ground.

See: Senate summons Kenya Railways, labour CS over alleged mistreatment of SGR employees

After the expose, the Chinese firm forced employees to take an oath not to reveal whatever is happening at the company.

But senators said the oath is unconstitutional and a violation of fundamental human rights.

“We are instructing you Bwana [Mr] CS that CRBC must issue a formal notice to all employees nullifying the secrecy agreement with immediate effect. This is unconstitutional,” Sakaja said.

He said the company through Kenya Railways must table a breakdown indicating all categories of Kenyan employees and their Chinese counterparts.

“It is very shameful that migrants have taken over roles that can be done by Kenyans. Why should a Chinese usher in people getting onto the train? The agreement was that they only be in charge of technical operations as we await for the transition,” he said.

He added, “The principal aim of SGR is to create employment for Kenyans. We are already servicing a loan and we did not create employment for Chinese migrants.”

Sakaja said the committee will tour the SGR and visit all the stations to get a clear picture.

He,however, said if it is ascertained that the company misled the committee by giving false information, criminal charges will be filed against them.

Read: Atwoli demands deployment of SGR workers after expose’ on ‘mistreatment’

Also read:SGR operator CRBC denies mistreating Kenyans

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