Explosive: New SGR staff and contract scandal

Part 1: SGR’s new contract scandal

There’s a new scandal at the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR).

The white elephant project; has a new trick on its sleeve further oppressing its Kenyan staff.

Staff who spoke to on condition of anonymity said their contracts is being reviewed so as to halved their salaries.

“How are you sir, hope you safe? There is something I want you to expose sir, we are being forced by our employer, Africa Star (Afristar), Chinese company operating the SGR, to sign a new contract while we still have an existing one which is supposed to end in 15/9/2020. The issue is they have reduced some of the allowances like house allowance from 10k to 5k, others to even 3k, the transport allowance from 5k to 3k others to even 2k”, he wrote

The problem is that the same doesn’t apply to Chinese staff as most of them are still at work for the freight trains.

When the other (Kenyan) staff asked if they can come back to work, they were told that they will infect their Chinese counterparts with Coronavirus.

“Since 20th march 2020,we have been out of work while all the Chinese and some few Kenyans were left to operate the freight train. When we questioned the management why they forced us in annual leave and there after failed to call us back, the answer we got was, “IF YOU RESUME WORK, YOU WILL INFECT THE CHINESE WITH CORONA VIRUS, SO STAY AT HOME”.

Most of the Kenyan employees who are now ‘used’ to being mistreated because the government doesn’t care, are now afraid.

Africa Star management has decided to lay off those that have refused to sign for salary reduction.

‘We are still at home and the have even decided to lay off those that won’t sign the contract. We beg you, sir, kindly help us expose these guys, they are becoming too much. Thank you”, he concluded has got hold of the evidence, the documents, attached at the end of this article

This is the whole report for what’s going on the ground. The media has been lying. See part 2

Part Two: SGR Workers go without pay despite business boom

Africa star railway company a subsidiary of China road and bridge corp. [CRBC} is the operator of the Mombasa-Nairobi (M-N) SGR rail and recently the Nairobi-Naivasha line. CRBC is the contractor and initial operator of the line. The company led by the GM Mr. Li Jiuping 李久平 has been under much deserved scrutiny thanks to its management. Mr. Jiuping 李久平 can be likened to an ‘economic terrorist’ thanks to his system of leadership which is majorly based on; racism, subjectivism, intimidation, exploitation, trickery , ensnaring and manipulation of employees.

Drafting andenforcing inhuman, impractical policies and regulations (attached) imposed by the
immediate former HR currently incharge of legal matters Mr. Wang aka Navy aka Leon. Mr. Jiuping 李久平 is well known for his a vast appetite for media attention just like the actual terrorists, he would pay anything to be the subject of discussion in the media. This explains why he recently hired a K24 presenter as a manager incharge of PR and propaganda. (attached)

Mr. Jiuping 李久平 is assisted in leadership by a ‘cabinet’ of DGMs namely He Fuhan 何福 Zhang Weijun 张卫军,Huang Qingan 黄卿安, Lu Hong 鲁洪,Duan Xianmeng 段先猛,Chen Tianpeng 陈天鹏, Jiang Wanjun 蔣万军,Zhang Aijun 张爱 军 and a Kenyan who was hired recently. These can be likened to a brood of vipers who have mastered the art of washing their cups from outside. They continue to cheer and applaud the emperor complementing his purple robes despite the fact that the emperor is naked.

While the world went on lockdown SGR employees where technically tricked into a

Late march before the president imposed a cessation of movement and passenger services could be halted Afristar had already send employees home on leave to avoid infecting the Chinese with corona virus. On April 1st an official notice [131-2020] (attached) was released issuing new remuneration measures and canceling the previous one [19-2019] (attached) It stated that after depletion of annual leave days, employees would be paid their basic salary and housing allowance only, all other allowances would be halted for as long as long as the pandemic keeps them out of work.

The employees were comfortable with the adjustments owing to the global pandemic the world is currently under. Fast forward to the 22nd May the management came up with a new notice. This time round a dreaded malicious one. Notice 211.(attached) This notice further altered the remuneration measures this time stating that after depletion of annual leave employees would receive only 50%, then 30% of their basic salary respectively for the following two months and on the third month it would become unpaid leave for
as long as the pandemic keeps them out of work.

On this same notice SGR employees were expected to sign a new contract (while still their existing contract wasn’t terminated) the new contract had reviewed terms including reviewed salary structure; basic salary was reduced, housing allowance was reduced and transport allowance was also reduced, the sum of the deductions was then re-introduced into their salary this time round as ‘performance pay bonus.’ [literary part of your salary was taken away and brought back as a bonus token, which to receive would depend on how much you lick your boss]

The new contract also stated clearly that it would be effective as from 22nd May {fast forward the employees have not been paid their salaries for the Month of May a week into June, this is because the company calculated its payroll with the reviewed terms before employees could set their eyes on the actual document.} The company finds itself in a compromising situation on account of the illegalities surrounding their imposed new contract which employees have not signed except for a small number of staff the company is holding in the stations who signed as a result of intimidation. (those still held in the stations have been paid, salaries for May.)

Analyzing the situation on the ground: cargo operations at the SGR have been going on uninterrupted with new developments such as completion and commissioning of the (GBHL) Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd silos near the Afristar head office, furthermore KRA and infrastructure ministry commissioned the Naivasha ICD for transit cargo both of which have boosted freight volume hauled by the SGR line.

Over the same period the passenger operations have been halted {a service the company made employees believe has been making losses} Issues arising is that the employer used a tactical method “lock out” to compel and ensnare employees into a new exploitative contract

At the moment in the employer has randomly picked employees from some work areas to resume work; on condition that they sign and submit the new contract. The move to push Kenyans into a ill intent contract is questionable and can be described as selfish, malicious, ill timed, inconsiderate and lacks empathy. It only serves to explain to Kenyans why Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has been unable to put in public the initial contract between them and CRBC for the construction of the project. Recently the solicitor general Kennedy Ogeto tried to have it reviewed but KRC managing director Mr. Mainga claimed that his hands were tied. Late last  year our president promised Mark Masai of KTN that he would put the contract in the public domain, it remains a dream half a year later. These Chinese contracts are signed behind closed doors and their impact is later felt by innocent Kenyans, either through tax burden or victimization when labouring for the Chinese contractors (China has perfected the art of PR and lures African leaders with cheap loans claiming to foster friendship and co-operation under the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative which is only being used as debt bait. The question is why would these remain closed doors business?.) Mr. Jiuping 李久平 is no exception he is known to hold closed door meetings where Kenyan employees in attendance have to register and leave their phones outside.

The language of communication in this meetings is usually Chinese with no interpretation leaving Kenyan employees as nothing but scare crows for the camera. (The new Kenyan DGM can confirm this if willing to be honest) These Afristar/CRBC contracts deliberately leave out job description to make sure an
employee can be called upon to work anywhere from the locomotive to the kitchen to trimming grass in the compound. A new clause introduced in the new contract grants the company, company assigns, licencees and successors the right and permission to use employees image,audio recordings and names in all forms and media including composite or modified representations for all purposes, including advertising, trade or any commercial purpose globally, the employee cannot inspect or approve the version of image or writing used for publication. Let’s be honest Kenyans. Why would someone feel so entitled to you as a being if this is not modern day SLAVERY. (attached)

Questions arising are;

  • Why is Afristar in a hurry to replace their contract with employees in the middleof a global pandemic while they still have a running contract with the samecompany?
  • Is someone taking advantage of Kenyans at this desperate times to satisfypessimistic desires for personal gain?
  • Why is Afristar unwilling to pay employees despite slashing of corporate tax bythe president in the Tax Laws amendment Act 2020 of 1st April
  • Is Afristar really under difficulty to sustain operation and maintain businesscontinuity as it runs on cumulative cost as stated in document 211.? Is thishappening despite the business boom reported by the same company at thecommissioning of Naivasha ICD?
  • Why doesn’t KRC publish its Annual Financial reports publicly for the 3 years ithas been funding the operator?

Describing the employer:

Ironically Afristar is a company that wants to be subject of discussion by the media highlighting how much progress it has made to improve the lives of Kenyans while at the same time it wants its own employees to believe its making losses. (countless articles have been published and aired with K24 spearheading this.) Afristar is not concerned about the well-being or career development of young Kenyans rather its selfish desires to exploit Kenyans and plough profits back home to their own country.

Further on to discourage technology transfer Afristar frustrates the bilingual Chinese [English speaking Chinese] into resignation.

Generally Afristar lacks values, its integrity is cosmetic stands for nothing but selfish
desires of individuals and thrives on propaganda.

Well aware of the occupational hazards Afristar has in the recent past halted providing medical cover to its employees who are working under risky industrial conditions. This was done via an email (attached) from legal & compliance department with no further official communication from the company, despite the
medical cover being an article in the running contract (attached) the same article has however been scrapped off in the newly imposed contract. First aid kits are not equipped with anti-snake venom serum despite some employees working along national/game parks where hardly a day goes without having to kill a snake for their safety.

Despite all these employees are cautioned against reporting injuries to DOSH/OSHA with threats such as job loss.

Overtime payment an article in the policy is also a scare crow article as Afristar does not compensate its employees for over time worked. A deliberate excuse is made that overtime must be approved by the employees immediate workshop manager.

The manager who is already threatened by the brood of vipers on top of the food chain takes to the hills when asked to sign for overtime worked. To explain this Afristar throws the blame to KRC saying KRC does not service them with funds to run operations.

Afristar in another case promotes discrimination contrarily to the Employment Act 2007 at the work place for instance during the festivities local workers are given a uniform bonus KES 3,000 (attached) while their counterparts the migrant workers are given KES 60,000

Further on the migrant workers are given a monthly KES 20,000 as allowance for in case they are attacked by robbers demanding for cash.So far there is no single record of an Afristar migrant worker attacked by the said robbers as Madaraka express celebrated 3 years of operation recently, It beats logic how people living in fortified camps and only go out to work on the line with security from Kenya police would be pampered with allowance against attack from robbers. This also underlines the view Afristar has about our society as Kenyans. At many occasions during daily endeavors Kenyan employee tell how the Chinese colleagues describe them as bestowed with huge genitalia, high libido, masculine bodies and no brains.

The operator shipped in extra migrant workers with exaggerated job titles as their work permits from ministry of interior show. Many Chinese are not even conversant with the job titles in their work permit.

Due to these huge numbers of migrant workers, some Chinese have resulted to run unlicensed canteens in the stations where local authorities cannot reach them. They have ended up converting kitchen and dinning rooms into dormitories, office rooms have also not been spared to provide accommodation for the huge

Efforts of employees to join a trade union of their choice are frustrated by the company and [RAWU] Railway and Allied Workers Union which works closely with the employer.

Rules & regulations are used to victimize and ensnare employees into the desires of the employer. A department known as safety supervision department is set aside not for train operation safety but to come up with the most intimidating rules for employees and revise them momentarily to suit the company’s desire. Document 75-2020 which works hand in hand with another unnamed document famously known as “NEGLIGENCE” contains the laid down procedures for punishing employees.

‘Negligence’ acts as the disciplinary charge for any rule broken by the employees. Workshop heads and departmental heads are given a monthly target of how many disciplinary charges they ought to have made, Failure to reach the target or to avail any disciplinary charge against Kenyans the top management then punishes the said Chinese supervisor or manager for not doing his work. This system of administration forces the employees to live with their supervisors in a way that depicts the prey and predator version of life. Kenyans have to live under fear and feel threatened by the sight of a Chinese man/woman. For instance a supervisor will leave aside their duty to hunt down employees for mistakes. At an extreme case a Chinese manager is quoted pleading a Kenyan to sign a negligence charge so as to bail him out of

At this moment the Kenyan will sign the false charge to save his manager lest his stay at the work place will be unbearable. Kenyans who defy such orders have always been implicated with various issues thanks to the safety supervision department and the HR department and shown the door. The rate of
dismissals at the Afristar are extremely shocking for a company that is committed to building bilateral ties as the Belt and Road initiative wants us to believe.

SGR employees are hardworking patriots who believe in nation building and believe the railway industry is a key sector that requires uninterrupted run but the conmanship and Intimidation practised by Mr, Li Jiuping 李久平 and his management are not the way to go by.

In his Madaraka day speech the president highlighted the milestones we have achieved post-colonial period the paradox is the Chinese have already initiated another wave of colonialism in our land. Previously employees complained and no much investigation was done into the the matter, At the same
government officials such as CS Macharia came out to fiercely defend the operator, while the then government spokes person Eric Kiraithe said “Kenyans at the SGR should bear with the Chinese” Kenyans will never forget


On hold for now


About the author

Karecha Kamaris

Karecha Kamaris is the space between earth and heaven, the gap between ice and fire, the elementary molecule that justifies unending peace in the sea of turmoil. An 'appetite for adventure over the love of ease'.

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