SINOHYDRO is the contractor of a 90 km road project between Kajiado and Kiserian in Kenya. The project which is expected to be completed in two years employs over 450 workers. At least 400 are members of the Kenya Building, Construction, Timber, Furniture and Allied Industries Employees Union (KBCFTAIE), one of BWI’s affiliate in Kenya.
Since the project began one year ago, SINOHYDRO was engaged in unfair renumeration practices notably by under paying some categories of workers specifically, Tipper drivers who were being paid at the rate of 98 Kenya Shillings (0.95 USD) per hour; lower than the applicable minimum wage in the construction sector in Kenya.
With the support of the KBCFTAIE, workers at the site went on strike for three weeks forcing SINOHYDRO negotiate with the union.
An agreement, which was signed on 12 June 2019 with KBCFTAIE included a new rate for Tipper drivers of to 156 Kenya Shillings per hour (1.5 USD). It was also agreed that the drivers would be paid retroactively since last year.
“We cannot accept exploitation of Kenyan workers in the development of infrastructure in Kenya. SINOHYDRO like other companies operating in Kenya must fully comply to national regulations in relation to wages and working conditions,” said Joe Macharia, Assistant General Secretary of KBCFTAIE.
The the strike at SINOHYDRO was called off after the union successfully negotiated the agreement on wages increase with arrears payment for Tipper drivers.