Central Organisation of Trade Union (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli on Tuesday vowed to take action against top Chinese officials at the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) accused of mistreating Kenyan employees.
In a TV interview, Mr Atwoli stated that he will be reporting those implicated in the crime at the trade union meeting to be held in Geneva.
“Next month I will be meeting the Chinese and I am going to ask the topmost Chinese leaders of the labour movement and I will express this matter of harassment to them.
“I am sure they will take up this matter with their Government back home,” he said.
Atwoli noted that the stringent laws in China will see Chinese mistreating Kenyans at the SGR punished. He added that the Union was also engaging the Ministry of Labour and President Uhuru Kenyatta to see that the issue is addressed.
“In China, once it is heard that you went somewhere and got involved in corruption, the penalty is death. But when they come here they become corrupt and do things they cannot do in their own country.
“We have written to the ministry of labour and President Uhuru Kenyatta. We are going to take this up with the authorities concerned both in Kenya and China,” Atwoli said.
The trade union boss went on to urge Kenyans being harassed at the SGR to report at any Cotu branch across the country.
“I want to challenge our workers working there, quietly look at where your union is without the Chinese knowing. Give us a full report and we will take action.
“If you are not a member we have lawyers who will move to court on your behalf,” he said.
Atwoli insisted that the Chinese must conform to the labour laws.
An exposé by the Standard newspaper brought to light inhumane treatment, harassment, discrimination and unfair working conditions that Kenyans were enduring at the SGR.
According to the investigative piece, Kenyans are not allowed to share the staff vans with their Chinese colleagues and are forced to wait long hours to share an overcrowded van.
They are also not permitted to use their phones in the train and the penalty for this is dismissal as opposed to their Chinese counterparts who have the luxury of using their phones and even smoking on the train.