Kenya strike over but further action looms
Over 7,000 Kenyan garment workers returned to work this week following an eight-day strike over the dismissal of 120 workers from Ashton Apparels, but further action has been threatened.
The wildcat strike broke out in the Kenyan city of Mombasa on 5 January when workers from several factories owned by Ashton Apparel EPZ Ltd demanded the reinstatement of 120 unionised workers.
According to IndustriAll union, the workers found they had been made redundant upon returning from their Christmas leave after joining the Tailors and Textiles Workers Union (TTWU).
"The company has been violating labour laws by denying workers their constitutional rights to join the union of their choice and victimising employees who have voluntarily joined the union," said TTWU general secretary Joel Chebii.
According to the union, the company has also refused to sign a recognition agreement with TTWU and deduct union dues from the union members' wages.
A letter to Ashton Apparels from IndustriAll pointed out that the company is "in breach of national labour legislation" as well as international core labour standards.
Should demands not be met, Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriAll, said further actions will be taken, including "bringing these violations to the attention of buyers sourcing from the company".
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