Panic at KPA over job losses amid ports privatisation plan
Fear of massive job losses has hit members of the giant Dock Workers Union (DWU), in the wake of governments plan to hand over Mombasa and Lamu ports services to private entities through concessions.
The union which represents over 7,000 Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) workers, has asked that the plan be stopped until the process is undertaken through public participation with involvement of all players.
Simon Sang (pictured), DWU Secretary-General said concession means there will be a decrease in direct employment at KPA and an increase of jobs outside the port.
“Direct employment at the port, we are like 7,000 people, if we concession, there is a possibility that the jobs will gradually decline to almost 5,000,” he said.
Although they are not opposed to the concession plan, Sang said concessioning some services in the two ports will directly affect their members, through decline of job opportunities.
He asked the government to reverse the plan, and restart it afresh, so that players can understand what it means for the sector. Sang blamed the government for rushing things since as it stands, they have not been involved.
Early this month, KPA Managing Director William Ruto invited sealed bids from eligible tenderers for the qualification of bidders for the development and operation of Port Assets through public–private partnership (PPP).
Lamu Port Container Terminal Berth 1-3, Lamu Special Economic Zone Mombasa Port Berth 11-14 and Mombasa Container Terminal 1 are earmarked to be developed and operated through PPP.
“We need to be given seven days, for all stakeholders to sit together, with experts explaining to them, what this concession thing means, and what the difference is between privatisation and concessioning,”sang said.