Kenyan long distance drivers are up in arms claiming their counterparts from Uganda and Tanzania are taking their jobs.
A section of the drivers from the Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers Union (KLDTDU) marched in the streets of Mombasa city demanding that the Ministry of Labour intervene and address the matter.
KLDTDU Mombasa branch secretary Roman Waema claimed that at least 5,000 drivers have been left jobless following “invasion” by their counterparts from Uganda and Tanzania.
“Our constitution is very clear on who should be given priority when it comes to job opportunities. We cannot allow foreigners to come and take over our jobs in the name of trade integration,” said Mr Waema.
He accused logistic companies in the country of recruiting foreign drivers in order to pay them poorly. He said the foreign drivers are paid salaries that do not adhere to the general wages structure.
“A driver from Uganda is being paid $120 for a job that we do for $400. The employers are manipulating foreign drivers at the expense of our jobs. This is not fair,” said Mr Waema.
The drivers presented a petition to a Ministry of Labour official. In their petition, the drivers who transport imported vehicles and other goods from the Port of Mombasa to neighbouring countries including Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and DR Congo, asked the government to help them keep their jobs.
“A working relationship where our counterparts pick Ugandan vehicles across their border either in Busia or Malaba is ideal to strengthen trade ties between the two nations,” reads part of their petition.
Joseph Oloo, a member of the union, said the prosperity of trade agreements among East African countries must be based on fairness in labour.
The driver’s grievances come in the wake of efforts by East African governments to strengthen their trade ties.
Recently, lawyers from the region met at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa where they called on the governments to put in place policies that will allow smooth running of trade among the countries.