Nairobi garbage collectors take to the streets over salary arrears

By Susan Kogi On Thu, 5 Mar, 2020 16:47 | 2 mins read
Garbage collectors
Nairobi County garbage collectors outside Mediamax offices on Kijabe Street, Nairobi on March 5, 2020. PHOTO | KENNA CLAUDE | PD

Nairobi City centre garbage collectors have downed their tools citing delayed payments which they claim has become the order of the day.

Dressed in their red overalls and armed with twigs and placards, the casual laborers who work under the AGL garbage collection company, turned up in large numbers outside Mediamax offices on Kijabe Street, claiming that they have not received their three months’ dues.

Speaking to K24 Digital, the protestors aired their never-ending grievances and also stated their demands.

“Our employer (AGL) is making our lives harder by the day. They have made a habit of paying us around three to four times a year. Most of us have never been paid since December, others since November. Since I joined AGL in August 2019, the salary payment has been very inconsistent. How does AGL expect us to survive in this city with no money? I call upon Senator Sakaja [Johnson] and other relevant Nairobi County officials to rescue us,” said Moses Owino.

Thirty-seven-year-old Lilian Seyo expressed her frustrations with City Hall: “I am a mother of four. Currently, two of my children are at home for lack of school fees. I have been kicked out of my house by the landlord for failing to pay rent for the past three months; to my luck, a relative has taken me in together with my children. I have so many pending bills and I don’t even know my fate.”

The garbage collection company whose offices are based on Lagos Road is said to have employed around 150 workers without issuing them with contracts.

According to the workers, the company pays them Ksh500 a day and are expected to work six days a week. 

The company’s senior supervisor, Alex Maleche, declined to speak about the matter.

K24 Digital reached out to Nairobi Environment Minister Larry Wambua who distanced himself from the workers’ salary issues, saying that only their firm can settle their arrears.

“The workers are not part of Nairobi County’s employees and so we have no relationship with them. They are engaged by a contractor so they should direct their complaints to AGL. Also, even if they were county employees, it is not the responsibility of the Environment Department to make payments. We leave that to the finance section,” said Wambua.

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