Simba Apparel, an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) firm in Changamwe shut down its operations on Sunday, consequently sacking over 2,000 employees that were on strike.
The workers had been on strike for the last seven days, in which the firm said that it had made a loss of Ksh20 million for failing to export over 100,000 pieces of garments to the US.
“We decided to shut down the factory because the workers have refused to honour two return-to-work agreements we signed with their representatives. Since the illegal strike started the management has lost a total of Ksh20 million. We would have produced 100,000 and exported to the USA,” read a statement from the firm.
Officials from the Tailors and Textile Workers Union in conjunction with regional and national labour officials are said to have been unable to solve the stalemate, which the company says started as a result of infighting between two shop stewards.
“This was due to an internal fight between two shop stewards of Tailors and Textile Workers Union (TTWU), which is supported by a local politician,” the management said.
The Standard reports that the strike was supposed to have ended on September 13, according to a return-to-work agreement between the company and the workers.
However, the employees said the strike was because the management is trying to favour some officials in the TTWU who represent the workers.
Chief shop steward of the workers’ union Meshack Mwangangi said his deputy is siding with the management and has been threatening workers.
“I was manhandled and ejected from the directors’ meeting. The management does not want to listen to us, but the other side who are goons and come to work while armed with knives,” Mwangangi said.
He said as union officials they have collected signatures of all the workers to call for new elections, but the management has refused to allow them.
“We only want to carry out new election and workers allowed to work in a safe environment. Until that is honoured, we will not continue working,” he said.
The company has been in operation in the country for 26 years.