The former workers at Webuye PanPaper Mill have complained over the stand of Jaswanti Rai, the private investor who bought the company, that they will not be paid their debt.
This comes just a few days after the private investor announced that the company will begin its operations in a few months and said that he will not pay the debt the company owed anyone including the former workers, but will instead give them priority in job opportunities.
Addressing journalists in Webuye Town, the chairman of the workers Joseck Wafula appreciated the efforts of the government for reviving the Paper industry but insisted that the agreement was that when the company begins its operation, former workers would be paid their dues and be returned on their jobs.
“Am happy because the president has tried to put in place the revival of panpaper industry, but the agreement to workers between the investor and the government of paying their debt has been ignored,” stated Wafula
“When this factory collapsed the workers were told to go home and when it begins they were to be taken back on duty, it is now almost 8 years since the industry collapsed and its yet to be reopened. The problem is that they have not told us whether we shall be paid our debt or not but as we have heard from the investor, he said that he will not pay us,” he reiterated.
Mr. Wafula added that the idea of the investor not paying them is against the agreement and urged the government to intervene and help them get their dues.
“I thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for his efforts of reviving the factory but I ask him again whether these workers will be left just like that with this new investor or if they be paid,” the workers chairman posed.
“I urge you as our president to pay workers; those who will be able to work let them work but those who will not be able, let them get paid their dues,” Wafula asserted.
Some of the workers claimed to be going through difficulties and perhaps they will not be taken back on duty because of their age.
“We have problems; our children don’t go to school because of lack of school fees, when you come in our homes you may find that we live as IDP’s just because our money was held by the company since it collapsed,” one of the workers stated.
The workers demand over 700 million shillings as a debt from the company.