COAST TOURISM BRACES FOR FULLY FLEDGED FERRY STRIKE
The ongoing negotiations between Kenya Ferry Services’ management and the union representing the staff of the sole transport link between the island of Mombasa and the south coast, including the fancied resorts along the Diani Beach, appear to be going badly, according to a usually well informed source from Mombasa.
There has been no narrowing of the gap since talks started between demands and the management’s offer, raising the prospect of a fully fledged strike as of tomorrow, Friday, 12th October.
Should it come to this, traffic from and to the airport would be cut off, stranding tourists going from the airport to the south coast resorts and vice versa, while residents from both Mombasa as well as the Likoni side of the channel dividing the island from the mainland would be marooned on either side.
Notably has not a word been heard from the Ministry of Tourism, and the Assistant Minister for Transport, Hassan Ali Joho, from the coast himself, appears not to be answering his phone as more and more desperate individuals are trying to have him get involved and mediate.
Tourism stakeholders are now keenly anticipating their leadership to stand up and be counted and even make an appearance at the Reef Hotel where the talks are ongoing, to plead with the union not to throw yet another spanner into the works of tourism. Any prolonged strike could seriously damage the reputation of
Kenya’s tourism industry and in a worst case scenario lead to lay offs of staff at the south coast.
Considering that these scenarios were clearly written on the walls for those with eyes to see, it is all the more bewildering that no stronger representations have been made by government to the two parties, suggesting they are not bothered to avoid a strike but afterwards come rushing to the scene when the damage has already been done. Watch this space as the negotiations are on knife’s edge and learn later if a strike will happen or can be avoided at the last moment.