No salary, contract or employee allocations for workers in a leading hotel in Kisumu


The past five to ten years have seen Kisumu county grow in terms of investment in the hospitality industry. A case study of Kisumu town alone has witnessed the establishment of more than ten hotels that could possibly be ranked as 3 stars, there are a few 4 star hotels and two likely to be ranked as 5 star hotels.

This growth is likely to improve the economy of Kisumu county, also the city is now able to host major conferences of up to 1000 plus pax and offer more accommodation venues.

However not all is glam as the outlook of these amenities are. A new entrant into the Hospitality industry, located behind Lake Basin Mall along Kisumu Kakamega highway is on the verge of closing down due to the downing of tools by the employees who feel their labor laws are being violated. The franchised owned hotel by a former Public Secretary is currently being run by relatives in the Top Management. No structures have been put in place at the facility since the whole business is run by family. Locals have been given lower posts of waiters and waitress, watchmen, cooks, cashiers etc.

This is the second month since the hotel started its full operations, the sad thing is that since they hired staff, no employee has ever been given an offer letter nor a contract binding them to the facility. As per the last communication the staff had with their manager, he mentioned that the salary they had negotiated earlier would be slashed and everyone be given a flat rate. The first group of staff that were hired got sacked after they had resigned from their jobs, when they raised compalints of mistreatment.

“No one has taken any action due to threats and intimidation. Some workers also fear that they may be sacked without receiving the salaries that they have worked for, ” laments one of the employees.

The current staff are forced to work up to 12 hours with only one meal provided, that is lunch only (out sourced from a kiosk located outside the mall). Over the weekends, some of the staff are forced to work overnight, having completed their shift during the day without any allocation of food and transport even when they leave the place late.

Why would the CEO start operations having not set aside some funds to help him run the business effectively for the first few months? How did the organisation hire staff when they could not meet their basic nees like food and transport especially to those who work late?

Why does the management threaten the employees who are genuinely seeking pay and job contracts with a possibility of termination and even losing their due salaries?

As a resident of Kisumu, I am hoping that the situation will change. The employees deserve a better working environment.

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