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Maersk promises action in the case of fired whistleblower

A Maersk supplier at the port of Mombasa, Kenya, maintains that the firing of a whistleblower and trade union activist was "by the book". Maersk promises that the case will be closed "in a proper way".
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Thomas Kambi is still waiting. It has been now almost two months since he was fired from Maersk’s subcontractor Island Marine Service – officially because he is too old and unable to deliver – according to himself and his union because he was the initiator for his crew to join a Union.

And the Island Marine Service maintains its decision:

“There is no dialogue. We have just sent a follow-up to the union that he should come and collect his salary. It’s up to him to come and pick up his last hire,” says director Hamisi Ali.

When Danwatch first wrote about Thomas Kambi’s dismissal in August this year, A.P. Møller-Maersk stated that a “thorough” investigation into the dismissal would be conducted. The investigation has now been completed, but Maersk will not disclose what has actually been communicated to the subcontractor.

“However, the case in question is not over on our part. We will continue to be in dialogue with the subcontractor on this matter, which will be completed in a proper manner,” writes press manager Signe Wagner to Danwatch.

At the top of the list

Thomas Kambi is at the top of a list of employees who announce union membership. The list was signed on August 13 – three days before Thomas Kambi received his resignation.

At the top of the list

Thomas Kambi is at the top of a list of employees who announce union membership. The list was signed on August 13 – three days before Thomas Kambi received his resignation.

Employees must be able to organize themselves

Thomas Kambi was fired three days after he, along with 15 colleagues, put his signature on a union registration form. At the same time, in the wake of Danwatch’s disclosure of poor working conditions at the port of Mombasa (in danish), Maersk underlined, among other things, that employees of the shipping giant’s suppliers would be able to organize themselves into unions.

“It is clear that those working for our suppliers should be able to report freely on working conditions that do not meet our standards without fear of reprisals,” Maersk said in August.

Thomas Kambi doesn’t think he’ll get his job back:

“I hope for compensation. And then I have to try to find another job in the harbor. ”

The story behind the story

  • In November 2018, Danwatch, together with Ekstra Bladet, wrote about the critical working conditions for port workers in Mombasa, Kenya, loading and unloading Maersk ships. The workers reported anonymously about underpayment, extremely long shifts and lack of security equipment. 
  • The workers were employed as casual workers at Island Marine Service, a subcontractor to Maersk.
  • Following Danwatch’s disclosures, Maersk introduced new and improved conditions for the workers at Maersk’s sub-contractors in Mombasa. Maersk specifically states thatthe effort “also means that employees’ right to form or join a trade union is respected.”
  • Thomas Kambi was a key source in Danwatch’s documentation of conditions at the port. Thomas Kambi did not appear with his name but participated in a video interview.

The story behind the story

  • In November 2018, Danwatch, together with Ekstra Bladet, wrote about the critical working conditions for port workers in Mombasa, Kenya, loading and unloading Maersk ships. The workers reported anonymously about underpayment, extremely long shifts and lack of security equipment. 
  • The workers were employed as casual workers at Island Marine Service, a subcontractor to Maersk.
  • Following Danwatch’s disclosures, Maersk introduced new and improved conditions for the workers at Maersk’s sub-contractors in Mombasa. Maersk specifically states thatthe effort “also means that employees’ right to form or join a trade union is respected.”
  • Thomas Kambi was a key source in Danwatch’s documentation of conditions at the port. Thomas Kambi did not appear with his name but participated in a video interview.
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