Workers at the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) Athiriver Machakos County are up in arms over compromised hygiene due to a lack of water and an unconducive working environment.

1,200 Employees of Mahalakshmi GMT Epz Limited an apparel-making company bears the biggest brunt of the effects occasioned by the acute water shortage.

The company roofs are leaking and when it rains making operations at the garment-making factory stall.

Workers who mainly comprise women say toilets at the facility are filthy and pathetic since they are cleaned once a day and the hundreds of workers are expected to use them without water throughout the day.

The foul choking stench has changed the working environment with employees fearing outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

Women say they are the most affected and have witnessed increasing cases of urinary infections among themselves.

“We are suffering as women. The state of the toilets is wanting. We even wish those concerned can put up a pit latrine instead. Using a toilet that one cannot flush leaves the toilet in a very filthy state, “Maurine Kemunto, a worker said

The workers say the leaking roof further exposes them to possible electrocution since electrical wires and sockets are soaked in water when it pours.

They claim the menace has witnessed massive stains on the export apparel besides lowering the rate of production.

“The problem has been there for the last four months. It is sad that those concerned have not put any effort to address the issue. EPZA management should address the issue as urgent,” Maryann Milumu, a worker said.

The agitated workers now fear that the investors in the company might shut down due to the frustrations of operating in an unfriendly environment living them jobless.

“We are worried that if our welfare issues are not addressed, the investor might pull out of business and leave us jobless,” Mahalakshmi company chief steward, Dancan Maingi said.

Efforts to seek comment from the company’s chief executive officer Alice Atogo bore no fruit as she refused to comment on the matter claiming she was not authorized to address the media

When asked about the outcry while at her office situated at the Epza headquarters, Atogo said, ” No comment,” before finally saying she cannot address the press.

“I am a civil servant and my work is handling investors. I have no authority to address media on issues about the company,” she said.

Epza Athi-river boasts of 17 companies mainly specializing in export apparels and has over 20,000 workers in a single shift.


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