More than 2,000 Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory employees in Mombasa have downed tools in protest against poor pay and insecurity. Simba Apparel EPZ Ltd workers yesterday vowed to continue with their strike until all the grievances are addressed. Tailors and Textile Workers Union chief shop steward Meshack Mwangangi accused the management of allowing a few workers to sneak in crude weapons to intimidate and harass colleagues inside the factories. \u201cThere are a few individuals well known to the management who are allowed to come to work with knives, hammers and pangas and use these crude weapons to harass colleagues who are protesting against the inhumane working conditions,\u201d he said. He said the workers were keying in four extra hours without overtime pay. The workers, who downed their tools since September 9, have been camping outside the gates of the garment making factories located in Changamwe demanding that their grievances be addressed. However, union officials claimed that the management had refused to meet them claiming the issues raised had already been addressed in a return-to-work formula signed on Thursday last week. Company director Hitesh Palan termed the strike illegal saying it was being fuelled by internal fights between two shop stewards of the union with the support of a local politician. He said the company has lost Sh20 million which amounts to some 100,000 garments which would have been exported to the US market. \u201cThe management has taken into consideration all the grievances being raised by the workers. We have invited the county labour officer and union officials from Nairobi to mediate on the dispute between the two groups, the workers have declined the offer and continued to paralyse the operations,\u201d he said. In June Kenya Export Manufacture Association (Kema) complained that EPZs in Kenya fork out more in wages as compared to other countries. Kenya wages, according to Kema, stand at an average minimum of Sh22,000 compared to Ethiopia and Madagascar at Sh6,000 and Sh8,000, respectively.