BLOSSOMING

Flower farm workers troop back as sales improve

Sector adversely affected by pandemic

In Summary

-          Naivasha has over 60 flower and vegetable farms

-          Sector employs over 150,000 workers directly

Labour CS Simon Chelugui and CEO of AEA Wesley Siele tours Ol Njorowa flower farm in Naivasha
WILTING BUSINESS: Labour CS Simon Chelugui and CEO of AEA Wesley Siele tours Ol Njorowa flower farm in Naivasha
Image: GEORGE MURAGE

The Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) says 85 percent of the workforce in flower and vegetable farms are back on duty.

This is after three months of anxiety due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The union said plans are underway for the remaining group which was placed under unpaid leave to also resume work.

It denied claims that some workers in the sector had permanently lost jobs due to the pandemic. 

 

KPAWU secretary general in Naivasha Ferdinand Juma said that they had entered in agreements with flower farmers where no worker would be sent home.

“Currently 85 percent of our workforce are back at the farms as majority had been sent home on normal leave or unpaid leave at the height of the pandemic,” he said.

Juma said that the farmers had incurred huge losses due to the lockdown in Europe forcing them to send home over 70 percent of their workers.

He added that high cost of cargo flight charges remained a major threat to the farmers who were now back to full production.

“COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli who is also the Secretary General of KPAWU entered into an MOU with the farmers that no one would be sent home,” said Juma who was accompanied by the branch organising secretary  Samuel Otieno.

Speaking in Naivasha, the union defended Atwoli over attacks that he had abandoned workers and joined politics.

“In the history of the country trade unions have been in the forefront of politics so as to protect their interest and Atwoli is on the right track,” he said.

Last week, a group of workers lashed out at the union representatives for joining politics amid an increase in job losses in the sector.