BUDDING DISPUTE

Flower farmers on the spot over hiring

Farmers accused of using Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to send workers home.

In Summary

• Naivasha has over 60 flower and vegetable farms

• Sector employs over 150,000 workers directly

The CS for Labor Simon Cherugui (R) has a word with MD Van-Den-Berg flower farm Johan Remeeus (C) and Nakuru Deputy Governor Dr Eric Korir after touring the Naivasha based flower farm. He said that flower exports have risen to 90 percent from 30 percent in the last one month.
Flower sector The CS for Labor Simon Cherugui (R) has a word with MD Van-Den-Berg flower farm Johan Remeeus (C) and Nakuru Deputy Governor Dr Eric Korir after touring the Naivasha based flower farm. He said that flower exports have risen to 90 percent from 30 percent in the last one month.
Image: George Murage

Flower farmers are on the spot for using the Covid-19 pandemic to send staff on unpaid leave and instead hiring seasonal staff on lower salaries.

The Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) has warned it will seek court action over the emerging trend.

The union said flower exports have picked and now stands at 90 percent  and the farmers should therefore recall staff on unpaid leave.

 

 “We have seen a move where farmers are sending home their workers as has happened with Oserian flower farm and ended up employing seasonal workers on lower salaries,” said KPAWU assistant national secretary Meshack Khisa.

He said there are hundreds of workers still on unpaid leave despite the resumption of flower exports. 

“Already exports of flowers stand at 90 percent and its time that all those workers who are on unpaid leave were recalled back to work,” he said on Monday in Naivasha.

Speaking in Naivasha after meeting the workers representative, Khisa said  the union would in the coming month engage the employers on workers salary review.

He said while the farmers had incurred huge losses at the height of the pandemic they should not ignore the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)  that expires in two months.

“We know that the sector has been hit by the pandemic but export of flowers is back as Europe has opened up and its time we revisited the issue of salary review for our workers,” he said.

 

He thanked the government for the continued support towards the horticulture sector during the pandemic period when job and business opportunities were lost.