STARTED THURSDAY

300 fish farm workers strike over poor pay

Say firm pays unskilled staff Sh8,000 instead of Sh15,000

In Summary

• They are demanding salary increment of Sh7,000 to enable them meet their daily needs.

• Farm manager Scott Day denies claims, says the least paid worker gets more than Sh8,000.

 

Workers of Victory Farm company in Lake Victoria
Workers of Victory Farm company in Lake Victoria
Image: /ROBERT OMOLLO
Fishermen near one of the fish cages in Lake Victoria
Fishermen near one of the fish cages in Lake Victoria
Image: /ROBERT OMOLLO

Business has been disrupted at a cage fish farming company in Lake Victoria after workers went on strike over poor pay.

The more than 300 workers of Victory Farm at Roo Beach went on strike on Thursday. The company supplies fish in large quantities to Kisumu, Nakuru and Nairobi.

The workers complained of being underpaid contrary to an agreement they made with the organisation in May last year.

They said the company was to pay staff with no professional training a minimum of Sh15,000 per month, but a number of them receive Sh8,000.

“Skilled workers are paid Sh12,000 instead of Sh20,000,” a worker, who did not want to be named, said.

Casual workers also demanded that their pay be increased from Sh396 to Sh500 per day.

They said they had unsuccessfully tried to talk to the managers to comply with the agreement.  

The workers claimed the company's income had doubled between May last year and now and there is no reason not to pay them as per the agreement.

“The agreement was made when we were harvesting and selling between 13 and 15 tonnes of fish per day. But nowadays, we harvest and sell between 24 and 30 tonnes daily, hence there is no reason why it can’t pay us according to the agreement,” a worker said.

They also complained of ethnic discrimination in promoting workers from the area to management positions.

“There is no local employee in the management. We don’t know whether the learning institutions we attended are not recognised by the company,” another worker said.

Contacted, farm manager Scott Day dismissed the complaints raised by the workers.

“What the workers are saying is false because the least person is paid more than Sh8,000,” he said.

He promised they were going to hold a meeting with the workers to iron out the issues.