- The workers have been demanding salary increments, provision of personal protective equipment, and permission to join labour unions among others.
- During discussions, they drafted a return to work formula which they will sign before resuming duties on Tuesday.
Rai Group has expressed commitment to addressing issues that have continually been raised by some employees at Sukari Industry Limited in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay.
The workers have been demanding salary increments, provision of personal protective equipment, and permission to join labour unions among others.
Continuous delay in addressing the issues saw a number of the workers engage in strikes which paralyzed activities at the sugar milling factory.
The industry had to suspend sugar production from Thursday last week due to the employee strike as cane that had been harvested could not be delivered for processing.
On Monday, the Rai Group Chief Human Resource Officer Bernard Mungatana said they are intervening by addressing the complaints raised by the employees.
The group has met the workers and agreed to address some of them to ensure the working condition is improved.
“Rai has listened to the complaints as raised by the employees and we agreed to find solutions to them. We want to enter an era of good industrial relations with workers,” Mungatana said.
Speaking at Riat, Kanyikela after their meeting, the human resource officer said they want the factory to undertake its activities peacefully as it was operating previously.
He said issues raised by workers are internal matters and they will look at some of them.
Mungatana said they included the worker's representatives, Kanyikela MCA Wanjala Kasera and Ndhiwa MP Martin Owino in the meeting.
Top security officers from Ndhiwa also attended the meeting.
“I am happy to report that we have had a constructive meeting where we agreed on how we can resume operations,” he said.
During discussions, they drafted a return to work formula which they will sign before resuming duties on Tuesday.
Kasera said they received the complaint letter from the workers demanding that their monthly pay has not been increased as per the Salaries Increment Regulations of 2022.
They argued that their salaries be increased because of the current high cost of living.
In the letter, the workers also claimed their salaries are being deducted without explanation from the factory on why this is done.
“Further, the issue of paid leave was not considered as per the law and employees are never allowed to go on paid leave or have an off in case of sickness or emergency,” the letter read in parts.
The employees also complained that there is discrimination in paying workers as others are being paid highly despite being assigned to do the same duties.
On safety, they said they have not been supplied with personal protective equipment.
“The workers raised issues of safety at work. They can easily be injured during work if they have protective gear,” Kasera said.
MP Owino said he received the worker's petition and they agreed to iron out the issues together so that the employees’ rights are not infringed.
“We want smooth working relations where there is mutual understanding and benefit. The company should not exit Ndhiwa and at the same time workers should be treated in a right manner,” Owino said.