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February 22, 2018

350 Dominion Farms staff sent packing in Yala, firm cites hard economic times

Dominion rice fields are sprayed / FILE
Dominion rice fields are sprayed / FILE

Dominion Rice Farms in Yala Swamp has sacked over 350 workers because of a cash crisis.

Workers said they are owed over Sh350 million in salary arrears.

Efforts to reach Dominion Farms director Chris Abir were futile. His cellphone went unanswered.

Workers reported on duty on Friday and got a rude shock when they learnt their contracts had been terminated.

CEO Calvin Burgess, through the human resource manager, says in a letter Dominion Farms Limited will suspend its operations from November 10.

The firm cited hard economic times and a difficult business environment in this country.

Local leaders have threatened to sue the management over salary arrears for workers.

Supervisor Fred Akula, and the workers demanded their dues before leaving the company.

“The law is clear. An employee’s contract can only be terminated upon clearance of his or her accrued benefits,” Akula said.

Angry workers vowed to camp at the firm from today until when their dues are settled.

The workers appealed to the government to intervene. They vowed not to allow another investor to come before their grievances are addressed.

Leaders in Siaya plan to sue the billionaire American. A source, who sought anonymity for fear of reprisals, claimed he owes suppliers and workers more than Sh1.2 billion.

Central Alego Ward MCA Leonard Oriaro said, “We’re engaging lawyers to sue the CEO Calvin Burgess.”

He is also the chairman of the implementation committee in the county assembly.

He wants a court order for the firm’s assets to be auctioned and workers paid. Oriaro said the project collapsed before the firm’s 25-year-lease ended.

Early this year, Burgesss claimed NASA leader Raila Odinga’s family demanded cash to fund his campaigns. MCAs termed it malicious and accused him of seeking cheap political favours.

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