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January 19, 2019

Flower farm workers strike over delayed pay

Zena Roses workers outside the farm on Monday/ ALICE WAITHERA
Zena Roses workers outside the farm on Monday/ ALICE WAITHERA

About 200 workers of Zena Roses in Gatanga are on strike over delayed salaries and poor working conditions.

They on Saturday accused the farm management of  failing to pay them for three months. They said they work with worn-out equipment, which puts their lives at risk.

George Ochieng, a sprayer, said despite having to handle chemicals everyday, he is not provided with protective gear.

Ochieng, who lives in Juja estate in Kiambu, said he uses Sh100 fare daily.

"I pay Sh50 from my home to work and another Sh50 in the evening. How do they expect me to keep showing up at work without a salary?" he asked.

Ochieng said life for the workers has become unbearable. He also accused the farm of not remitting workers’ union contributions, despite deducting them from their salaries.

Ochieng said the union is on the verge of collapsing due to lack of funds.

Mark Wafula, another worker and an official of the workers’ union, said he has worked in the farm for 13 years and has never experienced such hardships.

Wafula urged the government and Cotu to intervene and compel the farm to pay their dues. He said the workers will not resume work until all their payments and arrears are cleared.

The farm manager declined to comment, saying he has only been on the job for a month.

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