The flower sector is on its way to recovery with over eighty five percent of the workforce back on duty after three months at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU), the remaining workforce is on unpaid leave with hopes that things will stabilize in the coming weeks.
The union further clarified that not a single worker in the sector has lost their job due to the pandemic.
KPAWU secretary general in Naivasha Ferdinand Juma said that they had entered into agreements with flower farmers where no worker would be sent home.
“Currently 85 percent of our workforce are back in the farms as majority had been sent home on normal leave or unpaid leave at the height of the pandemic,” he said.
Juma admitted that the farmers had incurred huge losses due to the lockdown in Europe forcing them to send home over 70 percent of their workers.
“COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli who is also the Secretary General of KPAWU entered into an MOU with the farmers that no one would be sent home,” he said.
Addressing the press in Naivasha, the union defended Atwoli over allegations that he has abandoned workers and joined politics.
“In the history of the Country, trade unions have not shied away from engaging in politics to protect their interests and Atwoli is on the right track,” he said.
He added that the high cost of cargo flight charges remained a major threat to the farmers.
“COTU which is the umbrella body of all unions has engaged the Government on the challenge of cargo flights and we hope that this will be addressed,” he said.
This was echoed by the branch organizing secretary Samuel Otieno who noted that the pandemic had adversely affected all sectors.
“The union led by Atwoli is fully behind the workers woes during these hard times and we should keep away from petty politics in union issues,” he said.
The workers representative Moses Nyawanga from North Lake added that about two farms were still on half pay as they recovered from the losses.
Last week, a group of workers lashed out at the union representatives for joining politics amid an increase in job losses in the sector.