Over 2,000 Naivasha flower farm workers strike

Written By: Margaret Kalekye/Release
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Over 2,000 flower farm workers in Naivasha have gone on strike over poor working conditions and low wages.

The management of Gorge farm and Delmare Pivot, which are owned by Veg Pro Kenya Limited, are counting losses running into millions of shillings following the industrial unrest.

They have vowed that they would not resume duty until their grievances were addressed.

Earlier, the workers had engaged police in running battles along Moi South Lake road on before matching to the Labour offices in Naivasha.

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This came as it emerged that workers in the farms involved in the production of flowers and vegetables for export was paying the workers a partial Sh4,500 per month.

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Gorge farm was in the limelight last month after NEMA took it to court for polluting the nearby Lake Naivasha by failing to treat it wastewaters.

According to the Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHA), the farm had continued to oppress the workers by failing to honour a collective bargain agreement which sought to improve their terms and conditions of the workers.

The union Industrial relations officer Issa Wafula said that workers in the vegetable section were earning Sh4,500 per month compared to Sh7,800 for those in flower department.

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“The workers are further subjected to other hidden deductions and at times they go home with less than Sh1,000 at the end of the month,” he said.

Wafula accused the farm of failing to adhere to the law by collecting the union dues adding that the High Court seating in Kericho has fully recognized the union.

The union national organizing Secretary James Okeyo said that they had tried to engage the farm on several occasions over the worker’s grievances but this had been ignored.

“The problem with the farm is tribalism in the management and failure to follow the law as we had served them with strike notice but they failed to act on the worker’s grievances,” he said.

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Addressing striking workers, Naivasha assistant sub-county commissioner Sylvia Ocholla said that all parties had been summoned for a meeting on Wednesday to resolve the issue

“We shall meet the farm management, workers representative and labour officers so that we can get a solution to this strike which has affected tens of workers,” she said.

Efforts to get a comment from the farm management were fruitless as they were locked in a crisis meeting.

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