By Antony Gitonga
Emotions run high as the workers from the troubled Plantations Plant Limited tried to come to terms with the double tragedy.
The workers had camped at Moi South Lake road after they were locked out of the farm when the exhauster lost control, hit the two and injured others. The workers for the umpteenth time had downed tools over poor working conditions, sexual harassment, low wages and lack of protective gear. According to a witness, Bernard Kuria, the lorry was going downhill when it developed a mechanical problem running over a group of women by the roadside.
The injured, who included the lorry conductor, were admitted at the nearby Karuturi Hospital while the mangled wreck was towed to Karagita Police Post.
Despite the loss, the workers vowed to continue with the strike as their umbrella body threatened to seek a boycott of Kenyan flowers in the European market. The workers’ representative, John Muturi, said for years, they had been oppressed by the management who had refused to address their plight.
“Despite the harsh economic times, we have continued to receive peanuts and we are working in very poor conditions,” he said.
Kenya Plantations and Agriculture Workers Union officials vowed to deal with the farm management. he union organising secretary Meshack Khisa accused some farmers of being profit oriented as their workforce continued to suffer.
“The workers have suffered for long and we shall mobilise consumers in Europe to boycott flowers from some of these farms and for the farm to compensate the families of those killed in the accident,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from the farm management were fruitless as they were in a crisis meeting.