By Nick Oluoch
“We believe this is unethical since there are rules to be followed in any industry. It is sad that the company was investing million of shillings into the farms, only for other companies to come and harvest,” he said.
This, he said, has been mostly caused by the arrival of new milling companies in the region who started operating before growing their own cane.
“All the agencies charged with ensuring that the rules are followed have to play their parts,” he said, adding that over the past one year, the company has lost 78 hectares of sugarcane to rival milling companies with another 21 hectares going to small scale jaggary makers.
Kenya National Sugarcane Growers Union Secretary General Azra Olodi blamed the cane poaching on failure by Parliament to pass the Sugar Amendment Act 2011, saying the Act provides for how to deal with the issue.
Meanwhile, a section of Sony workers have now threatened to down their tools following disciplinary measures taken against their colleagues.
The workers, under the umbrella body of the Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers (Kuspaw), gave 14 days strike notice after the management suspended 77 employees who participated in a strike last month.
A statement signed by the Kuspaw Deputy General Secretary who is also the Sony Branch Secretary John Ogutu, told the management that workers will suspend normal operations on the midnight of June 20 if their demand would not have been addressed by then.
Kuspaw Assistant Secretary Esther Onyango said: “Let both the workers and the management sit down and see the way forward. The workers went on strike last month because they wanted a 20 per cent salary increment that was promised by the MD Paul Odolla,” she said.
However, Mr Odolla, while admitting that he had promised the salary increment, asked the workers to give ongoing Collective Bargain Agreement negotiations a chance.
He further defended the decision by the company to take action against the workers, saying the strike had not been procedural and the company was trying to do was to get to the root of the issue.
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