Flower farm workers strike over pay delay

By Antony Gitonga                    

Naivasha, Kenya: Over 3,000 workers from Karuturi flower farm in Naivasha downed their tools on Wednesday over non-payment of their salaries.

Production in the world leading growers of roses was grounded as it emerged that the farm (formerly Sher Agencies) was facing financial constrains.

Thousand of roses in green houses and packing halls went to waste as the workers vowed that they would not resume work until their November salary was paid.

The strike comes barely a month after the farm announced its intention to lay off over 1,500 workers over harsh economic times but the number was later reduced to 600.

The branch secretary Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Union (KPAWU) Ferdinand Juma said that the workers would not return to work until their salaries were paid.

He expressed his concern over the financial status of the farm noting that all was not well and the union had called a meeting with the management to determine the way forward.

“Last month the farm laid off over 600 workers and now it has failed to
pay November salaries and hence the strike,” he said.

The sentiments were echoed by the farm’s chief shop-steward Samson Ounda who said that anxiety had hit workers at the farm.

Ounda noted that the farm senior managers had fled the farm after the workers went on strike raising more confusion.

A senior manager who declined to be named confirmed that the farm was facing financial constrains and their production had dropped from one million roses per day to 800,000.

The manager noted that the farm was left counting losses running into millions of shillings due to the strike.

“Things are currently not so rosy due to the harsh economic times in Europe but we are looking at ways addressing the strike,” said the manager.

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