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Workers’ union issues strike notice

BUSIA
By | May 2nd 2010

By LUKE ANAMI

The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) will marshal all workers in the flower and telecommunication industries to go on strike mid this month, Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli has said.

Speaking during Labour Day celebrations where Prime Minister Raila Odinga was the chief guest, Atwoli said workers in the flower sector would go on strike on May 17 if their grievances were not addressed.

"Some employers in the flower sector have refused to allow our members access to the workers and the freedom to join the union," Atwoli said in his Labour Day address to thousands of Kenyans gathered at Uhuru Park.

"We will mobilise all workers in the mother of all battles to down their tools at the expiry of the strike notice come May 17," he warned.

KPAWU last week issued a 21-day strike notice to the Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) after they declined to renew their Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA).

 

squalid conditions

Atwolo said flower companies are exploiting workers whom they make to work and live in squalid conditions.

He lamented workers in flower farms have nothing to show despite the sector being the highest foreign exchange earner in the country.

"The flower sector earned Kenya Sh36 billion last year while the workers who work so hard gained nothing," he said to a thunderous applause from the crowd at Uhuru Park.

He, however, singled out Oserian and Finlay flower for allowing negotiations with their members for better terms and conditions of work.

He also announced that Communications Workers Union has also issued a 21-day strike notice to Telkom.

But the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) called upon the union to go back to the talks to avert a strike. "We understand there are major issues affecting workers in the flower farms and kindly request the union to come to the table for discussions instead of resorting to a strike," said FKE CEO Jacqueline Mugo.

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