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60,000 flower farm workers get 25 per cent pay increase

NEWS
By Graham Kajilwa | Oct 21st 2016 | 2 min read
By Graham Kajilwa | October 21st 2016
NEWS

Over 60,000 flower farm workers across the country are set to benefit from a 25 per cent salary increase.
This is after the Agricultural Employers' Association(AEA) signed officially a pending Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Central Organization of Trade Union(COTU).

Representing flower farm employers AEA Chief Executive Officer Wesley Siele said some 60,000 are the targeted beneficiaries from this new remuneration.

Siele said the two year CBA which will be expiring in July 2017 will be backdated to July 2015 when it was agreed upon.

"I know it is a little late to formalize this agreement but we have been having extensive discussions that have given us a clear way forward," he said.
Apart from increasing pay, the CBA will also be looking into improving the workers working conditions.

COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli cited the CBA as a big win for majority of unskilled workers in the sector who are the forgotten lot.

Of the about 100,000 flower farm workers, some 54,000 are said to be employed on casual basis with the lowest getting a starting salary of between Sh7,000 and Sh10,000 with allowances.

This means upon implementation of the CBA, the starting basic salary will be at least between Sh8,750 and Sh12,500.

"We have a strong labour force that only needs to be encouraged to be productive which is not necessarily through good remuneration. But it is sad that the government has neglected the sector that it appears to be falling," said Atwoli.

He added: "It is not that investors do not want to put money in the sector, but corruption, unfavourable legislation on tax and the high cost of electricity is keeping their billions away."

AEA Siele lamented that despite the sector being one of the leading employers, it is being taxed twice both by the government through horticultural authority and county governments.

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