Flower farm workers strike after accident
| February 1st 2013
By Antony Gitonga
Naivasha, Kenya: Over 2,000 workers from two leading flower farms in Naivasha downed tools after some of their colleagues were involved in a road accident.
The workers from Panda and Star flower farms went on strike following the Friday morning accident that left at least ten workers seriously injured.
The workers were complaining of the failure by their employers to provide transport to them and being profit-oriented.
Trouble started after a group of workers hiked a lift to their workplace but the car which was overloaded lost control and rammed into a tree.
According to one of the victims who declined to be named, the pick-up started swaying before losing control.
“The vehicle was overloaded and the driver could not control it and he lost control and hit a tree throwing us outside,” said the victim.
Ten of the flower farm workers were rushed to Naivasha district hospital three of them in critical condition.
The incident saw their colleagues down tools demanding that the management address the issue of transport in the farms.
According to the secretary Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) Ferdinand Juma, the employers had for a long time ignored the issue of transport.
Juma noted that hundreds of workers in various farms in the area did not offer their workers transport forcing them to seek lifts.
“At the moment, there is anxiety among the workers who do not know the fate of their colleagues in hospital,” he said.
The unionist called on the Ministry of Labor to investigate some flower farmers who were mistreating their workers.
A senior manager from Panda said the workers had since returned to work after the issue was addressed.
At the hospital, emotions run high as relatives and workers arrived to establish the status of the injured.
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