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Help us get paid, flower farm workers tell Senate

RIFT VALLEY
By Anthony Gitonga | January 27th 2017
Former Karuturi flower farm workers follow proceedings during a community meeting at Sher grounds in Naivasha. The workers from the farm that was put under receivership have now petitioned the Senate to look into their woes and have them paid their dues. Pic By Antony Gitonga

Some 2,000 sacked workers of Karuturi Flower Farm, now under receivership, have asked the Senate to intervene so the company can pay their dues, which run into millions.

David Kilo, the workers' spokesman, said receiver managers of the Naivasha-based company had also threatened to kick them out of company houses for unpaid rent.

Mr Kilo said a school owned by the company also faced closure after parents were told to start paying fees, which they cannot afford.

Electricity and water supply to the workers' houses was also reportedly disconnected for unpaid bills. The workers said they feared contracting waterborne diseases as they were now forced to drink untreated water from Lake Naivasha.

"The company wants to kick us out of the houses yet we have nowhere else to go. We are also struggling to feed our children because the company has refused to pay us," Kilo said.

He called on the company to also introduce a school feeding programme to retain pupils, claiming several children had died of hunger.

"We are also calling on the Chief Justice to step in and ensure that workers are paid their dues in full," said Kilo Thursday. 

Former Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara said she would table documents before the Senate's Labour and Agricultural committees detailing how the workers had suffered after they were denied their pay.

"I will personally lead a delegation to the Senate and help these workers air their grievances and see how best they can be assisted," Ms Kihara said.

Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union representative Ferdinand Juma, who spoke after new liquidators took over the flower farm in September 2016, said they were kept in the dark about the workers' fate.

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