The Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) is blaming the current high level of job losses in the Floriculture sector on double taxation of farmers by both the national and county governments.
The union secretary-general David Omulama said the farmers were currently paying around 15 taxes to the two levels of government and called on parliament to streamline the matter to help address the high cost of electricity and other production costs afflicting the floriculture farmers.
Omulama cited Karuturi flower farm in Naivasha where over 3,000 workers were laid off adding that one year down the line, the workers were yet to receive their dues occasioning untold sufferings among the affected former farm workers and their dependents.
This emerged when the union executive committee met for the first time in a Naivasha hotel after the Industrial court directed the registrar of trade unions to register the new body.
Briefing the press in Naivasha , Omulama admitted that the sector faced a number of challenges which he said could be addressed without industrial unrest through proper consultative channels.
We are committed to addressing the plight of workers including low payment, casualization of labor, long working hours and poor working conditions, he said.
The unionist said the Karuturi case was not an exception and that the farm could be reopened if there was goodwill from the government and the courts.
It’s emerging the workers statutory deductions were not remitted meaning that the workers have lost nearly all their savings having worked for over 20 years at the farm, he regretted.
Omulama at the same time assured the flower farm workers in Naivasha that their security was guaranteed ahead of the elections adding that they should exercise their democratic right and vote in the area they worked and resided.
We have held meetings with the area security committee which has assured us that security is tight and we are calling on the employers to allow the workers to vote, he said.
The chairman of the union Francis Wanyange said that they were ready to roll out their programme and start recruitment of members into the union despite the union having been registered in 2014 but due to court cases took time to start their operations.
He however said the union was now fully recognized by the State and that the officials were ready and willing to work with employers and the workers without antagonizing any of them for the success of the sector.
Source: Kenya News Agency