Former flower workers protest over payment delay

More than 500 former workers of the once vibrant Karuturi flower farm in Naivasha staged a demonstration Monday to protest over what they said was a deliberate delay by CFC Bank to release their benefits amounting to over Sh.200 million.

The irate workers claimed that despite the bank selling off some of the farm assets, it was unwilling to settle the workers’ debt after the farm closed down four years ago and put under receivership.

The workers, who held a peaceful demonstration against the bank in South Lake Naivasha, accused the bank managers of acting in contempt of the court by selling some of the farm assets like polythene papers and farm equipment despite existence of a court order restraining them.

The more than 2, 500 ex-employees are demanding a total of Sh.221 million in benefit arrears from the farm which closed its doors over a debt it owes CFC bank.

Their spokesperson, Samson Auda said that they were concerned over the move by the bank to sell off most of the farm assets, while ignoring the plight of the former workers, who have been camping at their dilapidated houses at the farm waiting for their benefits.

The workers blamed the bank for their afflictions and appealed to the national government to intervene and have the bank pay them their dues from the proceeds received from the sale of farm assets.

The bank management should come out clean on the issue of debts, Auda said.

Auda, who is also the farm’s Chief Shop-steward, said a case which the workers filed was still pending at the Court of Appeal and has been postponed on various occasions putting the fate of the workers in jeopardy.

The workers wondered why it had taken the receiver manager five years to pay debtors from the proceeds of the flower sales, adding that they had written to the Labour Cabinet Secretary and his Trade counterpart seeking for interventions to no avail.

We are scared because the hospital that served us has since closed down and we fear the school our children attend is next in line, the workers said.

They now want the government to probe CFC bank which was appointed as the liquidator and come up with the way forward, noting their patience was running out due to the untold suffering they were undergoing.

Source: Kenya News Agency