Friday 27 April 2012
Farm worker problems
The agricultural workers' union has secured the return of more than 3,000 workers to work.
The factory and plantation workers will resume work this month, the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union said yesterday.
Most workers had been sent home on compulsory leave last year due to a harsh climate that affected production.
The permanent and pensionable workers in the tea, sisal and flower farms and factories were temporary relieved of their duties due to destruction by frost of large tracts of the plantation between December and March.
KPAWU's deputy secretary Thomas Kipkemboi said most of the farms in the high potential areas across the country were affected including Limuru, Kiambu, Kerugoya and Nandi Hills.
"Unlike before, we never had long dry periods but now you never know what to expect anymore.
This is because of the extreme impacts of the current climatic changes. Even the highly productive areas like Limuru and Nandi Hills are falling victims," Kipkemboi said.
He however said the union will be consulting with the employers to formulate an alternative programme for the workers during the low productive season.
Instead of dismissing them for a while, the KPAWU deputy secretary said the management should offer them alternative work.
"They can allow them to plough in the farms or even prepare firewood rather than sending them away. Remember, they also have families to cater for," he said.
He expressed concern at the growing trend of cash crop growers uprooting their plants due to loss of markets. "Many coffee and pyrethrum growers are opting for food crops.
These (cash crops) are very lucrative crops. They are in high demand but the operating environment is not conducive. I believe this will soon change and the relevant industries will be revived," he said.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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