Officials at the Kenya Plantations and Agriculture Workers Union (KPAWU) are on the spot following claims of extortion from operators of several flower firms in the country.
Flower farm managers in Eldoret and Thika alleged that union officials demand to be bribed to call off strike notices or put an end to employee go-slows.
KPAWU officials, however, say the farms have delayed workers’ dues for months and summarily dismissed employees for taking part in industrial action contrary to labour regulations. The standoff has cast the spotlight on collective bargaining agreements struck between union officials and employers in the labour intensive horticultural sector.
This has seen investors seek the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection’s intervention.
“We struck collective bargaining agreements with KPAWU representatives and have been honouring the terms of the deal in full,” explained Joel Busienei, farm manager at Disdain Flower Farm in Thika.
He said trouble with union officials begun in the middle of this year when the farm faced cash flow challenges and delayed remitting workers’ dues.