The Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) has decried the rising cases of casualization of labor in the sector.
The union is accusing some employers mainly in the flower sector of using the COVID-19 pandemic to terminate workers’ contracts and turn them into seasonal employees.
This emerged when the union held its nationwide elections in Naivasha where new members were elected into office.
According to the union Secretary-General Issah Wafula, terms of conditions for hundreds of workers have changed as a result the casualization of labor.
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He termed the development a bad precedent noting that the workers are at the mercy of middle-men who are keen on profit margins.
“We have seen an emerging trend where employers are outsourcing labor, this has a negative effect on both the workers and the union,” he said.
Wafula at the same time challenged the Ministry of Labor to intensify their monthly inspections in the farms.
He noted that cases of low wages and effects of chemicals were still rife and have adverse affects on the workers.
Incoming KEFHAU Chairman, Peter Pallang’a noted that the pandemic had affected both the employers and employees in the sector.
He said they are keen to work amicably with the employers while at the same time protecting the rights of the workers.
“Despite the pandemic we need to review the workers’ terms and conditions of payment, this can be resolved by amending the archaic labor laws,” he said.
Pallang’a said that the union will avoid demonstrations and court battles with employers terming them as expensive.
“Many workers mainly in the flowers and fruits farms have not been recruited into any union and these are the people we are targeting,” he said.
The union treasurer Bernard Mukhaisi noted that for years the employees’ salaries had stagnated despite the high profit that farmers were making from their sales in the EU market.