Minister pledges to resolve flower sector’s disputes

Minister for Labour John Munyes at a past function. Photo/FILE
Minister for Labour John Munyes at a past function. Photo/FILE 

The Ministry of Labour is set to form a special board to address problems in the floriculture industry starting next month, minister John Munyes has said.

He said the Special Wages Council would be holding monthly meetings to discuss industrial issues in the sector which has recently been hit by worker’s strikes and protests.

Naivasha MP John Mututho has in response introduced a Bill in Parliament, which seeks to increase workers’ wages from Sh3,100 to Sh7,000 a month. The Bill also sought to provide for house allowance.

Mr Munyes decried the continued exploitation of workers in the flower sector, arguing that the frequent strikes in the farms were a clear indication that employees were not comfortable.

Flower exports rank amongst Kenya’s top foreign exchange earners.

He added that the council would also look into other matters affecting the workers including safety.

“We intend to prevent the strikes that are a common phenomenon in the flower sector. These in turn greatly affect development,” he said.

The minister said that the sector was among the leading earners yet this was not reflected in the workers’ lives.

He spoke in Naivasha during the commissioning of the 280 megawatt KenGengeothermal power plant at Olkaria on Monday.

However, workers’ representative, John Muturi, while vowing to continue with the strikes, said that employers in the sector have oppressed them for years and refused to address their plight.

“Despite the harsh economic times, we have continued to receive peanuts and work in very poor conditions,” he said.