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Oserian, Cotu strike deal to rehire workers who declined pay cut

flowers-oserian

Horticulture is the single leading export to Europe, earning the country more than Sh70bn last year. Photo/FILE

Summary

  • The Naivasha-based firm sent home the 800 employees in May as it struggled with cash flow following a slump in sales due to Covid-19.
  • The firm pays its staff Sh20,700 a month and had requested them to accept Sh10,350 in the light of slow business in the world market.
  • Horticulture industry was hit hard by coronavirus after the closure of the auction in Amsterdam that resulted to cancellation of orders as many countries imposed lockdown to curb the spread.

Oserian flower firm has reached an agreement with a labour union that will see employees who had been dismissed for refusing to take a 50 percent pay cut resume work.

The flower firm, which is the largest in Kenya, signed the memorandum of understanding with the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) mid this month that will see sacked employees resume work in phases with 50 percent of their payment deferred for three months when the situation is expected to have improved.

The Naivasha-based firm sent home the 800 employees in May as it struggled with cash flow following a slump in sales due to Covid-19.

“We have agreed to have the workers resume work on a 50 percent pay with the rest of the money expected to be paid in three months,” said Mary Kinyua, director of human resource and administration at the firm.

Ms Kinyua added that they expect to bring back all the 800 employees by December. So far over 100 have been recalled.

She said the start of peak season would require more workforce to meet the labour required in the farm.

The firm pays its staff Sh20,700 a month and had requested them to accept Sh10,350 in the light of slow business in the world market.

Horticulture industry was hit hard by coronavirus after the closure of the auction in Amsterdam that resulted to cancellation of orders as many countries imposed lockdown to curb the spread.

Horticulture production, especially flowers and vegetables, have remained low since April when effects of Covid-19 in the country became worse, impacting negatively on the yields.

Oserian recently announced it cannot service its recent orders of 900,000 stems of flowers a week to their overseas customers because of low production.

“We have got an order of 900,000 stems of flowers to supply in Dutch but we can only meet 50 percent of this because of low production,” she said.

Flower production in the last eight months declined by 20 percent with vegetables coming down by 23 percent, highlighting the impact that Coronavirus has had in the sector.