Union, tea firms clash on manual work quota

tea estates
Multinational tea estates have reduced the volume of work to be performed via manual labour. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A plantation workers’ union has clashed with multinational tea firms over the “huge” work quota allocated to plucking machines.

The multinational tea firms have cut down the volume of work to be performed via manual labour to 45 kilogrammes of green tea per day, with the rest of plucking being done mechanically.

This is a climb-down from the 100 percent mechanisation that the firms have been pushing for in effort to cut down production costs “and cope with challenges of unsteady global tea prices.”

Kenya Plantation and Agriculture Workers Union (KPAWU) has rejected the proposal saying low volume of work available for manual tea pickers will lead to mass unemployment in the sector.

The union Monday warned of workers strike “unless the multi-national firms drop the punitive directive”.


“We will have no option but call workers strike unless the companies suspend such punitive tea plucking conditions,” Eliakim Ochieng, the KPAWU National vice- chairman said.