Thousands of employees who have been plucking tea for Unilever and James Finlay Companies have threatened to fight against unfair wages and forceful retirement to the end.
This emerged as the residents of Kericho and Bomet took their frustrations to streets accusing the two multinational companies for failing to review workers’ pay rise despite many appeals.
The helpless locals who have sought assistance from local leaders and courts in vain led by the Kenya Plantation Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) region’s Secretary General Dickson Sang said, multinationals have decided to take all benefits and resources from their own land.
According to Sang, the companies recently offered employees purported Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) with little package with an objective of killing the Recognition Agreement by strategizing to lower the 50+1 rule.
“They forced sick employees, expectant mothers and even those diagnosed with terminal illness to sign their VER document which is just like signing their death certificates in advance” he added
We have established that the employees to be fired have loans with Ndege Chai Sacco and firing them means sending their children home and as well as subjecting them to unending frustrations.
The employees also accused the companies of gradual replacement of human labour with tea-plucking machines.
Sang wants Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA) to stop being micromanaged by the James Finlays to avoid signing an overdue CBA.
“KTGA should accept our constant calls and avail themselves for a meeting and signing of this overdue CBA. They are intimidating workers and robbing them their basic rights, laid down human rights protocols and conventions,” he said