The Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) through its General Secretary who is also the COTU-K Secretary General Bro. Francis Atwoli declared a strike. This is to compel the employers who are multinational tea companies to impliment their CBAs in totality.
Bro. Atwoli lamented that the employers had formed a habit of rushing to court to frustrate implementation of the CBA and “defeat justice” whenever the union sort to have the CBA implimented. The tea companies have failed to implement pay agreements since 2014.
“We have waited for pay hikes for the past four years but it appears the employers have become adamant. This has forced us to tell our members to down tools to press for the demands,”
he said at Moi Gardens in Kericho town on Thursday.
“I am asking my members to stay put and boycott duty. It doesn’t matter how long the strike will take….all we want is implementation of the CBAs for better salaries.”
The tea picking boycott started at some tea firms in the South Rift region on Wednesday and continued today.
It affects tea companies which are members of the Kenya Tea Growers Association in areas including Sotik, Nandi, Kericho, Bomet and Limuru.
The Industrial and Labour Relations Court awarded the workers at tea firms a 30% pay increase which has not been implimented. Bro. Atwoli threatened to ask the International Labour Organization to tell tea buyers in foreign countries to boycott the produce. This is on grounds that workers are subjected to poor working conditions and the tea is not processed in the right environment.
“If they (employers) are not ready to address our concerns, I will not hesitate to take that route.”
KTGA said the strike is illegal as negotiations on their demands are ongoing.
The Central Organization of Trade Unions boss said he will meet governors from tea growing regions to discuss strategies for forcing tea companies to stop using machines as this has led to the sacking of workers.