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Flower farms continue to lay-off workers

Hundreds of flower farm workers in Naivasha are now facing more lay-offs as flower farmers entered the second phase of mass lay-offs of their workers as COVID-19 pandemic continues to bite.

The employers are said to target the half-salaried workers who escaped the first phase of lay-offs that saw hundreds of their colleagues sent home.

The chair, Kenya Plantations and Allied Workers Union, Ferdinard Juma said more than 1000 workers were laid off in the first phase with Oserian company limited which is one of the largest flower farm in Naivasha being the most affected.

He regretted that the lay-offs had left many workers jobless and unable to feed their families as they were not prepared for the drastic actions.

Juma however said some flower farms such as Longonot horticulture had offered their workers an option of voluntary resignation where more than 200 workers were now having dues processed after accepting the offer.

Juma at the same time said the union was engaging with the County government of Nakuru and the national government to see how best to assist the laid off workers.

Naivasha deputy county commissioner Mathioya Mbogo said the government was collaborating with the area county government to distribute food reliefs to the affected workers.

He said chiefs in the sub-county have been directed to identify the needy cases in their jurisdictions and register them to ensure they benefit from the food programme.

In the month of March this year, many flower farms in Naivasha sent hundreds of their workers on paid leaves while retaining some on half pay as the lockdown in European Union countries, which serves as their main flower market, was put in place as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The farms are now unable to pay the remaining workers hence the inevitable lay-offs.

By Esther Mwangi

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