18 February 2013

Kenya: Better Pay for Flower Workers Wages Council Set Up

The move to raise the minimum wages for flower farm workers went a notch high following the launch of the floriculture wages council.

The new council, which has representatives from the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, Federation of Kenya Employers, the government and other stakeholders will address the issue of wages and the working conditions.

The government formed the independent body which will see workers in the floriculture sector removed from the agricultural wages order.

According to Isaah Wafula, the assistant secretary general for Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Union, the council will come up with recommendations on how to improve the sector.

He admitted that for years, workers in the sector had worked in poor conditions and were underpaid noting that these would be addressed by the new council.

"The committee is expected to come up with recommendations by May this year and the workers will reap handsomely from their sweat," he said.

Former Naivasha MP John Mututho, who pushed for the council's formation, said it is expected that flower workers minimum salary will shoot from the current Sh3,000 to Sh10,000 per month.

"The country is among leading producers of flowers in the world but workers have little to smile due to the low wages but this will now change," he said.

Mututho accused some flower farmers of exploiting their workers and put them on notice adding that it was time they changed. According to him, out of the 57 flower farms in Naivasha, only a handful respected labor and international laws.

"The face of the floriculture sector is changing and though a lot needs to be done, this is the beginning of things to come," he said.

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