Naivasha flower firms on spot over poor pay
Employees have also accused the flower firms of crafting a way of escaping responsibility by issuing one month contracts
Employees of two flower firms in Nakuru County have petitioned the senate over what they have described as poor remuneration, sexual harassment and handling of harmful chemicals.
In the petition presented by nominated Senator Martha Wangari, the petitioners have accused Homegrown Flamingo Holdings and Aquilla Flower Farm of deplorable labour and social welfare conditions, misapplication of the occupational safety and health Act and related labour laws .
“Sexual harassment against female employees is rife. This is especially so when a female employee has spent few days or weeks away from work due to personal or health problems and wants to re-continue with the contract,” reads the petition.
The petitioners, who have asked the senate to conceal their names for fear of being victimized, say contrary to a policy where greenhouses should remain sealed for 30 days after each chemical spray, the Naivasha based firms have been violating the provision.
“The employers have been forcing employees to enter such greenhouses before the 30 days are over to do pruning work, or spraying work. This happens all the time and constitutes over 50 per cent of causalities in the flower sector,” they said.
They have also accused the firms of “crafting a way of escaping responsibility by issuing one month contracts”.
They say through the one month contracts, the firms avoid awarding employees benefits such as house allowance.
They say the firms only provide gratuity to an employee with a contract of more than five years .
“We pray to the senate to urgently investigate the matters raised and prepare a report on the labour and social welfare concerns of the employees in the flower farms,” they told the senate.
Senate’s Labour and Social Welfare committee chaired by Kilifi senator Stewart Madzayo has 60 days to investigate and table the report in the House.
Flower firms have for a long time been accused of neglecting and abusing their workers as they seek to maximise profits.