It is joy to all Kenyans, particularly Kalenjin who work in the tea firms of Nandi and Kericho. After toiling in the hot sun of November to March and soaking in the rains of April to September, employees in the multinational tea companies get what they deserve as court ruled that all tea industries in Kenya to hike their employee payments by 30%, compulsory annual leave, travel and medical allowances with retirement age pushed further to 60 years.
Two leading private tea companies in Nandi County, Eastern Produce Kenya (EPK) and Nandi Tea Estates LTD,
have not yet announced their positions on state-declared salary increments. Both companies, especially Nandi Tea, has had in the recent past related well with Nandi Community and participated in the CSR as seen in the recent half marathon dubbed Nandi Tea/Sameer Africa Marathon.
EPK on the other hand, the largest multinational tea company in Rift Valley is alleged to disagree with the decision of Employment and Labour Relations court. Hinted to Arise Nandi on condition of anonymity, few internal officials (some Nandis) disagreed with the increment ahead of official meeting to review salaries, shall there be one.
After implementation of this law, plucking workers would enjoy an increase to KSh16 per kilogram of tea leaves up from the current 11.4 shillings.
INJUSTICES AND VIOLATIONS OF LAW
This court decision has come at a right time when there is a complete irregularity and violations of Salaries and Remuneration Commissions’ rules and regulations on setting amount of salaries. Paying about 15,000 – 20,000 to qualified graduates is a defiance of SRC and Labour/Employment Act of Kenya.
Tricks employed by Tea Industries include:
Scrapping permanent employment to casual/contract plan of 2, 3 or 6 months after which your “Employment Number” expires and awaits renewal.
Cruel and dire consequences to petty mistakes, seen as instilling fear to workers and therefore denying them their rights.
Forced and compulsory salary deductions to ‘Associations’ or “Workers’ Scheme” that one is not interested or registered into. Some workers say that they are forcefully registered against their will.
Factory employees, whose shifts change at oddest hours of the night, e.g. 2:00PM or 3:00PM, are neither given adequate security nor allowances.
Over time hours and pay have been phased out in Nandi Tea Estates Limited since the coming of the new General Manager Mr. Abdi.
Many employees have expressed happiness in the ruling of Justice Monica Mbaru when she upheld Kenya Planters and Agricultural Union move to court to sue Kenya Tea Growers Association following the dispute in the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).
See details here.
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