30% salary increase for flower workers in KENYA
Over 22,000 workers of James Finlay flowers have been awarded a pay increase of 30 per cent.
Making the ruling, Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Njagi Marete said although the company had awarded the workers an interim increase of 10 per cent in November last year, the increment was necessary.
“The court rules that in the consolidated case, Unilever Tea and James Finlays flower workers basic pay be increased by 30 per cent for two years applicable for the period 2014-2015,” said Marete.
The judge also ruled that the workers be given one day rest with pay, every working week.
“Gratuity for the workers would remain as stated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2014-2015. The mandatory retirement age of 60 years with an option to retire at 55 years also remains,” he said.
He ordered that the increment be effected within 30 days, and the parties in the suit to bear their own costs.
During his submission, the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union Assistant Secretary General Meshach Khisa had pleaded with the court to award the workers a wage increase of 50 per cent.
“The workers deserve the 50 per cent wage increase since their purchasing power has since been eroded due to the changes in consumer prices index. The court must also see to it that the poverty line gap and wage differences between the multinational tea high and low cadre workers is narrowed,” he said.
Static flower market
In the replying affidavits, the court was told that the companies could not afford any pay increments due to the high energy costs, high labour, farm inputs, transport among other costs.
Finlays flowers submitted that there was a static flower market with low prices and a strong shilling.
“Currently, the rate of inflation in the UK is 0.5 per cent and the country is likely to enter negative inflation this year. The effect of this low inflation is that the price of commodities in the UK is dropping,” said the company.
The ruling was a double blow for Finlays since 20,000 of its striking work force in the tea department were also awarded 30 per cent pay increase on June 20 by Justice Lillian Njega.
The workers were, however, ordered by Justice Nderi Nduma of the Employment and Labour Relations Court siting in Nairobi to resume their duties.
This is after the Kenya Tea Growers Association moved to court under a certificate of urgency seeking an injunction restraining the workers from engaging in the strike.
Photo credit: ACQ5
07/05/2016 – Standard Digital News / http://www.hortibiz.com/item/news/30-salary-increase-for-flower-workers-in-ken/