Following a Collective Bargaining Agreement signed between Kenya’s umbrella worker’s union Central Organization of Trade Union(COTU) and the country’s Agricultural Employers' Association(AEA), over 60,000 flower farm workers are set to enjoy better salaries. The deal will also be looking into improving the working conditions at the flower farms.
AEA CEO Wesley Siele said upon finalization, the two year CBA deal which will be expiring next year July will be backdated to July 2015.
Out of approximately 100,000 flower farm workers in Kenya, nearly 54,000 are said to be employed on casual basis with the lowest getting a starting salary of between Sh7,000 and Sh10,000 with allowances. Upon implementation of the CBA, the starting basic salary will be at least between Sh8,750 and Sh12,500.
“This CBA deal is a big win for majority of unskilled workers in the sector who are the forgotten lot,” said COTU Secretary General, Francis Atwoli.
And added, “It is not that investors do not want to put money in the sector, but corruption, unfavourable legislation on tax and the high cost of electricity is keeping their billions away."
The AEA CEO however expressed concern that despite the sector being one of the leading employers, it is being taxed twice both by the government through horticultural authority and county governments.
Flower farms pay agricultural produce cess and have to get single business permits from the counties. All flower farms are required to remit taxes to the Ministry of Irrigation, the Water Resource Management Authority (Warma) and the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).