The woes bedevilling former workers of Karuturi flower farm in Naivasha have deepened after the receiver-manager kicked them out of their houses.
Following the move, the Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) issued a one-week notice to the receiver-managers to rescind the decision or face legal action.
In a letter signed by the union’s organising secretary Meshack Khisa, the houses that belonged to the workers have now been given to other tenants a move he termed as illegal.
He said although the company closed shop and the workers were no longer required to work there, they had a right to live in the houses until their demands and allowances were paid.
“We have learned with dismay that you have evicted former employees of Karuturi farm from the company-allocated staff quarters. You have instead rented out the houses to individuals despite the fact that the houses are registered under the names of Karuturi Limited in the Companies Act”, read the letter.
Khisa said the former workers were owed millions of shillings by the company adding that they were bound to live there until their dues were paid.“No one wants to live there but they should not be forced by the liquidators to move out yet they have not been paid for the years they have worked at the farm,” he said.
He claimed some of the neighbouring farms in the area had leased the houses for their staff while those from Karuturi were forcibly evicted to pave way for the new occupants. “We demand that you return household property that are within your custody and those illegally obtained failure to which we will instigate criminal proceedings for unlawful eviction,”
“Should you not return the said property within seven days we will file legal proceedings for wrongful and fraudulent trading contrary to your statutory obligations”, reads the letter in part.
This came as local leaders said the workers were living in abject poverty with the houses being filled up in sewerage and litter sprawling all over.
Local Maendeleo Ya Wanawake organization branch chair Esther Nyokabi said they had been forced to distribute food items to the families who have nowhere to turn to go since the farm was closed.
Nyokabi alleged that no company was willing to accommodate the workers in spite of their experience saying they have been left to the mercies of local residents.