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Cotu backs change in control of tea firms

ROY LUMBE

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) has thrown its weight behind a proposal to have management of tea multinationals handled by county governments.

Secretary General Francis Atwoli said the union was facing a hard time with the tea multinationals over mistreatment of workers.

“We are having problems with multinationals who want to lower the wages to five and six per cent and we want to call on the government through the Minister of Labour to tame them,” he said.

According to him, devolved governments will provide an alternative solution on how to handle the workers.

While referring to the recent move by the multinationals to use machines in harvesting tea at the expense of the workers, Atwoli vowed to fight the move and ensure that the workers get justice. Atwoli spoke in Nakuru while signing a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Kenya Tea Packers (Ketepa) for 2018/2019.

The company has increased the worker’s salaries by 20 per cent for the two year at 10 per cent for each year.

The beneficiaries of the increment include messengers, tea packers and artisans. Atwoli challenged the rest of the tea companies to put the workers’ interests at heart and offer better working conditions.

“Companies should strive to put the workers’ interests at heart and offer better working conditions for a better working environment,”he added. Other terms reviewed in the CBA include annual leave, regulation of working hours and medical allowances.

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