Over 30,000 workers will from the month of November smile all the way to the bank after receiving salary increment following a meeting convened by Central Organisation of Trade Union, Kenya (COTU) Sectary General, Francis Atwoli.
In a statement, the COTU boss indicated that all the workers, drawn from the tea growing regions, would receive an increase of at least 12 per cent on all their salaries.
Most of the workers, who are tea pluckers in Kericho region, had been forced to contend with poor pay despite putting in a lot of labour in their tasks.
“Yesterday, I signed a CBA (Collective Bargain Agreement) that saw a 12 per cent salary increment for more than 30,000 tea pluckers in Nandi, Kericho, Bomet, Nyamira and Limuru regions who are represented by the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union,” stated Atwoli.
With the new changes, workers who made the lowest income of Ksh19,557 will now receive an increase of more than Ksh2,000, taking home Ksh21,900.
The bargain also saw the highest-earning workers’ fortune rise from Ksh35,583 to Ksh60,559.
Atwoli further noted that the increment was arrived at after a careful assessment of its impact to both the beneficiaries and the investors.
He noted that although the raise was not that huge, it would sustain the workers.
“That increment is not enough but will sustain the workforce as we go to the next negotiation that is the 2021-2022 CBA, which we will handle responsibly to ensure that the interests of all the players are catered for,” he added.
The unprecedented deal comes even as the economy, especially in the tea sector, continues to be battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The sector is facing a very difficult time but through negotiations, we came to an understanding and managed to finalise the CBA without threat, intimidation and workers going on the streets to protest,” stated Apollo Khaniri, KPAWU Chief Executive Officer.
In 2020, a section of workers in the sector had filed a complaint with the UN accusing multinationals of violating human rights against them by not offering assistance.