COTU secretary general sues multinational tea firms

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli has vowed to sue  international tea companies in London for violating a six-month Collective Bargain Agreement.

Atwoli has engaged McKeRon Law firm in London to pursue the ills allegedly committed by the firms against employees in Kenya.

According to the KPAWU lawyer Meshak Khisa , “Six years down the line workers in multinational tea companies have not earned any pay increments despite rulings made by the Industrial Court.”

In addition he said, “As a union, we cannot sit back and watch rulings by the Industrial Court being turned down by the Court of Appeal.”

He further said, after workers were awarded 30 per cent by the Industrial Court and the Court of Appeal overruled that.

KPAWU deputy secretary general Thomas Kemboi regretted that the tea firms are still practising colonialism 55 years after Kenya attained independence.

“We have no option now but to take the multinational companies to the London court where we think justice will prevail,” Kemboi said.

Secretary general Francis Atwoli during a press briefing at Cotu offices in Nairobi on September 12, 2018. /HEPHZIBAR BUKASU.

Organising secretary Henry Omosire told MPs from tea growing areas they will be voted out in the 2022 General Election if they fail to stop the firms from oppressing workers.

He said most of the MPs got overwhelming support from tea pickers and it is time for the leaders to reciprocate.

Omasire said most workers are living miserable lives.

“They are living from hand to mouth because they earn peanuts. They cannot even pay school fees for their children or afford the exorbitant medical fee whenever family members fall sick,” Omasire said.

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