Sugar industry workers demand clearance of salary arrears before sector reforms

Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers (KUSPAW) has demanded the clearance of outstanding salary arrears before any further reforms or changes are made in the sugar sub-sector.

During the National Assembly joint committee meeting on Finance, National Planning & Agriculture co- chaired by Dr. John Mutunga and Kuria Kimani, the workers said the payment will provide much-needed relief to the workers who have gone without pay for several months.

Lincoln Aveza, a representative of KUSPAW, said employees at Chemelil Sugar Company have gone without their rightful salaries for 53 months.

Their counterparts at Nzoia Sugar Company have received no pay for the past 15 months while those at Sony Sugar have not been paid for 19 months.

“Even retirees have been forced into retirement without receiving their due payments,” said Aveza.

In their submissions, the Union raised concern about the rights of workers in the sugar sub- sector and sought reassurances about the protection of their rights and employment following the looming possibility of commercialization, mergers and revitalization.

Regarding mismanagement of public mills, the union asserted that punitive measures should be taken against managers and directors responsible for the debts owed to farmers, workers and suppliers.

The lawmakers underscored the urgency in prioritizing the payment of the salary arrears yet expressed concern over the discrepancies between figures presented by the Workers Union and those tabled in the Treasury Memorandum.

Tigania West MP Dr. John Mutunga said those who caused problems in the sugar industry should be brought to book.

By Obegi Malack  

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