alexa Company fleecing workers, says MP - Daily Nation

Company fleecing workers, says MP

Friday May 5 2000

Members of Parliament yesterday expressed outrage over alleged racial discrimination and exploitation of indigenous Kenyan workers at the multinational Del Monte (K) Ltd.

The Naivasha based Homegrown Kenya Limited was also accused by Kanu MP Dr Abdullahi Ali of exploiting Kenyan workers.

Juja MP Stephen Ndicho said racial discrimination, exploitation of workers, poor pay and lack of basic work tools were rife at the Thika-based Del Monte Ltd, where he said indigenous employees lived in poor housing.

The SDP MP said certain workers were categorised as seasonals and were not give permanent jobs even after working for as long as 30 years.

Mr Ndicho, who said he worked for the multinational as a supervisor, explained that the workers were even forced to harvest pineapples under the rain.

An angry Kitutu Masaba MP George Anyona accused multi-national companies of putting workers "in fictitious categories'' to exploit them. The Kenya Social Congress MP asked the government to ensure that the so called classifications are done in a legal way to enable the workers receive their terminal benefits.

Mr Ndicho was supported by Opposition colleagues David Murathe (Gatanga), George Nyanja (Limuru) and Mutua Katuku (Mwala).

Labour Assistant Minister Jesse Maisz told the House that the problems at the company were being addressed by the management. He said a Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed in March.

The lowest paid worker will now earn Sh8,400 up from Sh6,409 while the highest paid unionisable worker will now earn Sh27,125.

The minister explained that out of the 5,500 workers, 2,225 were seasonal (he explained the term seasonal as permanent) while 3,306 were casuals.

Dr Ali, the Wajir North MP, said workers at Homegrown were kept as casuals for as long as six months.