Union presses on with protest against tea plucking machines

Workers at Kibabet Tea Estate in Nandi Hills use a tea plucking machine on October 13, 2010. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Mr Omasire urged the Nandi and Kericho governments to implement laws proscribing the employment of machines.

A trade union has once again called for the total ban on use of tea plucking machines, citing grave risks to the economy and families.

The Kenya Plantations and Agriculture Workers Union (KPAWU) said the machines have caused more than 10,000 job loses in tea estates.

National Organising Secretary Henry Omasire urged the Nandi and Kericho County governments to implement laws proscribing the employment of machines.

"They are using machines as means of exploiting workers while some companies have cut workforce from 8,000 to less than 200," Mr Omasire said on Monday in Nakuru.

TAXES

Nandi already did that in April this year through a bill that will force multinational tea firms to incur heavy taxes when operating the machines.

Deputy Secretary General Thomas Kipkemboi said the poor living standards in the county will worsen if the use of machines is perpetuated.

"They should be banned until when living standards in Kenya have improved. Kericho and other towns whose economies rely on tea farming will become ghost towns since circulation of money will reduce," he said.

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