November 25th 2017

Top Stories / National

Pyrethrum company workers on strike, press for management changes

The workers said that despite the government pumping more money towards the revival of the pyrethrum sector, nothing significant has been achieved considering that processing of flowers is done once in a year

By Jackson Okataamboleokata@gmail.comWednesday, 24 May 2017 14:32 EAT

Over 250 employees of the ailing Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK, formerly Pyrethrum Board of Kenya) have gone on strike demanding the immediate overhaul of the entire management of the company over alleged gross mismanagement. The workers have boycotted work from Tuesday prompting management to call in police to guard the factory premises located along Stanley Mathenge Road in Nakuru Town's Industrial Area.

The workers, waving twigs, accused the current management led by the managing director Paul Lolwerikoi of failing to remit deductions for Pareto sacco as well as pensions, forcing them to be listed for poor credit worthiness by credit reference bureaus.

They expressed concern that proceeds from most of the company’s assets like rent from farms and houses in Milimani and Industrial Area in Nakuru were ending up in individual accounts, adding that auditors sent from the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters normally collude with the management to cover up the corrupt deals.

The shop steward of the Chemicals and Allied Workers Union Willis Omollo said that despite their writing numerous letters to the management over a collective bargaining agreement that is four years overdue, the letters have been ignored forcing the workers to result to industrial action.

The workers said that despite the government pumping more money towards the revival of the pyrethrum sector, nothing significant has been achieved considering that processing of flowers is done once in a year. A spot check at the factory revealed that the last processing was done in August last year.

While calling on the president to personally address their concerns just like he gave attention to the Webuye Pan Paper factory, Mumias Sugar factory, coffee and miraa farmers, the workers said the pyrethrum processing company is on the verge of collapse if urgent measure will not be put in place to overhaul its management.

Joseck Momanyi, who is a shop steward at the firm, said that company vehicles have also been used for private business which is against the Public Officer’s Ethics Act 2003. He said that most company vehicles have become unserviceable due to misuse.

George Onyango, a worker, said that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should step in and carry out a forensic audit of the company accounts.

He expressed concern that the company is unable to buy simple spares since Lolwerikoi assumed office less than two years ago. The managing director did not answer calls or reply to text messages.a

The writer is contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Nakuru County





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