Sony Sugar workers strike over pay


Sony Sugar workers strike over pay

Sony Sugar Company workers protesting outside the company over delayed salaries. PHOTO | BENSON AYIENDA | NMG
Sony Sugar Company workers protesting outside the company over delayed salaries. PHOTO | BENSON AYIENDA | NMG 

More than 2,000 Sony Sugar company workers have downed their tools over unpaid salaries.

The workers held demonstrations on the streets in Awendo, Migori County, demanding close to Sh100 million in salary arrears.

Kenya Union of Sugarcane Plantation and Allied Workers Deputy Secretary General John Ogutu said the management had failed to pay workers for the past three months.

“The casual workers have not received salaries for three months (January, February and March) while permanent workers are yet to receive February and March salaries,” Mr Ogutu said.

The workers said said they have been in a cat-and-mouse chase with the management on issues of payment since September last year.

The workers, in a letter by Mr Ogutu dated March 23, 2019, issued a seven-day strike notice to the company.

“We are officially on strike as from today and all workers, whether on contract or permanent be informed that you will only return to work, when the management pays us,” reads the letter.

The union boss further stated that the company was yet to address issues raised by the workers, adding that they will ensure all services are paralysed if the money is not wired to their accounts.

Antoinette Natemo, a union committee member, said they had approached the management to address the salary issues but nothing was forthcoming.

“We tried talking to the management on several occasions but they have failed to comply. The workers are suffering because they have bills to pay and children to educate,” said Mrs Natemo.

Initially, a deal reached to have the salaries paid by April 5 and 18 respectively was not honoured, said Mr Ogutu.

Sony Sugar company Managing Director Bernard Otieno said he was on leave and could not comment on the ongoing strike.

The company’s public relations officer Ruth Opole said they were holed up in a meeting to solve the impasse and would respond later.

However, by the time of filing this report, she had not given any comment.

Sony Sugar Company is one of the State-owned sugar millers riddled in debt but lined for privatisation.

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