Court grants tea sector workers a 30pc pay hike

A woman picks tea leaves at a plantation in Nandi Hills, in Kenya's highlands region ...
A woman picks tea leaves at a plantation in Nandi Hills, in Kenya's highlands region west of capital Nairobi, November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

Over 100,000 workers in the Tea Sector have reason to celebrate after the Employment and Labor Relations court awarded them a 30 per cent pay increase across the board.

This was after High Court Judge Monica Mbaru reviewed the Collective  Bargaining Agreement (CBA)  agreed on for the year 2014/20.

In her judgment, Justice Mbaru was of the view that in CBA negotiations, it is upon the employer to demonstrate the trends from the most current financial statements for the past 3-5 years so as to establish the element of inability to afford and sustain any additional wage bill.

Tea workers will further benefit from annual leave, travelling allowance and medical allowance.

The Judge further put the retirement age at 60, with the option to voluntarily retire at 55 years.

In her ruling, Justice Mbaru said that the argument by Kenya Tea Growers Association that the retirement age be reduced is retrogressive.

The union had disagreed with Kenya Tea Growers Association — an umbrella association for several tea estates — and Unilever Tea Ltd for offering workers salary increments of 1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively instead of the 24 per cent agreed upon in the CBA.

This comes after the Kenya Planters and Agricultural Union moved to court to sue the Kenya Tea Growers Association following a dispute with the CBA.

By Dzuya Walters

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