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Chemelil sugar company workers strike

14 January 2013, 13:23 Oduor Omondi

Chemelil Sugar Company employees in Kisumu County have downed their tools demanding for salary arrears.

The sugar firm also owes cane farmers a further Kshs.230million as confirmed by its management recently at a public forum held at Chemelil Round About.

Muhoroni District commissioner, Solomon Abwaku said the workers went on strike soon after rejecting KES 3, 500 offered to each of them by the company.

Abwaku said the workers protested demanding that the company Managing Director Charles Owelle intervene to ensure they get paid a reasonable amount.

Inside sources however said that the management and union officials have struck a deal on behalf of the workers to have each of them paid KES 7 500 while the rest would be settled when the Company resume operations.

Chemelil Sugar Company closed down for annual maintenance over the next 8 weeks but farmers have so far not been paid a total of KES 230 million as earlier agreed.

The Company’s Human Resource Manager, Jecinter Kipkorir confirmed that indeed they have closed all operations to facilitate the maintenance exercise.

Kipkorir said the locals have been recruited to do the maintenance and earn a living instead of importing labor, a fact that in the past put the company management on a collision course with the community.

“Even though we owe the farmers and employees arrears we appeal for patience so that we can be able to operate continuously and ensure they reap maximum benefits from the sugar firm”, she pleaded.

She said the rehabilitation is expected to significantly enhance the plant’s efficiency and increase sugar production by 200 per cent.

The exercise which commenced on November 26, 2012 will cost KES 500million out of which KES 450 million is a loan from Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) and the balance of KES 50 million is from internally generated funds.

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