Pyrethrum Board workers strike over three-month salary delay

More than 100 workers at the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya have gone on strike, claiming that they have not been paid for three months.

According to the workers, the board’s management had piled arrears amid claims that the company was facing financial difficulties.

A worker who sought anonymity said: “We have had enough of the excuses from management. We are also facing hard situations because of the rising cost of living”.

It was further established that scores of employees were engaged in a sit-in outside their work stations as management tried to devise ways to restore normalcy at the plant.

However, PBK managing director Isaac Mulagoli downplayed the fact that staff were on strike but confirmed that the board owed its employees Sh24 million in salary arrears for “May, June, and July.”

Speaking to the Business Daily on phone, Dr Mulagoli said; “It is true that we have not paid salaries for the last three months but the arrears will be sorted out next week once we receive advance payment from our customers in Europe”.

Dr Mulagoli further claimed that there were 120 metric tonnes of dried flowers waiting to be processed whose sales could fetch Sh60 million.

Despite an attempt by PBK administrators to put up a brave face over the matter, majority of the 200 employees at the plant headquarters in Nakuru downed their tools in protest.

The go-slow comes as the industry recovers thanks to abundant harvests from farmers who in turn supply more dried flowers to the factory.

Good harvests

“Farmers are bringing us a lot of dried pyrethrum flowers due to good harvests occasioned by the rainy season. This has enabled us to make plans for monthly processing,” Dr Mulagoli stated.

He reiterated that upon receiving the payment he would use part of it to settle pending bills and paying off their local and foreign creditors.
The Board owes pyrethrum farmers more than Sh52 million in crop deliveries arrears.

Recently, PBK hinted that they were in the process of disposing off none core assets to raise Sh300 million after Treasury failed to factor a bailout during June national budgetary estimates. PBK has in the past struggled with financial difficulties.
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