Oserian flower firm has sent 800 out of its 1,200 employees home as the firm fights to remain afloat after the COVID-19 pandemic crushed the horticulture market.
The firm had opted to keep the employees but cut the salaries by 50pc until the end of the pandemic, a move the workers declined. Already, the management staff at Oserian have taken the 50pc pay cuts since February.
The 800 workers now get unpaid leave due to the recent legal challenges that are discouraging pay cuts and layoffs due to the effects of the virus.
The Kenya Flower Council says restrictions to movements, especially to Europe, have slashed daily orders by half leaving the farms with hardly any income. Europe accounts for a whooping 70pc of Kenya’s cut-flower exports.
Although the demand for flowers slightly rose during the recent Mother’s Day, the shortage of experienced labor in the farm to pluck and park the roses saw the company lose upto 30pc of projected income that weekend.
The pandemic has greatly hurt Kenya which is the world’s third-largest exporter of cut flowers. Kenya supplies nearly 40pc of flower sales in the European Union. In normal times, horticultural exports bring in hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the Kenyan economy.
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