Atwoli issues demands to James Finlay, Unilever after sexual abuse exposé
Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers’ Union (KPAWU) General Secretary Francis Atwoli has come out breathing fire following allegations of rampant sexual
abuse at tea firms owned by the Kenyan subsidiaries of multinationals James
Finlay and Unilever.
The allegations were revealed in an explosive BBC documentary dubbed ‘Sex for Work: The True Cost of Our Tea’ released two days ago, and which has since elicited angry reactions from Kenyans.
Atwoli, in a strongly-worded statement released on Wednesday, submitted a raft of irreducible minimums aimed at the two aforementioned companies in a bid to protect workers moving forward.
For starters, he demanded that James Finlay and Unilever immediately ceases outsourcing labour through the use of contractors.
Atwoli, who also doubles up as the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) boss, hence wants all employees who are presently on contract to be offered direct employment by the two corporates.
“Outsourcing of labour affects the rights and welfare of workers considering they work at the mercy of contracted companies and not the parent company,” he stated.
“This documentary has clearly exposed the dangers of outsourced labour bearing in mind James Finlay’s and Unilever opted to use the estate managers to outsource labour rather than directly employ these workers.”
He added: “As such, most of the women working in the tea estates are denied the opportunity to join a union that would advocate for their rights and represents their interests."
Secondly, Atwoli demanded that the multinationals stop being stumbling blocks to their employees in their quest to join unions which would then enable them to have representation in talks about fair remuneration and reasonable working conditions.
He further added that James Finlay and Unilever must not just apologize and issue “procedural crisis communication” on behalf of their employees implicated in the crimes, but also ensure they go out of their way to compensate the affected workers for emotional and health damages.
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