The recent move by South Nyanza Sugar Miller, Sony Sugar to send off a section of its workers on a three-month unpaid leave has sparked outrage from a local politician.
Central Sakwa MCA Gershon Okungu said sending the workers packing was ill-advised since most of the workers have not received their pay for the last four months.
Okungu who met a section of the workers in his office on Tuesday wondered why the management at Sony Sugar was insensitive to the plight of the workers who have braved the harsh working environment including going without pay since February this year.
“How do they expect the workers to proceed on a three-month unpaid leave yet they have not been paid since February? They ought to have considered the workers' welfare before making this decision,” he said.
The MCA noted that the move would create security threats in Awendo town since most contracted workers had no alternative source of income.
The workers who sought anonymity for fear of reprisal accused the management of scraping off a section of the workforce to pave way for the new investor.
“This is a deliberate effort to provide an enabling environment for the new investor to start off with a few workers,” one of the workers said.
They faulted the management for not allowing them to elect representatives to articulate their concerns.
“Not all workers can reach the top management to articulate our issues and we fail to understand why they (management) have denied to let us have a representation to articulate our plight," noted another.
In a rejoinder, Sony Sugar Board Chairman Charles Likowa said the concerns raised by the workers would be addressed once they proceed for the leave.
He insisted that the workers were sent on leave to give room for plant maintenance refuting claims that the workers were laid off to pave way for the new investor.
“We have noted some of their concerns and they will receive their pay in the next two weeks. I have to admit that we sent all the casuals and contracted employees on a leave to give room for annual maintenance of our milling plant,” he said.