Kenyan tea workers win strike against Unilever corporation

This video is called How to make Kenyan Tea.

By Ken Olende:

Kenyan strike shows trouble brewing for tea giants

by Ken Olende

A strike by more than 10,000 tea pickers in Kenya in East Africa has won an 8 percent pay increase.

The workers, members of the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) took action in more than 18 estates in the Kericho region.

The estates are owned by Unilever Tea Kenya (UTK), which produces brands including PG Tips. Unilever is the world’s largest tea producer, with 12 percent of the world market.

The strike, which started on Saturday 8 September, featured bitter confrontations with scabs.

The tea industry in Kenya employs 63,000 workers, but tea pickers were traditionally very poorly paid.

Interviewed about life as a tea picker, one worker said, “Life here is hard. We work continuously from dawn to dusk, come rain or shine.”

Another, who has worked picking tea for 34 years, said, “Age is not an issue because I need to work for my family. We are paid according to the amount of tea we pick and I try my best to hit 50kg a day.”

A third worker complained about illness: “We work in conditions which at times subject us to diseases such as malaria and pneumonia but there are no adequate health services.”

Since 2005 Kenya has been the world’s largest tea exporter.

Corruption in Kenya: here.

Anti-poverty campaigners demanded a crackdown on British companies exploiting Third World labour today after allegations of “rampant” sexual abuse of workers at the firm behind Britain’s top tea brands: here.

Unilever vs. workers in Pakistan: here.

6 thoughts on “Kenyan tea workers win strike against Unilever corporation

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