Labour court stops Finlay Flowers from laying off workers

Finlay Flowers

Some of the houses that were vacated by former employees of Finlay Flowers after the company halted its operations.

Photo credit: Joseph Openda | Nation Media Group

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru has suspended plans by Finlay Flowers company of laying more than 700 off its employees.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa on Tuesday issued an injunction against James Finlays, restraining it from declaring its 702 employees redundant, pending the hearing and determination of a case they have filed in court.

The company had on November 19 sent a letter to the Kenya Plantation and Allied Workers Union (KPAWU) notifying them of their intention to declare its members  redundant effective December 31.

The affected employees are said to be drawn from all departments in the company.

The company attributed its decision to a difficult working environment caused by low tea prices, low demands for various products as well as increasing external costs among other factors.

“Considering these and in order to remain sustainable, we have restructured some of the operations leading to some roles becoming superfluous,” read the letter.

But KPAWU moved to court challenging the decision and sought orders to stop the implementation of the contents of the letter.

The court certified the matter as urgent and directed the union to serve the company with the documents ahead of the hearing on December 10.

This is not the first time the multinational company is seeking to lay off its workers.

In October last year, the firm announced its resolve to close operations in two of its farms by the end of the year due to what it said was increasing cost of doing business.