Court declines to stop Finlay's from declaring 1,088 workers redundant

A Nakuru court declined to stop Kericho-based Finlay's company from declaring 1,088 workers redundant.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Monica Mbaru said the company, which operated Chemirei and Tarakwel flower farms, followed the law when it announced its closure.

“The company complied with the mandatory provisions of applicable statute, Section 40 of the Employment Act 2007 in issuing the applicable notice to the claimants and the labour office,” Justice Mbaru ruled. According to the section, a company is supposed to notify a trade union representing employees and the labour office in the area before effecting the redundancy.

“The respondent (Finlay's) notified the labour office in Kericho and issued a letter dated October 18, 2019 to the workers, notifying them of the closure of two flower farms,” said Mbaru.

She thus dismissed the application by the Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) who had sued Finlay's on behalf of the workers.

“Accordingly, orders sought by the claimants shall not issue,” Mbaru said.

The ruling was for an application by KPAWU dated November 4, 2019 seeking conservatory orders to stay the letter issued declaring the workers redundant.

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The letter issued by the firm stated that the company intended to close down the two farms operations by December 25 last year.

On November 7, last year KPAWU successfully halted the closure and had obtained a temporary injunction restraining the firm from closing the flower farms.

They protested the firm’s action saying it was unconstitutional and should not be allowed.

The union said the respondent was in breach of a contract agreement that kept the workers in the farms until December 31, 2020. The two farms occupy approximately 70 hectares.

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