Labour court halts Finlay Flowers from laying off 700 workers

Finlay Flowers

Some of the houses that were vacated by former employees of Finlay Flowers after the company halted its operations. PHOTO | JOSEPH OPENDA | NMG

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru has suspended plans by James Finlay Kenya Limited (Finlay Flowers) of laying more than 700 off its employees.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa on Tuesday issued an injunction against James Finlay, 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 tea and flower producer attributed its decision to a difficult working environment caused by low demand for its various products, low tea prices 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 retrenchment.

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 the increasing cost of doing business.