COTU to face Finlays in court over workforce compensation

The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) says it will move to court to defend Finlays workers over outstanding dues owed by the firm ahead of the closure of part of its flower business.

Speaking on the matter, COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli points a finger of blame at the flower company’s management for bringing forward its close of business by one year to Christmas day 2019.

“The new timelines given have not been communicated to us officially hence prompting us to move to court and face them,” he said.

“What Finlays have been doing is applying total exploitation. We would seek to have the company pay its workers before the close of business.”

Finlays pushed back its final closure date to December 25 this year citing the compounding of business challenges including a weakening domestic forex exchange, extreme weather conditions and high labour costs.

The closure will see the end of operations on the Chemirei and Tarakwet flower estates and will see all jobs on the farms declared redundant along with those of employees seconded to the Murara Plants Limited.

“Finlays management regrets the closure of Chemirei and Tarakwet farms, but change is a necessity in any long-term successful business,” Finlays Flowers General Manager Stephen Scott said last Friday.

The company which has its origins in Glasgow, Scotland in 1750 began planting flowers inside its tea plantations through a business venture in 1989.

Until now, the firm has flower stems in an estimated 100 acres of land making it one of the largest flower producers in the country.

The impending law suit by COTU is expected to open a can of worms for Finlays which has in the past faced off with employees over pay and compensation.

In addition to outstanding remuneration, Finlays faces multiple health complaints from employees as a result of chemical use in farms.

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