Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Scottish Company Intimidates African Workers

 More than 1,000 former and current employees of James Finlay Kenya Ltd (JFK) are suing the company for damages at Scotland's supreme civil court, the Court of Session. The workers claim they suffered musculoskeletal injuries while working for Aberdeen-registered JFK at its farms in the Kericho region of Kenya. They have signed up to group proceedings - a class action lawsuit - in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Last month the firm won a temporary injunction from a court in Nairobi, stopping workers from pursuing the case. Having failed to stop the lawsuit from going ahead, the company opened up a second front in the legal battle by seeking an order from the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi. It argued that the Scottish case was an "an assault on the sovereignty of the Republic of Kenya" and violated the country's constitution. The court granted an interim anti-suit injunction, bringing the Scottish case to a temporary halt and preventing anyone else from joining the class action.

Lawyers acting for the tea pickers have now won an order from the Court of Session, telling JFK not to continue with the Kenyan action.

They argued that JFK's conduct has been calculated to intimidate the workers and prevent them from having lawful access to the Scottish courts for resolution of a bona fide dispute. They accused JFK of engaging in a "deliberate campaign to defeat the ends of justice and cause distress". The names of the workers involved in the case were published in a national newspapers and pinned to notice boards on the tea farms. The judge, Lord Braid, said the workers' lawyers had put forward a "strong prima facie case" that JFK's actions had been "vexatious and oppressive".

Scottish firm ordered to halt legal action in Kenyan tea pickers case - BBC News

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