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6 Aug 2022

David Cowan, BBC

Kenya: Tea workers' lawsuit against James Finlay over musculoskeletal injuries while working on tea plantations stalled as the company wins injunction via Kenyan courts

"Kenyan tea pickers' court bid against Scottish farm brought to a halt", 6 August 2022

James Finlay Kenya Ltd (JFK) is being sued for damages by more than 1,000 former and current employees.

The workers claim they suffered musculoskeletal injuries working on JFK's tea farms in Kenya...

The Aberdeen-registered company lost an appeal against the case being allowed to go ahead and has now taken action through the legal system in Kenya...

Following an application from JFK, the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi has issued an interim anti-suit injunction, prohibiting the workers from pressing ahead with the Scottish case for now.

A notice announcing the court order has been published in a Kenyan newspaper alongside the names of the 1,044 people involved in the case. The order is also be displayed on employees' notice boards on JFK's tea farms...

In court papers, JFK argued that the Court of Session case represents an "an assault on the sovereignty of the Republic of Kenya" and violates the country's constitution.

JFK described the Scottish lawsuit as "vexatious, oppressive, unjust, unconscionable and costly to defend" and said it will cause the company "irreparable damage and harm."

It contends that the "proper and natural forum" for a work injury dispute involving Kenyan workers governed by Kenyan law is in Kenya, not Scotland.

Another hearing involving lawyers from both sides is scheduled to take place in the Nairobi court later this month.

The tea pickers' legal team, led by Thompsons Solicitors, are expected to challenge the order.

They have previously argued that as a Scottish company, JFK is open to legal action in Scotland's courts...