1700 jobs to disappear

Kenya: Finlays closes two flower farms in Kericho

James Finlays Kenya Ltd announced it will close its two flower farms in Kericho, Kenya. On these farms around 1700 people are employed.

The farms mentioned, Chermireu and Tarakat, total about 70 hectares. Closure will be phased out over a period of roughly 2.5 years, in order to minimize the impact for employees and their families', Daniel Kirui, HR manager says.

photo: Finlays Magazine, Vol 52, 2, dec 2015

Steve Scott, general manager Finlays Kenya, stresses the decision is not taken lightly. "This has been an extremely difficult decision, but labour costs in Kericho are significantly higher than other locations in the flower industry in Kenya. This has caused the Kericho investment to become uneconomical and non-competitive.”

At the same time, the company intends to expand production at Lemotit farms by over 60% over the coming years. If this move will substitute production in Kericho in full is yet unknown.

Looking at the map, one sees Londiani is situated 50 kilometers down the road from Kericho. However, according to Kenyan newspaper this decision represents 'a big slap in the face' for the Workers' Unions. These Unions, persistently demanding higher wages, recently booked some successes. Supposedly, with this move is Finlays revenge.

Both parliament officials and Union representatives commented in similar ways. As reported by Standart Digital, Dickson Sang, secretary-general of the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (Kpawu), is quoted saying 'the closure of Chemirei and Tarakwet flower farms is a deliberate move to punish the over-exploited workers by using their rightful earned benefits to pay them off and hire new employees in 2021'.

Tea and roses
Finlays is known worldwide for its tea and coffee production facilities. In Kenya the company exploits several farms, where roses, alstroemeria, carnations and matthiola are produced. Stems mostly leave Kenya destined for the UK.

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