Finlays is closing two of its Kenyan flower farms — and it may render 2,000 workers jobless

The move has been blamed on high labour costs and persistent strikes by workers

In a statement dated April 25, the firm - which is well known for tea production and export - said the decision was reached upon owing to high labour costs and persistent strikes by workers.

“James Finlay Kenya Limited today regretfully announces the start of the phased closure of its flower operations in Kericho. The closure of both Chemirei and Tarakwet will take place over a two and a half year period starting May 2018 to end of December 2020,” read a statement signed by Finlays general manager Steve Scott.

“It has been an extremely difficult decision but labour costs in Kericho are significantly higher than other locations in flower industry in Kenya.”

Phased closure

The company says staff expenses have made their Kericho farms uneconomical and uncompetitive.

Finlays Human Resource Director Daniel Kirui, however stated that a phased closure had deliberately been chosen in order to minimize the impact on the lives of the majority of employees and their families.

The company also indicated that it will continue to expand operations on Lemotit Farm in Londiani as a business supplying flowers to the United Kingdom, Europe and the rest of the world.

Finlays started growing flowers in Kericho in 1989 and is one of the biggest companies in Kenya with nearly 3,000 people employed and 115 hectares of crop planted, most of which are roses bound for supermarket in the United Kingdom.

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