COTU Launches UK Legal Battle Against Multi-national Tea Companies

  • Francis Atwoli Twitter
  • Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli revealed details of a plan to launch a legal battle against multi-national tea companies from the United Kingdom (UK) operating in Kenya.

    The case would be filed on behalf of tea workers who have been demanding a pay increase amid complaints of deteriorating working conditions.

    The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) and COTU have engaged a Manchester-based law firm Ozone Solicitor to file the case in the UK.

    The firm will work together with local law firms which have been handling the cases pending in various courts.

    “We believe this is the best way to achieve justice for our members,” Atwoli stated in Mombasa.

    Tea farms in Kericho County

    Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal overturned ruling by the Industrial Court Judge Lilian Njega granting tea workers a 30 per cent pay rise.

    Atwoli lamented that the process in local courts had become tedious.

    A protracted legal battle was a problem, he explained, because the tea firms were importing tea plucking machines that would see thousands lose their jobs.

    “They are doing this knowing well that in the process, some workers will retire, die, get sacked or be declared redundant because they are importing plucking machines," he stated.

    The appellate court had revised the pay increase by 16 per cent for the 2014 and 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

    Francis Atwoli