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Legal insights & industry updates

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Protecting workers - Case involving Kenyan workers can be heard in Scotland

In a recent decision in the Court of Session it has been decided that a claim involving Kenyan workers can be heard in Scotland.

The action involves over 800 workers, most of whom are former tea pickers who say they were injured while working for James Finlay (Kenya). A previous court hearing had heard that the pickers claim they were routinely asked to work up to 12 hours a day without a break, for six days a week, earning an average monthly wage of £100 in 2017.

The case will call in the near future.

This case is of particular interest given the question of jurisdiction.

The defendant company is part of a multi-national company which can trace its roots back to Glasgow in the 18th Century.

The company moved its headquarters from Glasgow to London 15 years ago but its registered office address is in Aberdeen, leaving it open to legal action in Scotland's courts.

It is an important reminder to businesses that even if work is carried out overseas that there is still the potential from Scottish courts to have jurisdiction.

Finlays, founded in Scotland in the 18th century, is facing multiple allegations, including about the treatment of its pregnant farm workers. During a procedural hearing yesterday, Andrew Smith, QC, said: “We have workers without maternity leave who are being required to work in extremely difficult circumstances — ie being pregnant — without the provision of suitable sanitation facilities.”


employment law