Kenyan tea workers take UK company to court

By Mutala Yakubu
Kenyan tea workers take UK company to court
Kenyan tea workers take UK company to court

Tea workers in Kenya have filed a case against multi-national company Unilever in the UK's Supreme Court for allegedly failing to protect them during the violence that followed the 2007 elections in which over 1,000 people were killed.

They say Unilever failed to respect its own human rights policy during the attacks, a claim the UK-Dutch company denies.

According to court documents, seven Unilever workers were killed and 56 women were raped in the ethnic violence.



In a letter to Unilever CEO Paul Polman, the workers say local management put workers at risk by ignoring death threats reported by employees, including those from co-workers.

Many employees, who came from other areas of the country, fled the tea plantation in western Kenya for six months, during which time they claim Unilever stopped their salaries.

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But Unilever insists every employee was compensated, and that it gave significant support to workers during that period, including more than $500,000 (£382,000) to help affected families.