By Lilian Wamaitha
As we have it right now more than ten thousand employees have been left without a source of income. This is in a move that has seen more than 20 firms this year lays off workers. Some companies have either folded or forced to downsize to keep up with the treacherous business environment.
Who are left to suffer? You guessed right! Employees who are forced to pack up and go home! A wacky world we are living in right now! The labour crisis in Kenya right now has been termed as the worst in Kenya since independence.
And yet, we are not done. More employees will still continue to lose their jobs if this retrenchment fever continues. It’s like firms are completion to outdo each other on who can retrench more employees.
The sad thing is that both public and private sectors are affected. Employers blame the harsh economic times although the government maintains that the economy is as good as it should be especially after the World bank report that listed Kenya among the top countries in Africa where it is easier to do business, thanks to the friendly government regulations.
As companies struggle to stay afloat in the sea of business, innocent employee are left to wade the sticking waters of unemployment. Families have been left without a source of income as companies try to cut down costs as others dock their boats and go home.
Even as the government continues to take pride into the billions of shillings they are directing into the economy, thousands of families are left to deal with the evil twist of job loss. Where are we headed as a country when hundreds of thousand s of active workforce are at home grappling with unemployment?
Since the beginning of the year, more than 20 companies have sent off workers in a bid to remain relevant in the business world.
Nowhere is safe
The latest to fall into the band wagon of retrenchment is the Athi River based Cement Company, East Africa Portland Cement which has announced that it would be sending home about 1000 employees.
Remember Ever Ready, the top manufacturer of batteries? Well the company had to close off its Nakuru factory whish saw thousands of workers sent home. The most famous Coca-Cola Company ended up downgrading its massive Nairobi headquarter and moving most of its operations to South Africa and Nigeria. Sad to say so many jobs were lost.
Flower companies like Oserian limited announced that they would be laying off 400 workers blaming it on tough economic times while Karuturi Flower Limited shut down its operations in Kenya a move that affected over 2600 workers.
The popular Sameer Africa, manufacturers of Yana tyres announced that it would shut down its operations in Kenya due to competition from cheap tyres made by Chinese and Indian Companies. Hundreds of jobs were lost in the process!
Kenya Fluorspar Company which operates in Kerio Valley has announced shutting down operations in Kenya dues to reduced global prices of fluorspar. This move leaves more than 700 employees who have cold the place home in the cold.
The Future is not so bright for Bank Employees
Banks have not been left behind in this wave of retrenchment. Most people attribute it to the Banking Act 2016 which cut down interest rates. Standard Chartered Bank sent home 167, employees while equity bank sent 400 packing. Sidian Bank could not be left behind as it retrenched 108 employees.
Just in January this year, Barclays Africa announced that it was closing down its Nairobi Office to move operations to South Africa. It is still not clear how many people lost lobs, is at all there was any job loss. Family Bank its self has decided to play the forced retirement card.
Government no longer a safe haven
Who can forget Kenya Airways? After being marred with mismanagement, it sent off 80 workers. It has now announced that more than 600 jobs will be lost in its second phase of retrenchment. Finger crossed- let’s hope there won’t be a third phase.
Government parastatal, Kenya Meat Commission is in the process of rendering 118 employees jobless.
The media has not been left behind. This year has seen media houses like Standard Group conduct massive retrenchments. Jobs were lost when Nation Media Group announced that it would be close its TV and Radio Stations to have one digital platform.
This saw Q TV and Q Fm close don and hundreds of people sent home. Royal Media Services would jump into the band wagon later sending home workers among them to ranking journalists and news anchors.
Mobile services provider Airtel will be sending home more than 60 employees. Telkom Kenya already lay off 500 workers in the retrenchment wave that has swept the country.
Who is next? This retrenchment wave has left many Kenyans wondering whether there is any future in the employment industry. The fact remains that there is a need for a system that allows companies to operate easily and guarantees employees job security. But until then, all we can do is sit and wait!
Lilian Wamaitha is a Communications Officer at Career Point Kenya. Email: email@example.com