Kenya Power plans to cut jobs by up to a fifth, trade union fires back

Kenya Power’s plan to cut its workforce by a fifth is not sound because it ignores the power network’s need for manual labour and will reduce manpower from an already depleted pool, the electric workers union said on Monday.
The plans by the East African nation’s sole power distributor to cut jobs to curb costs were reported by domestic media outlets over the weekend and confirmed in an internal company document seen by Reuters on Monday.
The company will offer “voluntary employee separation” to 1 962 employees at a one-off cost of 5.3 billion Kenyan shillings ($46.7 million) in three phases covering the period to the end of June 2023, the document said.
The job cuts will help Kenya Power to cut its 15.8 billion shillings annual wage bill, which has been growing at an average of 12% in the five years to the end of 2020, compared with average revenue growth of 5.4% over the same period, the document said.
The Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (Ketawu), however, said the plan is ill-advised.
“They are trying to compare Kenya Power with a similar company in India,” Ketawu General Secretary Ernest Nadome told Reuters, adding that India’s power sector is far more automated than Kenya’s.
Nadome said the Indian power sector is mostly automated, but only 10-20% of the work at Kenya Power is automated.
Kenya Power declined to comment on the planned layoffs or Ketawu’s criticism.
The Kenyan government, which is the company’s controlling shareholder, has been trying to shake up the company in recent months to address years of plunging profits owing to widespread inefficiency, high debt levels, and theft of electricity.

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