Kenya Power staff threaten to strike

KEWATU says union not consulted over planned layoffs

Kenya Power staff at work

Kenya Power staff have threatened to go on strike over an impending mass layoff which aims at cutting off 20% of the staff, majority of whom are approaching retirement.

The Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (KEWATU) has opposed the plan saying they were not consulted before a decision was made.

The power distributor is planning to retrench 1,962 ageing staff and replace them with 830 workers to save on Sh1.5 billion spent annually on wages.

“The company, because of low attrition rate, has an ageing and expensive workforce resulting in staff cost growing at nearly twice the rate of revenue growth,” Rosemary Odour, Kenya Power Plc, ag. CEO stated in a previous internal memo.

KEWATU Secretary General Ernest Nadome called for a halt on the plans until workers have been involved.

“The management is hereby advised to withdraw its proposal dated January 24, 2022 to pre-empt massive withdrawal of labour or otherwise until the constitutional rights of workers are respected and actualised,” Nadome said.

The company’s financial position has been uncertain, with the company unable to even meet its short-term obligations.

Kenya Power currently has no insurance cover for its 122 substations distributed across the country, exposing the strategic national assets, employees and the general public to major risks in case of accidents or natural disasters.

“In an environment where low operational costs and agility are critical requirements, productivity and quality of service have been negatively impacted,” she stated.

A strike by the Kenya Power workers could be detrimental to the economy as most economic activities are power reliant.

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