Kenya-based East African Portland Cement Plc has failed in its attempt to convert all its permanent staff to temporary workers. Business Elites Africa understands that a segment of the workforce (which is unionised) objected to the terms and conditions of the cement maker’s proposal.
What you should Know
The company is the oldest cement manufacturer in Kenya and it has a workforce of about 270 employees as at September 1st 2020. But then, it is struggling to remain profitable. And this is why the board of directors made the difficult decision to fire all the workers before proposing to rehire them as temporary workers.
Note that the plan to place all workers as temporary workers is not exactly what these workers are protesting. Instead, it is the terms and conditions associated with the new employment status. See below:
- Interested workers would only be rehired on a 3-year contract basis.
- Their monthly salaries would be reduced significantly anywhere between 40% to 50%, depending on cadre.
- Those who are not interested have the option of collecting their benefits (i.e., severance and gratuity) within a 12-month period. In the event that East African Portland Cement Plc fail to pay them during this duration, they may sue.
Well, it turned out some of the staff. who are members of unions, objected to the proposal. Commenting on the development, the company’s Acting Managing Director, Stephen Nthei, said “We ran into teething issues between ourselves and the union. There were a few unionisable staff who did not sign, and that is what we are still discussing and agreeing. Whatever we will discuss and agree between ourselves and the union will apply to everybody, even those who have signed. It should not be a discriminative procedure.”
In the meantime, East African Portland Cement Plc Has a Turnaround Plan
According to a statement on the company’s website, “the board and management have embarked on various strategies to turn around the fortunes of the Company. Critical in these strategies is raising our operational capital and minimizing wastage as well as costs. High costs of doing business are mainly attributed to inefficiencies caused by the ageing plant especially the Kiln which I am glad to report that is currently under refurbishment and we expect its efficiency and output to improve.”