COTU Faces Off With Safaricom Over Agility Structure That Will "Render Some Employees Jobless" -

COTU Faces Off With Safaricom Over Agility Structure That Will “Render Some Employees Jobless”

Francis Atwoli and Peter Ndegwa
L-R. Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli and Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

The Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary-general Francis Atwoli has protested Safaricom’s plan of a new working structure that will render some employees jobless.

In a statement on Sunday, April 25, Atwoli said that Cotu was concerned about the prospects of job security with the implementation of certain management styles.

“This new move by the Safaricom CEO, which goes against ILO Conventions particularly on the protection of jobs, is not acceptable and remains an affront to workers’ rights,” said Atwoli.

“It’s insensitive and inhuman, for Mr (Peter) Ndegwa to bring about drastic changes at Safaricom PLC while infringing on the rights of workers who have built Safaricom to what it is today where it enjoys more than 30 million subscribers.”

Read: Ten Leadership Lessons I Have Learnt As Safaricom CEO – Peter Ndegwa

The new “agile structure” announced by the telco will see the firm come up with small teams known as squads. The squads will then be put together in a tribe. The tribes will then report to the executive committee.

Each tribe will have between 60 and 100 employees while squads will have between eight and 12 employees.

The system, according to reports by the Nation, would eliminate some roles. However, in a subsequent reporting, Safaricom denied the reports, saying that they would instead hire more.

“It’s also shocking that even though Mr Ndegwa is the first Kenyan Safaricom CEO, he remains the most dangerous CEO the company has ever had when it comes to protecting workers’ rights,” added Atwoli.

Atwoli also castigated Safaricom for denying their workers rights to be unionised, like workers in other sectors.

“Cotu is also alive to the fact that Safaricom has refused several attempts to unionize their workers and that Mr Ndegwa while serving as CEO for Guinness Nigeria PLC faced off with Unions from West Africa as he forcefully reduced the workforce by nearly 45%,” added Atwoli.

Read: M-Pesa Agents Bear The Brunt As Safaricom “Claws Back” Commissions

Atwoli threatened to petition to the board to have Ndegwa sacked, if he dares to implement the agility structure.

“If Mr Ndegwa doesn’t stop this forthwith, we appeal to the Board of Directors at Safaricom PLC including other shareholders, to make sure that Mr Ndegwa is relieved of his duties because of his poor managerial style that seeks to maximize profits at the expense of its employees,” added Atwoli.

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