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Over 4,000 workers axed as more job cuts expected

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Denzel Musumba

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Over 4,000 workers lost their jobs in the first six months of this year in Nairobi alone, and thousands more are at risk of being let go by their employers before December.

According to information obtained from the Provincial Labour Office in Nairobi, 4,200 employees have been fired, with companies citing more cutbacks to tame escalating operation costs.

Other than the job losses that took place between January and June, various firms operating across Nairobi have alerted the Labour Ministry of their intention to further downsize, in what labour officials said could target hundreds of workers in some of the districts in Nairobi that have heavy investments. Nairobi has five districts.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta in his Budget promised to enhance job creation through his stimulus package, however, the Labor Department’s review raises the stakes.

Companies operating in Nairobi’s Industrial Area are among those that plan to lay off the largest number of workers.

Other regions bound to be hit by the wave of layoffs in the course of this and next year include the Coast and Nakuru. In the Coast, sources say about 3,000 workers are targeted for layoff by the Kenya Ports Authority, as it embarks on a restructuring.

Meanwhile, flower farms of Naivasha are said to be jointly looking at firing a substantial number of workers under the cost cutting measures it expects to rollout.

Federation of Kenya Employers, an employers’ lobby, said the lay- offs are not an impromptu cost saving measure, but a last resort action that employers cannot avoid.

Jacqueline Mugo, the Executive Director of FKE, however, warned that the emerging trend would go on as long as the hard economic times lasted.

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