Business

Atwoli terms Safaricom chief Peter Ndegwa most dangerous CEO over restructuring move

Safaricom M-Pesa
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa/ COURTESY

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli has termed Safaricom boss Peter Ndegwa as the most dangerous CEO the company has ever had.

Is strong-worded statement on Sunday, Atwoli said despite being the company’s first Kenyan CEO, Ndegwa is a threat to workers’ rights.

Atwoli was reacting to a story by the Nation in which the telco’s employees have been asked to reapply for their jobs.

“It has come to our attention that Safaricom PLC is on a mission to restructure its mode of management whilst at the same time doing away with some of its employees. Even though, as COTU (K), we don’t have control over the management style employers adopt from time to time, we are highly concerned about the prospects of job security with the implementation of certain management styles,” Atwoli said in the statement.

According to the Nation, the East Africa’s most profitable company says the strategy, known in global circles as agile, will see the formation of small teams known as squads. The squads will then be put together in a tribe and the tribes will report to the executive committee.

“The plan is expected to break the hierarchical structure, eliminate some roles as others significantly change. Some chapters like marketing will span across the squads and tribes,” the Nation reported.

Ndegwa told the Nation that the intention of the new plan is not to reduce staff, adding that the change would give the employees a chance to improve their skills.

But Atwoli said the new move by Ndegwa goes against ILO Conventions particularly on the protection of jobs, and is thus not acceptable and remains an affront to workers’ rights.

“It’s insensitive and inhuman, for Mr 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,” Atwoli, who was recently re-elected unopposed for another five years, said.

He further noted that Safaricom has refused several attempts to unionize their workers and that 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 per cent.

According to Guinness Nigeria PLC’s annual report in 2017, the company’s headcount fell from 1,344 to 951.

Cotu demanded tha Ndegwa stops “causing anguish, despair and depression among its employees in his mission to maximize profit, failure to which the union called on Safaricom Board of Directors and shareholders, to make sure Ndegwa is fired.

The CEO marked a year in office at the end of last month.

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