EPZA reassures security of 8,000 jobs
The Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) management has allayed fears of massive job losses at the Mombasa-based industrial zone.
In a letter dated November 28, 2023, the authority reassured its employees that their jobs were secure, saying the named companies feared to close down this year would instead be under new management.
EPZA further says workers in the affected companies will not lose entitled benefits as captured in their previous contracts as guided by the labour laws.
Recently, fear and uncertainty gripped the 8,000 employees of Mombasa Apparel EPZ limited and Ashton Apparel EPZ limited manufacturers which are said to have been earmarked for closure.
The reassurance also comes barely five months after the government announced it had set aside Ksh1 billion to set up at least five new EPZ zones.
``EPZA hereby informs and assures the public and the employees concerned that the EPZ companies will not close but undergo change of ownership. There have been ongoing consultative engagements between all relevant stakeholders,’’ the letter read in part.
The authority says the agreement of change of the company investors which was overseen by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection was mutual and was endorsed on October 25th as required by the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry.
In the letter signed by the CEO Hussein Adan, the industrial zone committed to creating, availing and retaining employment opportunities in all its existing companies with other zones in the pipeline.
"We have put measures to ensure that companies strictly adhere to industrial and labour regulations. All our employees are entitled to sound labour practices which are mandatory in our zones and therefore our workers should not whatsoever fear losing any benefits accrued from their contracts due to change of any company ownership. We are indeed focused on putting measures that will attract more investors and create more jobs opportunities," Adan said.
EPZ companies are among key industries with a large workforce in the country.
For instance, the EPZA Athi-river branch has over 20,000 employees working in various companies. The companies which predominately deal with apparel-making also extend to pharmaceuticals and food processing.