The Export Processing Zone Authority (Epza) management has reassured employees that their jobs are safe.
Fear has gripped workers at the Mombasa-based industrial zone some of the companies plan to exit the Kenyan market.
This follows a recent announcement by Mombasa Apparel Epz Limited and Ashton Apparel Epz Limited that they are closing shop. The news has left about 8,000 workers in limbo.
However, in a letter yesterday, Epza workers in the affected companies will not lose entitled benefits as captured in their previous contracts, and as required by the labour laws guidelines.
"EPZA hereby informs and assures the public and the employees concerned that the Epz companies will not close but undergo a change of ownership. There have been ongoing consultative engagements between all relevant stakeholders,’’ stated the letter signed by Chief Executive Officer Hussein Adan.
According to Epza, the change of ownership was mutual and overseen by the Ministry of Labour on October 25, 2023, as required by the Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry.
Adan reiterated that the industrial zone is committed to creating, availing and retaining employment opportunities in all its existing companies.
"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 job opportunities," said Adan.
Epza companies are among the 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 diversify in pharmaceuticals and food processing.