EPZA eases concerns over job losses

The main entrance of the EPZA, Athi River. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

In response to mounting fears of extensive job losses at the Mombasa-based industrial zone, the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) management has moved to allay concerns. 

In a letter dated November 28, 2023, the export zone sought to reassure its workforce, affirming the stability of its positions and dispelling rumors of imminent closures within the calendar year.

Contrary to speculations surrounding the potential shutdown of companies, such as Mombasa Apparel Epz Limited and Ashton Apparel Epz Limited, the EPZA assured employees that the entities would undergo a change of ownership rather than closure. 

The management emphasized that the affected workers would retain all entitled benefits as stipulated in their existing contracts, in accordance with labor laws.

The letter highlighted ongoing consultative engagements among relevant stakeholders, emphasizing that the change of ownership for these companies was a result of a mutual agreement. 

Overseen by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the agreement was officially endorsed on October 25th, meeting the requirements set by the Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry.

Hussein Adan, the CEO of Epza, expressed the organization's commitment to creating, maintaining, and expanding employment opportunities within its existing companies. 

Adan underscored the implementation of measures to ensure strict adherence to industrial and labor regulations, reassuring employees that they need not fear the loss of any contractual benefits due to changes in company ownership.

"We have put measures to ensure that companies strictly adhere to industrial and labor regulations. All our employees are entitled to sound labor 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,’’ said Adan.

EPZA, a key player in the country's industrial landscape, boasts significant workforce numbers, with over 20,000 employees at its Athi-river branch alone. 

The organization oversees companies involved in diverse sectors, including apparel manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and food processing.