KENYA – East African Breweries Limited (EABL), a subsidiary of British multinational alcoholic beverage company Diageo, has kickstarted a lay off process that is expected to affect about 168 members of staff due to tough economic times.
The listed company has reduced its workforce from 1,576 as of the end of June 2022 to 1,408, according to data from the Nairobi Security Exchange, making it the first time in seven years that the brewer has trimmed its workforce to less than 1,500.
Staff in production were the most affected with about 122 laid off, reducing the total employee count in this department to 759.
Management and administration followed with about 70 of staff laid off. About 200 staff remained to manage the affairs of the Ruaraka, Nairobi-based company.
The workforce in sales and distribution however increased by 24 to reach 442, while the workforce in production decreased by 122 to reach 759.
At the time of this layoff, EABL’s net profit decreased by 21%, from Sh15.57 billion to Sh12.32 billion. The fall in EABL’s profit can be mostly attributed to greater expenses brought on by rising indirect taxes, cost of goods sold, and net finance costs.
“The Kenyan consumer’s income has become more depressed, leading to a rise in consumption of illicit alcohol, which now constitutes over 50% of the market. The government needs to get tougher to protect the consumers,” EABL chief executive officer, Jane Karuku hinted.
EABL also noted higher compensation due to employee costs for the reviewed period accounting for Sh13.5 billion this year compared to Sh13.2 billion paid last year up from Sh9.35 billion paid seven years ago.
26-Week Paid Leave for Pregnancy Loss
Meanwhile, the maker of Tusker and Guinness beer brands has started offering female workers up to 26 weeks of paid leave while their spouses get an additional 10 days to grieve for pregnancy loss.
According to the current Kenyan law, mothers are entitled to a fully paid three-month maternity leave while fathers get a two-week paternity break.
EABL is following in the footsteps of its parent company Diageo which began rolling out the policy in UK and Ireland markets last year.
“We recognize that experiencing pregnancy loss is a grieving process that requires patience and time. When pregnancy loss occurs after 20 weeks, the carrying female can access up to 26 weeks while the spouse can access up to 10 working days of paid leave,” EABL stated.