Belt tightening: KESC fires 4,000 staffers

Published: January 20, 2011
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Utility abolishes non-core functions to focus more on essential tasks

Utility abolishes non-core functions to focus more on essential tasks

KARACHI: The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) sacked more than 4,000 of its employees on Wednesday.

A company press release put it as the “elimination of a number of its [KESC’s] non-core and redundant functions”.

The company had announced a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) for non-management and non-technical staff on December 31, 2010. The scheme, which offered a minimum guaranteed payout of Rs700,000 to each employee, expired on January 15. A KESC official requesting anonymity confirmed that the scheme received a “lukewarm response”. The scheme was targeted at office staff and workmen, including drivers, office attendants, security guards and janitors. Explaining the rationale behind the scheme, the official said: “KESC has accumulated heavy losses over the past decade and rationalising the workforce and controlling expenditures relating to human resources will help curb them in the future”.

Collective bargaining agents and union leaders had rallied against the scheme until the company obtained a stay order from Sindh High Court against them. Consequently, most employees opted against the voluntary separation scheme. KESC spokesperson Amir Abbasi confirmed that the retrenchment orders are “effective immediately”.

More than 4,000 employees who have now been sacked by KESC will not be entitled to the benefits that were in the offing under the VSS. Instead, “these employees will be paid all their statutory dues along with one month’s salary”, which is significantly below the offer made earlier. According to the official statement, the KESC board of directors has endorsed the decision along with orders that the management should “focus on core technical functions of the company and outsource non-core functions to third-party service providers who specialise in these tasks”.

“Generally, after the company’s privatisation and particularly in the last two years, the management took a serious note of its colossal losses impacting its financial health, concluding that over-staffing, duplication of work, overlapping and redundant non-core job roles are a substantial contributory factor to the financial ill-health of the company,” stated a notice issued by KESC on Wednesday. The workers fired under the retrenchment plan include “regular cadres in regular service”, those employed temporarily or on contract as well as some daily wage-earners on special assignments.

The company has announced that non-core office jobs, such as those of office assistant, sanitary work and crane operators have been outsourced. At the same time, other positions such as petrol pump attendant, office time keeper, junior office attendant, daftari and typist have been abolished.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Yousuf
    Jan 20, 2011 - 10:03AM

    To think they had around 4k employees designated at “non-core functions” of the firm… Imagine, 4k employees performing redundant unimportant tasks and getting paid for them… Well, better late then never. But, as always, they have let go of the lower staff who are actually more dependent on their income. They also need to take some sort of an action against their higher management who is essentially the more corrupt and toxic for K.E.S.C.Recommend

  • Aristo
    Jan 20, 2011 - 10:19AM

    Same should be done with redundant workers of PIA, PR, PSM, PSO, PEPCO, WAPDA and even the number of ministers / advisers at both the federal and provincial level. Recommend

  • AhsanS
    Jan 20, 2011 - 12:24PM

    Wait until these stupid 4000 employees get a stay order form NIRC and eventually winning it as well. There is very little that a private sector can do to get rid of these redundant employees not to mention they also play a big role in corruption. As far as higher management is concerned they have been attempting to rationalise the entire process by changing their status from permanent to contract, as is the case everywhere in the world. It was just the legacy they had to carry with themselves and slowly streamline it. They are on the right course.

    There are people who keep saying they can lay off but cannot attempt to reduce the line losses. So no they cannot. Why? Have your institutions like Police been successful in implementing Law & Order? NO! there are areas which are more prone to stealing power and these are places where even Police cannot survive a combat. Lyari, Baldia. These are actually terrorist hide outs. Especially Baldia. Try it out, pay a visit. Hope you come out alive and with all your belongings.Recommend

  • Ercelan
    Jan 20, 2011 - 1:02PM

    ruthless capitalism! be interesting to know (a) which government hired the fired; (b) cost savings by firing senior stuff e.g. CSR manager (c) lower grade jobs that could then be protectedRecommend

  • Asim+Ali
    Jan 20, 2011 - 1:04PM

    These bold decisions need to be taken and supported. At the same time, the government needs to start large infrastructure projects to create jobs. The large metropolitan cities require efficient public transport, the second rail link from Karachi to Peshawar needs to be established, manufacturing of locomotives should be encouraged and supported. Mining must be done locally, extraction of coal, building dams and so on. We know the government is hapless and useless. However what is the media doing? Instead of focusing on good for nothing minister, they should give airtime to top executives and business leaders of Pakistan, invite top Pakistani talent for discussions on how to move the country forward. Maybe some of those ministers might be able to pick up something from these men of stature and start doing somethingRecommend

  • AhsanS
    Jan 20, 2011 - 4:44PM

    Trust me Asim its too late for that. Politicians know it all they will not pick it up from these man talking. Its high time, we all have to DO IT! and not wait for these scumbags to do something. Recommend

  • Muhammad Raza
    Jan 21, 2011 - 6:21AM

    same should be done with the primenister cabnet and president staff and assembly members of provencial and national essembly Recommend

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