After posting the email from the former KDN employee, I sought the response of Altech Group CEO, Craig Venter. I got a response from Tim Ellis who is the Head of Converged Service and in-charge of Altech East Africa. Below is the email he sent to me.
In response to your request of 30 May for Altech to respond to the article on www.CIO.co.ke, we provided you with the Altech KDN (KDN) press statement of 30 May 2012. Subsequent to that you posted an unverified and unsigned letter, from a so-called KDN employee, on your blogsite, without providing us with the opportunity of “right of reply”. Nonetheless, based on comments on your blogsite, we provide you with the following statement:
With reference to unsigned letter from a “so called” employee. The letter could be from anyone that has an agenda with respect to KDN, its operations and its employees. As it is unsigned this allows the author to make unsubstantiated claims without providing any supportive proof as he or she cannot be queried about the information provided. As such, it has no credibility. Additionally it is racial in the extreme and if this letter was from a past employee of KDN, or a current one, then KDN, and in fact Kenya as a whole, is better off without his or her services. You cannot build a company or a nation on racism and bigotry – certainly not in light of how the global economy is becoming more accessible to Africa.
KDN has a highly effective and diverse management team from 6 nationalities including Kenyans – at all levels – that is working hard together to ensure that KDN returns to profitability by building a stronger, leaner and more competitive business, thereby providing KDNs clients with better services and customer care that will support their critical business operations. KDNs aim is to ensure that it achieves its growth strategy and remain East Africa’s premier infrastructure independent network services provider.
With respect to the retrenchments. The objective of the reduction was to reduce the company’s operational expense in light of the current business conditions. The Telco industry in Kenya is going through a challenging period and this has had a knock on-effect on KDN with respect to reduced demand for services due to regional and international competition for both local and international bandwidth services. The staff reduction is one of the many initiatives within KDN to align the revenue and cost basis.
KDN identified a total of 51 affected employees. At this stage the company does not envisage retrenching anymore employees. Any other lay-off would be either performance or disciplinary action based, which is part of good governance within any company.
All retrenched staff received retrenchment packages in line with current labour legislation in Kenya. For every full year of employment, the employee received 15 paid days. In addition, all retrenched employees will be paid out their KDN share options.
In addition, all retrenched employees will be provided with on-going support in their search for alternative employment. KDN has retained the services of a local recruitment agency to assist all affected employees in finding new employment. The recruitment agency will provide affected employees with advice and seminars on finding employment, assist with the writing and updating of CVs, coach them on job interview techniques and assist in finding employment through their own East Africa recruitment network. They will also retain the details of affected employees on their database should any relevant employment positions come to their notice.
With respect to allegations that KDN retrenched an 8mth pregnant employee without thought for her predicament. Please note that KDN engaged with this particular employee and will provide her with full medical cover during the period as per her request.
KDN continues to be a significant player in Kenya and the region and these retrenchments were part of a larger strategic initiative to rationalise its operations by reducing non-critical positions and restructuring its operation into a more regionally focused one, whereby it can provide regional unity and a single interface into key customers.
What do you think? Convinced that Altech Group is making any right move? Leave comments below.