Ernst & Young, one of the world’s top audit firms has signalled the decision to send home 42 of its long-serving top managers in the Nairobi office.
The audit firm counts Co-op Bank, Absa Bank Kenya and the Central Bank of Kenya among its customers with the Kenyan office falling under its Easter cluster that includes Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
According to Business Daily, the firm’s outgoing CEO Gitahi Gachahi had intimated that the firm was performing well financially hence raising questions on the decision to lay off the managers.
“The redundancy decision could not have been informed by sub-optimal performance or profit dilution,“ Gachahi is quoted by the publication while questioning the wisdom of the decision.
More questions lingered on the decision for redundancy as further reports indicate that some of the regional offices are understaffed.
In a redundancy letter to one of the affected staff, the contract would be terminated on July 2, 2020 with the letter of termination of the contract expected to be given on the same day.
“We refer to the meeting held with your service line leader on 2nd June 2020 and the letter notifying you of the firm‘s decision to terminate your contract of employment on account of redundancy issued on the same date,” reads the letter in part.
“You will be issued with a letter of termination of your contract of employment on that date,“ the letter further says.
The affected are worried about how they will cope with unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic since the majority of other companies have laid off their workers citing tough economic conditions.
Notably, the affected employees have also raised concerns that they were not consulted or given the option to take lower pay as done in other organizations.
“Other leaders have engaged their people, agreeing to reduce salaries by an agreed percentage until the situation stabilizes,” said one employee.
One other is quoted, “Unfortunately, the ugly face of capitalism gains an upper hand even as the world is faced with such a catastrophe.”
The firm through a letter to the affected staff acknowledged that layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic would be tragic to its employees thus offered counselling services.