Kenya Power has been accused of mistreating its casual workers.
Speaking exclusively to Kahawa Tungu, a source who sought anonymity and is privy to the goings-on said casual workers at the power and lighting company were dismissed this month.
The employee who has worked with the company for six years but is yet to be absorbed as a contracted staffer told this writer that the company headed by Bernard Ngugi treats its casual workers with impunity.
The source intimated that with every managerial change comes a change in policies.
The last time, they said, the company was in safe hands was when Jared Othieno was appointed as Managing Director in 2018.
Othieno was replaced by Ngugi and has since moved to Geothermal Development Company (GDC) for a period of three years.
Since his exit, the source said, the company has been seeking temporary solutions to serious issues.
For example, contractors hired for the Last Mile Connectivity Project brought on casual workers who after their employers had siphoned billions of shillings from the company, let them go.
The Last Mile Connectivity program initiated by the Jubilee Government was in 2019 rumoured to have lost the public at least Sh50 billion.
The program aimed at achieving over 70 per cent connectivity by 2017 and universal access by 2020.
According to our source, after the program collapsed, the casual workers were rendered jobless.
Kahawa Tungu learned that the jobless casual labourers who are apparently replaced by family members of top managers and board members, take on illegal connection jobs just to survive in a country whose economy is on its knees.
Two weeks ago as the electricity distributor dismantled several illegal connections along Lunga Lunga Road in Nairobi’s Industrial Area, CEO Ngugi said the company’s losses can be attributed to a surge in illegal activities on its electricity network.
“We have seen a rise in the number of electrical accidents occasioned by illegal power lines, notably in informal settlements. Illegal connections cause safety concerns since they do not adhere to global standards. Regrettably, some of these incidents have led to the loss of property, limbs and in the worst case scenario, lives,” Ngugi said.
Commercial losses contribute about half of the Company’s system losses which stood at 23.46 percent as at June 2020.
In the financial year ending June 2021, Kenya Power Security team and the Police apprehended 943 suspects for perpetrating illegal activities on the KPLC network.
Our source also told this writer that the power and lighting company is set to bring in unskilled workers from the National Youth Service (NYS).
In a letter seen by this writer, Kenya Power is set to bring on board NYS cohorts for its data clean up exercise.
The launch will take up on Friday (July 16) at the Stima Club in Thika.
Ngugi had invited the Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (KETAWU) secretary general Ernest Nadome who declined the offer.
Mr Nadome noted that the partnership between Kenya power and NYS “casts doubt on employees’ trust and commitment”.
In his letter to Ngugi dated July 14, Mr Nadome avers that the management declined to hold consultations on the matter.
The casual workers also demanding better treatment where their overtime pay is paid on time.
“Kenya Power staff are the most uninterested in their jobs. For an overtime to be approved, supervisor are hell. That’s why emergencies are rarely sorted out in time. Better get your pay and go home,” our source said