British American Tobacco (BAT) has sacked 24 more workers at a cost of Sh392 million as the company increases automated production. The employees left the firm in the second half of the year ended December.
“This has regrettably resulted in a reduction of 24 people from the BAT Kenya operations team. We have treated those affected by restructuring exercises with dignity, sensitivity and fairness,” BAT said.
In the previous year, BAT spent Sh338.1 million to lay off 40 employees when the technology-driven layoffs began.
The recent retrenchment of 24 workers contributed to the firm’s net earnings decreasing 21.2 percent to Sh3.3 billion in the year ended December 2017.
Currently, 400 workers at BAT are under permanent contracts. The firm says about two-thirds of its machines are now on the integrated work systems (IWS) programme which increases efficiency, productivity, and eradicates waste.
“Our efficiencies have improved by an average of 11 percent in 2017 versus 2016. […] We will continue to use IWS to make the most of our existing machinery. The improved performance above has led to a capital expenditure avoidance of over Sh100 million,” the company added.
BAT operates a cigarette factory in Nairobi and a green leaf threshing plant in Thika.
“The Kenya manufacturing hub is one of the three strategic factories in Africa, for the BAT Group. Its strategic location enables us to maximise efficiency and ensure that products for both the domestic and export markets are where they need to be at the right time,” the company stated.