Friday, May 8, 2009

Zain Begins Lay-offs In Nigeria, Uganda

The Zain Group - a mobile communications firm with operations in Africa and the Middle East – has started laying off at least 2,000 employees from all its subsidiaries, with its entities in Nigeria and Uganda announcing the lay-offs of 300 and 27 employess, respectively.

This follows the Group’s decision to sack the lot as it strives to position itself in the premier league of world’s top 10 telecommunications firms.

The decision emerged at a strategic meeting with senior Zain executives from all 22 African and Middle East operations, in Bahrain last week.

Zain’s new wave of layoffs will particularly affect its head offices and operations structures across all markets. Until Monday, the Group directly employed 15,500 workers. The reduction of its workforce by 2,000 will represent a loss of 13 percent in its human resource departments.

Zain Nigeria in a statement announced it was laying off 300 of its staff, an action aimed at aligning its business model with the Zain group's growth strategy. Mr Yesse Oenga, the managing director Zain Uganda, said 27 workers will be sacked from their jobs in the country.

In March, 141 staff at Zain Kenya were laid off. Other markets that have already sacked workers include; Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Malawi and Sierra Leone.

Zain Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Saad Al Barrak who announced the layoffs – the single largest in Africa so far, said the layoffs are part of the firm’s Drive2011 – a new programme aimed at propelling the company towards its 2011 target with 150 million subscribers and $6 billion in revenue.

In Uganda, the termination of workers to re-align Zain’s operations begun yesterday, according to Mr Oenga. Zain’s staff downsizing process forms part of its new drive to improve service delivery to its customers in all operations, according to Mr Oenga. 

Specifically, Zain Nigeria said it was joining operations across Africa and the Middle East to implement the new business model, Drive2011, which is part of Zai n 's drive to become a top 10 global mobile operator by 2011 with 150 million cust o mers and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of US$6 b illion.

Zain has invested more than US$12 billion in Africa since 2005, with a plan to m ake further investments of up to US$2 billion this year.

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