Cyprian Is Nyakundi

Employees Of Kansai Plascon Limited, Formerly Sadolin Paints Accuse The New Management Of Incompetence & Xenophobia

Hi Cyprian,

I am an employee of Kansai Plascon Kenya Limited, formerly known as Sadolin Paints that was acquired by new owners from South Africa.

Since ownership was changed, the company has performed really poorly with the new terms they have put in place. Including constantly looking down upon Kenyans. With the current performance of the company our jobs are at stake.

On behalf of Kansai Plascon Kenya Limited employees and the management we would like to sincerely present to you the challenges we have faced in the last one year since the transition and hereby seek your guidance and any interventions that may be deemed necessary.

The Kansai Plascon brand has been well accepted in the market due to the effort of all players that have worked tirelessly to ensure that we do not lose our market share through competition which we thought we would, especially on dropping of the name “Sadolin”

It is worth noting that, the fact that we are associated with Japan which is highly respected in Kenya has worked for the brand and made an otherwise hard task easy.

The business culture and communities in Kenya view South Africa which has long been associated with apartheid and discriminative tendencies with mistrust. Indeed we have witnessed this negative attitude by some of our South African colleagues working within the organization towards Kenyan employees and making them feel as if their jobs are insecure which we believe is contributing significantly to frauds that we have to deal with from time to time. This was never the case before.

The approach of the South African Managers is laced with arrogance and a know-it-all attitude that the local staff are inferior which makes people feel demeaned. Their interactions with and approach to local staff is to say the least militant, confrontational and combatant.

Though it was said and communicated during the take-over that there would be minimum interferences in the running of the company, we have seen a very unhealthy interference that may affect the overall performance of the company negatively both in the short and long term as people are progressively feeling very insecure in their jobs and feel it is just a matter of time before their jobs are lost because they do not see a stable future in the company.

It is a fact that this company was enjoying a healthy financial position with high profit margins and excess cash flows before the transition to an extent that we had at one time a fixed deposit in excess of USD.500, 000/ in the bank which has subsequently been eroded.

Our profits have decreased with high utilization of our bank overdraft almost to our maximum borrowing. This has been caused by introduction of a different management practice. We have been made to to take over stocks of non-moving / very slow moving finished goods that were brought in by the Kenyan holding company before the take- over, which have to be paid for and with the risk of being written off in our financials due to expiry dates.

It is important to note that there has been almost no business benefits acquired with the coming in of the South African partners as would have been expected in terms of business leads that would increase the growth of the company. We honestly cannot recall any specific introduction that has
brought new business collateral. All we see are expatriates with a few exceptions, coming in with no value addition in the so called “areas of expertise,” whose expenses are quite high compared to local talent, resulting to an increase in our overheads that lead to decreased profitability.

The push to promote the Plascon name makes the consumers see this company as South African and very little almost none of Japanese. We would prefer people associate us for what we indeed are, a Japanese company as people associate Japan with advanced technology with no negative and discriminatory perceptions.

It is worth noting that many companies associated with South Africa are struggling to make it in Kenya and we would sincerely not want this company which we have laboriously built suffer the same fate.

This matter needs to be addressed immediately because our jobs are at stake.

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