Brookside lays off half of its staff in Uganda

Friday July 14 2023
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Workers packing milk products. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Daily Monitor

Brookside Limited, a dairy processing company that packages long-life milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, ghee, and milk powder in Uganda and the East Africa regional export market has retrenched over 50 per cent of its staff following a drop in the exported products.

In a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Labour at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms Winnie Mirembe Mugabi, the company's Human Resource and Administration manager cites the Kenya Government’s failure to grant export permits to Brookside Uganda, something that denied the company access to 75 per cent of its market since March 2023, as one of the factors.

Read: Kenya curbs leave Uganda stuck with 24m litres of milk

“The company has been trying to mitigate the effects of these adverse developments by trying to grow local sales and also source alternative markets for its products in replacement of the blocked Kenyan market. Having worked on these initiatives for the last three months, it is apparent that we are unlikely to realize tangible results from the initiatives in the short run. We have also engaged the relevant authorities in Government to intervene but without any success,” the letter partly reads.

“For us to continue running the factory, we have no choice but to scale down all our operations across the entire value chain to match with our current level of business which is a paltry 25 per cent of our normal operational volumes. Under section 81 of the Employment Act, we would like to take this opportunity to inform you of our decision to lawfully terminate employees whose number exceeds 10 on account of structural reasons. 50 per cent of our staff will regrettably be affected by way of a retrenchment intended to take effect in July 2023,” the letter adds.

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It should be noted that the company's sales were made through its network of agents and resellers in the market. Since 2020, the exports to the Kenyan market averaged 75 per cent of the total milk volumes processed in the company, with 25 per cent being local sales and exports to other countries in the region.