KESC’s Downsizing Drive: A Right decision at Wrong Time

The economic crisis which engulfed the world a couple of years back have appeared in Pakistan.  The weakening economy is leaving its mark in every sector and the worst hit seems to be the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) which was already a victim of corruption and a house of  ‘ghost employees’ until the then President General Musharraf privatized the utility company to provide uninterrupted electricity to Karachites. The KESC fulfilled its promise and restructured the organization on revolutionary lines, from lodging FIRs against the electricity thieves to reducing the load shedding hours as less as 3 hours (comparing with rest of the nation facing more than 10 hours of load shedding). KESC took all necessary measures to turn the white elephant into productive organization.

In an attempt to continue with restructuring and to make the company financially viable the KESC has decided to get rid of those employees who considered burden on organization as a result KESC is forced to lay off 4,000 of its unproductive workers, while 500 employees opted for Voluntarily Separation Scheme (VSS) under a cost-cutting drive.  Most of the lay-off workers were from five different categories – security guards, bill distributors, sanitary workers, drivers and clerical workers who are offered one month’s advance salary and gratuity benefits as a result Collective bargaining agents and union leaders have rejected the policy and opted to confront the management by all means.

With the passing days the KESC’s turmoil is increasing and the situation is getting more and more complex especially the scenario at the KESC Head office which is surrounded by a huge mob of sacked employees and their sympathizers representing the banners of several political parties. The live media coverage has managed to gain the support of the ill informed people of Pakistan who think in favor of the sacked employees considered as a liability by the utility company.

Indeed KESC is not an employment bureau however in a highly polarized country like Pakistan where political parties literally find issues to exploit and make maximum benefit out of them; corporate likes KESC should have conscientiously handled this particular issue foreseeing the post decision chaos. At this point in time mass downsizing would be an unwise step by the company when the country’s economic situation is alarming and Government and all other political parties are trying to capitalize issues for gaining public sympathy.

KESC’s step looks impudent, and the situation doesn’t seem to go in the favor of their decision to lay off the employees. Instead they must come up with “safe strategy” which could be implemented to achieve the objectives gradually. The company should pursuit the policy of downsizing but in a subtle and planned way which will leave very less scope for the labor unions to strengthen.

As an alternative, the company should also revise the appraisals policy which could be determined by company’s profit or productivity measures.

After restoration, all employees should be systematically included in the part of wage reduction program. It would not be fair to slash the wages of entry-level or non-management recruits only, such decisions will further spur discontentment among employees who were initially being targeted.  However as soon as the wages are reduced with no security of appraisals, the non performing staff already working on less wages would definitely look for the soon-to-expire- lucrative Voluntarily Separation Scheme (VSS).

In short the company should devise a smart strategy to divide workers unions with cost reduction plans which will definitely help KESC achieve productivity and its objectives in long term.



  1. Great , so you think these junglee parasites should be given a job then why dont you hire them? If some one is working hard then why should their wage be reduced to compensate these 4000 parasites?

  2. I don’t think they should be given a job what I want is rehire them on KESCs own terms and systematically remove them from the organization. Please read this article once again.

  3. Do not worry Tanzeel ,and so called consumers of KESC , all these junglies will be treated same as you people are suggesting , because a jungli state of jungli society can not think any thing else than jungli norms.

  4. Tanzeel, Frankly speaking I don’t have any opinion to offer on this particular write-up of yours. I am writing this as your friend and certainly not as a reader. An electricity company in Karachi and it’s economic woes etc. just don’t stir a reaction in my mind and I hope you forgive me for that.
    The reason for writing this post is that, I expect much more from you and other liberal guys from Pakistan (that includes Abida) to write on issues, which are relevant and more importantly, relates to the things that are missing in Pak blog-sphere, such as the beauties and intricacies of life in Pakistan. Particularly, when you are such an “happening country”. The point I am trying to make is that, you Pak liberal guys, living in such an harsh and unfriendly environment, are not just able to fight off, but also have been successful in living and retaining your lifestyles, based on your personal beliefs. And that amazes me indeed. My question is what kind of society you are? What is that makes you to get on with your lives? How do you cope with such a madness?
    I am asking the above questions because, readers’ comments, in response to the recent or old tragedies in Pakistan, on several liberal publications and that too representing educated middle classes, are so outrageous that it becomes very difficult to believe that such delusional persons could really exist, in this modern 21st century. And yet, Tanzeels and Abidas are Pakistanis, that is something. But I am not happy with the subjects you choose to write on. You are not doing justice to your talent. There are so many beautiful aspects of life you can choose to write upon.
    However, and certainly, I am not asking you guys to moan, bemoan on the state of affairs in Pakistan. All I am saying is that your kind of young people cannot compete with the established writers/columnists on issues related to politics, economy, geopolitics etc. and therefore, I believe there are new arenas open for you guys, I mean the new and young writers, to explore the new vistas of Pakistani landscape which I believe are still awaiting to be explored. Please, choose and concentrate on those issues which are very much vital and interesting as well. By doing that you would not only be doing justice to yourselves but also serving your beloved country too.
    Therefore, buddy let me tell you this that, you are much more worthier than what you have given to your respective readership so far. I hope you people understand my post. 😦
    Thank you, bye.

  5. //After restoration, all employees should be systematically included in the part of wage reduction program.

    I wish they work like this. Any idea how much KESC paying to their top management? THAT must be a burden on the organization.

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