Troubled Tuskys Supermarket has retrenched some of its non-unionised employees who have gone for months without pay as the retailer’s deteriorating financial situation spirals out of control.
This comes as it emerged that its K-Mall branch in Nairobi’s Komarock Estate has been closed due to rent arrears.
“We are staff that had been outsourced to Tuskys and we have been working there for a while. We have been with them even in difficult times so right now we have been called to the offices,” a contracted employee who had been summoned to the offices of Artemis, an outsourcing company, told The EastAfrican.
"Some of us have been given termination letters, others are told that they will get back to you. For those who are given termination letters, you are also given a cheque of which you are not sure whether it is going to bounce or not at the end of the month,” the affected worker said.
The contracted staffer added that they have gone without salaries since July but last week they got "a few coins" which left the employees lamenting.
“There was a planned short strike of which I believe they [Tuskys] got wind off and managed to call the police on us and everything went off.”
The Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW) confirmed that none of its members has been impacted and they are yet to get details about the fate of the non-unionised employees.
“If workers are sacked and happen to be our members they come to us for presentation. Artemis [workers] are not our members,” the Union’s Secretary-General Boniface Kavuvi told The EastAfrican.
Tuskys Chief Executive Daniel Githua could not be reached for comment as our calls and messages through his cellphone went unanswered.
Tuskys has an estimated 2,000 permanent and pensionable employees who are unionised and about 4,000 workers who fall under the category of outsourced labour from firms such as Artemis Outsourcing Ltd, Amicum, and Qrisha.
The retailer, which is operated by Tusker Mattress Ltd, has not paid thousands of its direct and outsourced employees for two months (July and August) with salary arrears topping an estimated Ksh320 million ($3.2 million).
A company insider had earlier told The EastAfrican that non-unionised employees falling under the category of outsourced labour and who form the bulk of the labour force have been at the sharp end of the retailer’s cost-cutting measures, being compelled to go on two weeks unpaid leave each month, beginning June.