Ukwala Supermarket has closed its two stores in Eldoret and sent home at least 61 employees as the tough economic situation in the country continues to bite, leading to more job losses.
The employees said they were told not to report to work again on Tuesday evening after the day’s job.
When some of them showed up on Wednesday morning, they found the stores closed. One is on Oloo Street and the other on Uganda Road.
“At 8pm on Tuesday, we were summoned by the management and told not to report to work today. This came as a shock because we were not expecting it. No notice was issued,” said Mr Daniel Kayanda, a shop steward.
Staff who were off duty on Tuesday reported to work as usual on Wednesday, only to find the doors closed.
Mr Kayanda said some employees had worked there since 2002 and it was unfair for the management to treat them in such a manner.
“After our dismissal, no one addressed how and when our salaries will be paid,” he added.
Workers Union officials in Uasin Gishu County condemned the move, saying it was illegal for the management to shut down operations without giving its workers any notice.
The chairman of the Central Organisation of Trades Union in Uasin Gishu, Mr Peter Odima, said the supermarket did not follow labour laws.
“We are condemning the manner in which the management has laid off its workers without following the right procedure. No notice was given to workers as required by law,” said Mr Odima.
NO PRIOR NOTICE
The Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers Union’s branch secretary, Rodgers Ombati, said the management did not notify them.
“The management did not recognise the agreement they signed with us. We just got information of the layoffs from the workers this morning, which is wrong,” said Mr Ombati.
The union officials gave the supermarket a three-day ultimatum to follow the law to address the situation or risk a legal suit.
“If by Monday the management will not have acted on the matter, we will go to court,” said Mr Odima.
The supermarket directors could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.