Employees decry short notice as Ukwala closes Eldoret outlets


By EDITH CHEPNG’ENO
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SUSAN TOWETT

By SUSAN TOWETT
More by this Author

Ukwala Supermarket has closed its two stores in Eldoret and consequently sacked 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.

They said when some of them reported on Wednesday morning they found the stores, one on Oloo Street and the other on Uganda Road, closed.

According to Daniel Kayanda who was the employee’s shop steward at the supermarket, they worked all day until close of business on Tuesday when they were told not to report on Wednesday.

“At 8pm 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 Kayanada.

He also noted that other employees who were off duty on Tuesday reported to work as usual only to find that the supermarket closed.

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Mr Kayanda said that 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 to us,” added Kayanda.

Workers Union officials in Uasin Gishu County condemned the move by the supermarket to close down without informing or giving its workers any notice.

The Chairman of the Central Organisation of Trade Union, Uasin Gishu, Peter Odima accused the supermarket of failing to follow the labour laws of rightful dismissal of an employee.

“We are condemning the manner in which the supermarket management have laid off its workers without following the right procedure,” said Mr Odima.

He said that no prior notice was given to prepare the workers for the sacking as required by the labour law.

The Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers Union’s Branch Secretary Rodgers Ombati accused the management of not notifying them of the impending layoffs.

“The management did not recognize the agreement that they signed with us, we just got information of the lay off from the workers this morning which is very wrong,” said Mr Ombati.

The union officials gave the supermarket a three-day ultimatum to follow the law to address the situation or they will move to court.

“If by Monday the management will not have acted on the matter we will go to the court,” said Mr Odima.

The supermarket directors were not reachable for comment on Wednesday.


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