Business at the Karatina branch of the troubled Uchumi Supermarkets #ticker:UCHM was paralysed on Tuesday after employees downed their tools protesting non-payment of their salaries.
About 40 workers carried placards, twigs, and blew whistles as they marched on the streets chanting "Kipngetich, We can't survive on an empty stomach, you are more experienced in handling wild animals not human beings”.
Dr Julius Kipng'etich is Uchumi's group chief executive and a former CEO of Kenya Wildlife Service.
The local representative of the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFW) Mr James Mungai said the employees had not been paid their salaries for the past two months.
Mr Mungai blamed the current management for the woes facing Uchumi. The workers called for the reinstatement of the former managers, including ousted CEO Mr Jonathan Ciano, who has since been charged with fraud at the chain.
“We know the government has been pumping in billions of shillings in a bid to bail out Uchumi but we don’t know where the money goes, its two months without getting our salaries, landlords are after us, we can’t feed our families, what do they expect us to do,” he posed.
The workers later picketed outside the store shouting Kipngetich must go, Tano Tena for Ciano” as they vowed to continue with the strike until their demands are met.
Inside the store, a few customers who turned up for shopping were a served by some management staff as some of the shelves remained empty.