Companies

Court stops Tuskys from cutting more jobs in turnaround

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A Tuskys branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Employment and Labour Relations court judge Stephen Radido froze the job cuts pending the hearing of the suit where the workers union wants the layoffs stopped because Tuskys failed to issue a timely notice.
  • Tuskys has so far shed more than 400 union jobs in the wake of a cash crunch that has seen it lose customers, suppliers and stores to auctioneers.

A High Court judge has stopped Tuskys Supermarket from laying off more unionised workers amid a restructuring plan aimed at keeping the cash-strapped retailer afloat.

Employment and Labour Relations court judge Stephen Radido froze the job cuts pending the hearing of the suit where the workers union wants the layoffs stopped because Tuskys failed to issue a timely notice.

Tuskys has so far shed more than 400 union jobs in the wake of a cash crunch that has seen it lose customers, suppliers and stores to auctioneers.

“That pending the hearing of the motion inter partes and or further directions, an order do hereby issue restraining the respondent from further declaring any redundancies unlawfully and or unprocedurally,” said justice Radido.

“That motion be served for inter partes hearing or further orders on October 8, 2020.”

The Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (Kucfaw) said Tuskys did not meet the 30-day notice period. The retailer is said to have issued a notice of four days.

Tuskys Human Resource general manager Francis Kimani in a redundancy letter to workers dated September 21 said the layoffs and restructuring is part of the ongoing “business operations realignments.”

He added that the affected workers will be paid notice in lieu, unutilised annual leave days and severance pay.

The terminal dues, Mr Kimani said will be paid out on February 13, 2021.

But Kucfaw through its secretary- general Boniface Kavuvi argues that the layoff is in violation of the law as Tuskys did not prepare workers to exit the company.

For months now, shoppers have complained of missing essential goods on the retailer’s shelves, suggesting that some suppliers are severing ties

Tuskys is seeking to sell a majority stake to a consortium made up of a private equity firm and an undisclosed foreign retailer as part of efforts to raise cash to pay suppliers and win back their confidence.

In the short-term it is seeking a Sh2 billion debt from an offshore fund.