A last-minute attempt by the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers to stop mass sacking at the South African retailer Massmart, which operates as Game Stores, have failed after their proposals were rejected.
The union says the firm will now issue redundancy notices ahead of the stores’ official shutdown in the next two months, ending its seven-year struggle on the Kenyan market.
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed retail giant was looking at a short term plan from workers to turn around the business to avoid closure, after rival supermarkets snubbed sale offers.
“All the options we had given appeared to be long-term to them and they were looking for short-term solution, which we don’t have, so they are going to close down by end of the year,” Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers organising secretary Mike Oranga told Business Daily.
“They will issue a proper notice of redundancy to workers and once they do so we will start engaging on the employee’s benefits. Meanwhile, workers are at work until then and they will continue earning their full salaries.”
Kenya has become a tough market for retailers following the collapse of Nakumatt and Tuskys, which had dominated for decades.
Uchumi has also struggled in the competition as deep-pocketed newcomers such as Carrefour and QuickMart battle for a space.