Nakumatt staff go on strike in pay delays row

Nakumatt Supermarkets managing director Atul Shah. PHOTO | FILE
Nakumatt Supermarkets managing director Atul Shah. PHOTO | FILE 

A section of Nakumatt Supermarkets workers in Nairobi and Kisumu branches Tuesday downed their tools to protest delayed salaries as the retailer continues to struggle financially.

The cash-strapped retailer is said to have paid the workers only 30 per cent of the June salaries after it announced plans to start weekly payments.

Workers in Nairobi held a demonstration along Mombasa Road to the retail chain’s headquarters to press for their pay as the retailer grapples with product shortages.

“We have only been paid a third of our June Salaries and now we have July ended without any pay, surely how are we supposed to survive at a time when the cost of living has shot this high? If the retail chain is not able to meet out demand then let’s terminate the contracts legally and let us be paid to go home and do other things,” an employee who did not want to be identified said.

Last month, the 5,700 employees rejected proposals to pay them weekly and asked Nakumatt through the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers to drop the plan and open talks on a higher pay deal.

The retail chain is pushing banks to reschedule loans amounting to nearly Sh10 billion. Suppliers have held back supplies and insist being paid upfront for deliveries. 

TRM Mall recently seized merchandise like televisions, trolley and refrigerators to auction and recover for unpaid rent of Sh51 million.

Nakumatt on Monday sent a memo to the staff discouraging them from going on strike.