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November 14, 2018

Tuskys locks horns with its workers again

STANDOFF: Tusky’s Enkarasha branch along Kenyatta Avenue was among those closed during the workers countrywide strike on December 19 last year. Photo/KARUGA WA NJUGUNA
STANDOFF: Tusky’s Enkarasha branch along Kenyatta Avenue was among those closed during the workers countrywide strike on December 19 last year. Photo/KARUGA WA NJUGUNA

STAFF at supermarket chain Tuskys are likely to stage a second major strike after the management reportedly sacked over 100 employees citing "redundancy," union officials told the Star.

The employees' spokesperson Samson Omechi accused the Tuskys management of spoiling for a fight by sacking over 113 workers citing redundancy, at a time when the company is opening new stores in its ongoing expansion programme.

Omechi who is the chairman of the central staff committee at Tuskys whose workers are represented by the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food, and Allied Workers said the company had also signed a deal with Shell in which more stores will be opened at the oil marketers' select outlets hence the job cuts were a "witch hunt."

"They informed the union of their plans to lay off 113 employees but from the sacking letters people started receiving as from February 20, they have laid off more than the number they had said," Omechi complained.

"Its not realistic that they are firing workers when they are expanding the business. It is simply fighting back and victimisation of staff because of the earlier strike where we demanded for our fair dues."

In December, Tuskys employees staged a one day strike that led to the company losing over Sh300 million in sales revenue after paralysing operations in all of the company's stores.

The move led to swift action by the management which moved fast to end the biting strike by signing the first ever collective bargaining agreement with Kucfaw which spelt out better remuneration and employment terms for its workers.

"We cannot sit back and watch as the management tries to silence the voice of the workers...we must fight back and we are going to react very soon," warned Omechi.

The Star's efforts to reach Tusky's general manager Peter Mbatia for comment were not successful.

Under the CBA agreement between Tuskys management and the workers union signed in November last year, the over 6,000 unionisable employees had their pay increased and were to be entitled to at least one paid off day per week from an earlier rule of only two per month, 23 leave days per year from 21, overtime pay of one and a half times the normal houraly rate, house allowance, and paid sick leave among other perks.

Tuskys has over 50 outlets across the country and recently opened its first of many to be located within Shell service stations, at Haile Selassie avenue in Nairobi.

It also took over the operations of some Ukwala Supermarket outlets in Nairobi.

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