KISUMU, Kenya, Nov 26 – Nakumatt supermarket is exiting the lakeside city of Kisumu as it closes its last outlet in the region.
Speaking to Capital FM, Chief Supervisor of the supermarket Micholo Ochieng says workers were told on Thursday last week not to open doors for customers.
Ochieng’ adds that the management is yet to pay salaries plus arrears amounting to close to Sh2 million.
“We cannot stop the closing of the supermarket; however, we demand to be paid. We will not allow them to close with our dues,” he said.
The standoff between the workers and management today saw police officers called in to help the supermarket have the packed goods loaded into trucks.
This did not help, as the workers refused to have the goods ferried away until they are paid their dues.
Ochieng says they have sought for help from Labour offices in Kisumu who have in turn summoned the management and directed them to pay the workers before winding up.
Mildred Atieno, who has worked at the supermarket for 22 years, says there was notice given to the workers on the intended closure. Atieno says most of the workers’ contracts expires in January 2020.
“We were wondering why we are closing yet we had a contract up to January next year. The last time Nakumatt was closing a branch, workers were never paid for 7 months,” she said.
Atieno asked the government to intervene and help the workers get their payments for the work they have done for the supermarket over years.
Nakumatt Holdings, once the region’s largest regional retailer has been struggling in the recent past with most of its stores in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda closed and workers sent away.
The supervisor revealed that plans are underway to have all the remaining stores around the country closed by January 2020.
The management however declined to speak to the press as they were holed up in a meeting with the security officers on the way forward.