Uchumi Supermarket employees countrywide have downed their tools in a demand for May and June salaries.
This comes less than a month after the government gave the retailer another Sh700 million in January as a shareholder loan. It had earlier given Sh500 million.
The government has a 14.67 per cent stake in the retailer, second to Jamii Bora Bank which has 14.9 per cent shareholding.
In Nairobi, more than 1,200 employees marched to the retailer’s headquarters along Mombasa Road, saying they will not return to work without pay.
Alfred Kitivi, secretary general of Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers, said the management has been asking employees to apply for salary advances of less than Sh10,000
”We have not received any proper communication from the human resources department and those who question are threatened with disciplinary action.”
Uchumi, which has about 1,300 employees, has confirmed the salaries delay.The chain has attributed this to cash flows problems that have rendered it unable to meet several other obligations.Besides salaries, shelves at Uchumi are running empty. A spot check at the usually busy Sarit Centre branch painted the picture of a struggling firm.The groceries section only had a few sticks of withering spinach, cabbages and onions. There was no maize flour at the time but a shortage is largely to blame for this.