More than 30 Ukwala Supermarket employees have been laid off after the retail chain closed its last branch in Eldoret town.
The affected employees were declared redundant on Tuesday evening by the Supermarket management a few months after closing another branch along Uganda Road.
An employee Daniel Kayanda said they worked the whole of Tuesday until 8pm when they were summoned for a meeting and informed that they had been sacked.
“We were laid off without any form of notice as required by the labour law, when we asked why we were being laid off without notice and what the fate of our salaries for the days worked, the directors of the company only said we shall be informed in future without stating when,” said Kayanda during a press briefing outside the closed supermarket.
Central Organisation of trade union (COTU) Uasin Gishu branch condemned the move by the Supermarket owners to shut down operations without giving notice to their employees.
COTU Uasin Gishu branch chairman Peter Odima called on the ministry of Labour to take action against the business owners for not following the law.
“We are giving the county labour officer up to Friday to find and take action against the directors of Ukwala Supermarket chain for arbitrarily sacking its employees failure to which we shall storm his office to demand justice for the affected employees,” warned Odima.
Ukwala Supermarket has been struggling for some time over dwindling business coupled with stiff competition from other Supermarkets. This is the second Supermarket to close down after Nakummat.
Building construction and Timber workers union Eldoret branch chairman George Moseti said the rate at which commercial businesses including factories were closing down in Eldoret was worrying.
“Only recently Raiply declared more than 1500 employees redundant after the government suspended harvesting of logs from its forests. Other businesses are also closing down due to economic hardship and if not contained the rate of crime in Uasin Gishu will go up significantly,” he warned.
“Most of the sacked Ukwala employees had worked for the supermarket for over five years and are now stranded since their sacking came as a surprise,” said Kayanda.
By Cynthia Jebet and Kiptanui Cherono