Kenya: More Upheavals for Tuskys as Workers Protest, Goods Put Up for Auction

Tens of non-unionised workers contracted to Tuskys Supermarket protested on Monday over "inhumane" dismissal and the failure by the ailing retailer to make a firm commitment on their severance pay.

The workers belonging to three outsourcing firms - Artemis, Amicum, and Qrisha - stormed the companies' office on Kimathi House in Nairobi's central business district demanding salary arrears for the months of July and August and one month's pay for September in lieu of termination notice.

But, Mr Lawrence Mosoi, the joint human resources manager for the three firms, was non-committal on the payment saying he was not aware when the funds would be available as it is dependent on their client's (Tuskys) financial position.

On Thursday, an undisclosed number of non-unionised workers were issued with termination letters with promises to settle their salary arrears at the end of September.

The financially troubled Tuskys has not paid thousands of its direct and outsourced employees for the months of July and August with salary arrears topping an estimated Ksh320 million ($3.2 million).

In addition to the workers' protests, auctioneers have put up for sale merchandise at the Tuskys Greenspan Mall in Nairobi's Donholm to recover undisclosed rent arrears.

"Duly instructed by our Principals the landlords under the Distress for Rent Act and Auctioneers' Act, Laws of Kenya, we shall sell by Public Auction the under mentioned good in situ (on-site)," Sannex Auctioneers said in a public notice.

Among items lined up for auction include generators, computer sets, office desks, CCTV systems, deep fryers, bread slicers, chairs, freezers, washing machines, leather sofa sets, bicycles, packets of rice and sugar, beauty and cosmetic products.

The auction is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22.

Last week, the troubled regional retailer, which is operated by Tusker Mattress Ltd, sacked tens of workers and shut down at least four more branches in Kenya, as the cash flow crisis at the retail chain deepened.

The retailer sent home an undisclosed number of non-unionised workers, most of whom had gone for two months without full payment.

Kenya Power also disconnected electricity supply to a number of branches that have fallen behind in paying their bills, and these are now having to run on diesel generators.

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