KENYATuskys Supermarket is set to retrench 37 of its employees in what it attributes to the closure of its Tom Mboya and Ronald Ngala branches in Nairobi’s central business district.

The retailer says it has so far been unable to re-open the two branches after they were closed on August 4 following an order by the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).

“We are no longer in a position to continue offering employment to 37 of the staff working at the premises and we intend to terminate their services on account of redundancy on October 4,” Tuskys wrote to its workers’ union on September 3.

Human resource manager Francis Kimani added in the letter that the firm has made every effort to have the closed branches reopened, but with no success. Tuskys management could not be reached for comment and their lawyers declined to reply to our queries.

Officials of the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers told the Business Daily that they plan to hold talks with the management over the intended retrenchment. They argue that the retailer can absorb the 37 employees in its new branches and those it is set to open in the near term.

Tuskys last week opened a branch in Ruaka town, marking its latest expansion that has seen it rise to become the second largest retailer after Nakumatt Holdings. The firm, however, says the closure of the Tom Mboya and Ronald Ngala outlets has made the targeted workers redundant.

Tuskys had taken over the two outlets from Ukwala Supermarket, which had ceded a total of six branches to the family-owned business.

The competition watchdog, however, whittled down the acquisitions, ordering Tuskys to vacate five Ukwala outlets, including the Tom Mboya and Ronald Ngala branches where it had already taken over the management and daily operations.

This meant that Tuskys could only buy out Ukwala’s Jogoo Road branch. The CAK’s ruling put at risks the jobs of more than 100 staff who were employed in the closed outlets.

The five branches that Tuskys intended to acquire include Ukwala Hyper, Hakati and Haile Selassie outlets.
Tuskys had already started integrating the Ukwala stores in its operations, including their human resource function, with the retailer seconding some of its employees to the new units.

September 16, 2014;