Nakumatt staff strike over unpaid salaries
Operations at regional retailer Nakumatt were on Tuesday morning thrown into disarray after a section of workers downed their tools demanding payment of salaries.
The workers, who took their protests to Mombasa Road, are demanding payment of their June and July salaries.
The protest comes barely a month after Nakumatt sent a memo to its staff indicating that it would start staggering salaries across the month as it continued to face financial challenges.
In a memo to employees, Nakumatt management said it would pay salaries in three installments split into 30 percent, 40 percent and 30 percent over three weeks.
“The company has reviewed salary payment plans with an intention of ensuring that every employee gets a percentage of his/her salary every for a total of three weeks in a month,” read part of the memo.
But the employees now claim they are yet to receive two months’ salary and are demanding payment from Nakumatt’s top brass.
“Hatutaki memo. Tunataka pesa (We don’t want a memo. We want money),” the employees chanted as they made their way to Nakumatt headquarters along Mombasa road.
But in quick rejoinder, Nakumatt has urged the workers to return to their stations, terming the strike as illegal.
“A section of staff have not reported to their workstations. From a management perspective, that’s an illegal and unprotected strike. Management reserves the right to pursue the necessary disciplinary action,” Nakumatt said in a statement.
The management argues a strike at this point would disrupt ongoing talks to restructure the business.
“Management remains in contact with the Union and staff are advised to return to work and avoid jeopardizing ongoing restructuring efforts,” the retailer added.
Nakumatt has some 5,700 employees spread across its regional operations.
Nakumatt has been suffering under a mountain of debt that has seen a number of manufactures pull their items from its stores over delayed payments.
Last week the Department of Trade negotiated a deal with some eight banks to restructure their debt with Nakumatt.
The government has at the same time been mediating talks between Nakumatt and its suppliers to work out a deal that could potentially have manufactures stock up the retailer’s shelves.
Nakumatt has since 2015 been actively searching for a strategic investor to pump in funds but is yet to secure one.
Report by Kinoti Karimi & Mumbi Warui
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