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Kenya: Choppies Ex-Staff Seek Court Order for Sh12.5 Million Payment

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Former Choppies Supermarket employees want it compelled to pay their terminal dues amounting to Sh12.5 million before it exits the Kenyan market.

Workers countrywide were declared redundant in September, November and December 2019.

In January, they moved to court seeking orders to compel the company to pay them.

The chain with roots in Botswana announced plans to exit the Kenyan market in September last year, citing financial hardships, four years after acquiring Ukwala stores for Sh1 billion.

Choppies revealed it had been struggling to grow its market share in an increasingly competitive retail market, characterised by the merger of some of its rivals and the declining fortunes of big players such as Uchumi and Nakumatt.

NO COMMUNICATION

The former workers of the Nakuru branch, which was closed on Saturday, said they were in the dark about the court case as neither Choppies nor their union had communicated with them.

Led by Mr John Chege, they said efforts to convene a meeting with their employer to discuss the way forward had borne no fruit.

“We have been left in the dark … we do not know our fate. The shop is officially closed and no one has told us anything about our pending dues,” said Mr Chege.

Mr Moses Kaula claimed the union’s officials and the company directors have declined to pick their calls.

“We have been waiting for these dues since November, after the months’ notice we were issued expired but nothing seems forthcoming. We are unable to feed our families and pay rent,” said Mr Kalua.

NO COMMENT

Choppies’ Nakuru branch director, Mr Parin Patel, declined to comment on the matter.

“I cannot comment on anything because we are not allowed to brief the media on behalf of the company. Kindly talk to our directors in Botswana,” said Mr Patel.

In December last year, the Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered the supermarket to deposit Sh12.5 million as security for former employees seeking pay.

Senior Principal Magistrate Robinson Ondieki also ordered the retailer to deposit Sh7 million as a guarantee should the firm exit the country without paying the dues.

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