Court blocks planned layoffs at Tuskys

The Employment and Labour Court has blocked planned layoffs at Tuskys following a petition by the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW) In the ruling made on Thursday following the filing of the redundancies challenge as a matter of urgency on Wednesday, Justice Stephen Radido has stopped Tuskys from declaring unlawful and non-procedural redundancies. Further, the judge has suspended the termination letters issued to targeted staff between September 17 and Monday this week. The ruling is set to shield the firing of 400 unionised staff at the retailer pending the hearing and determination of the union’s legal challenge. In their filings in court, KUCFAW says the redundancies go against the Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) signed on March 2017 which requires the employer to serve notice of the intention to declare redundancies. KUCFAW argues the decision to fire staff was arrived at ‘overnight’. Moreover, the workers argue Tuskys has failed to abide by the principle of Last in First Out which would see long-serving staff spared from the cut. Additionally, the targeted employees have called for the clearance of unpaid wages covering the month of August. Unionised staff have continued putting up a spirited fight against the troubled retailer with several other suits pending in the same court. For instance, Tuskys is yet to agree to new CBA terms with the union employees covering the 2019-2021 stretch forcing KUCFAW to file a trade dispute at the employment court. Similarly, the employees are in court to stop unilateral pay cuts while challenging an earlier move to declare 80 staff members redundant following the close of four Tuskys branches in Digo, Mtwapa, Tom Mboya (Nairobi CBD) and Kisumu Mega City. Meanwhile, non-unionised staff including those subcontracted from firms such as the Artemis Outsourcing Limited. Earlier in the week, Tuskys declared its intent to send hundreds of staff home over what it attributed as ongoing business operation realignments according to the termination letters seen by Citizen Digital. Tuskys continues to struggle to pay supplier, landlord and salary dues even as it bets on a new Ksh.2 billion debt injection to stabilize operations.

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