In December 2019, Kenyans online began seeing that retail chain Tusker Mattresses Limited popularly known as Tuskys Supermarket has given its staff notice of deducting salaries in case there’s a case of theft at any of the supermarket branches.
In January some employees of the supermarket that reached us expressed anger and frustrations at the new policy stating that they will be victimized yet there’s a security firm that has been contracted to do that work.
“We work on different shifts but hawataki kujua hata mahali ikipotea wakati haujaingia ama wakati uko off they would still victimise us they claim that we should responsible for sections we are assigned”, a staff member said on condition of anonymity.
The source said that some staff ‘will be earning nothing after such deductions’.
Fast forward to April and the impact and uncertainty created by COVID-19 pandemic, some staff have spoken to KenyanBulletin.com revealing that the ‘deductions-from-salary-to-recover-theft’, policy has been replaced with a more sinister one; sacking.
“Tuskys supermarket sacking employees right, left, center during this COVID-19 pandemic. In disguise of wrong counts of merchandise’, a staff member wrote.
It is alleged that over 15 staff members in different Tuskys branches have already been shown the door.
Decreased sales among other things, according to those in the know, is the cause of all these.
“The management is taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to lay off staff, yet the problem might be deeper’, said a source.
The letter of sacking as seen by Kenyanbulletin.com states in part the reasons for sacking as, ‘willful submitting wrong counts on items which contravenes company policy”.
It also states that the staffer has demonstrated negligence in the performance of duties.
Francis Kimani, the Tuskys Human Resources General Manager refused our request for clarification.
Some of the staff we spoke to, said they are being targetted clandestinely so that the firm could not be seen as suffering.
In March, Tuskys CEO Dan Githua through an internal memo to staff promised to take a 20 per cent pay cut for six months.
It then emerged later that the CEO also sent an email to all branches stating that staff will have to take a pay cut to ease the rise in the cost of doing business due to the coronavirus disease.
“I am a concerned staff Tuskys supermarket, I request you tell fellow Kenyans what we go through. Tuskys CEO sent a mail to all branches that 20% of our salary will be deducted due to expenses occurred in purchasing hygienic products like sanitizers masks gloves, this is not good as they pay us very little”, a staff member of Tuskys Supermarket wrote.
In 2019, online sources indicated Tuskys chief staff recruitment agency Artemis Outsourcing Limited was accused of mistreatment.
Staff from the supermarket were being forced to join a SACCO, to which leaving or asking for one’s due was a headache.
A staffer wrote:
They have a SACCO which they force staff to join, but when one wants to terminate their membership, it becomes a headache. Sometimes you get deductions on your payslip which aren’t explained for and you neva get the money back. Our employer, Artemis, sent a memo that we should not work more than 11 hours a day; above that the memo said they won’t compensate. However, Tuskys management has disregarded this. We are forced to work even upto 14 hours without extra compensation.