Tuskys sends hundreds of staff home in new wave of layoffs

Troubled retailer Tuskys has sent home hundreds of staff members in what it terms as ongoing business operation realignments.

In a letter addressed to the affected employees, the retailer says it will offer payment to the staff members in line with the termination notice including accrued leave days and severance pay.

The terminal dues will however be paid out on February 13, 2021.

“Due to the ongoing business realignments, Tusker Mattresses Limited hereby informs you that it will no longer continue to offer you employment and will terminate your employment contract with effect from September 22,” reads a letter from Tuskys Human Resources General Manager Francis Kimani.

According to sources who spoke to Citizen Digital, the fresh layoffs have largely targeted unionised staff who were recently embroiled in a salaries reduction battle with the tiff ending up in the Employment and Labour Court in July.

Tuskys had sought to trim pay to staff by between 20 and 30 per cent through the reduction of work hours from 45 in a week to 36.

While the staff had challenged the nature of salary reductions, Tuskys warned of dire alternatives to include branch closures and more redundancies.

According to court filings, Tuskys has indicated its Ksh.200 million monthly wage bill has become untenable as the COVID-19 pandemic takes a swipe at operational revenues.

Earlier in the year, Tuskys let go of more staff in two phases with the larger of the two terminations coming in February.

Tuskys continues to remain stuck in quick sand as it battles impatient creditors to stay afloat.

On Tuesday, the retailer earned a timely reprieve as the Environment and Land Court stopped the planned auction of its properties inside Donholm’s Greenspan Mall.

However, its fortunes turned sore in the afternoon as it was forced to shut its Karen branch over rent arrears.

Presently, the retailer has over five branches shut including two in Eldoret town and another at the Komarock Mall.

Moreover, the retailer continues to owe monies to its staff with the unpaid salaries dating back to July.

On Friday, the retailer announced the receipt of a partly Ksh.500 million from its recently announced Ksh.2 billion loan facility from a Mauritius based private fund from which it hopes to stabilize its business.

Staff who spoke to Citizen Digital on Tuesday were however yet to reap any relief from the financing as salaries remain unpaid.