By Kudzai Chikiwa
Disgruntled workers at Haddon and Sly Supermarket in Bulawayo have been sleeping at the premises for three days in protest over outstanding salaries as they suspect the retail outlet has been closed without their knowledge.
The supermarket last opened its doors for business on Thursday last week.
Management at the supermarket had in July threatened to shut down permanently, citing operational challenges.
Workers said they were last paid in July and alleged the supermarket, one of oldest in the city, owes its suppliers a fortune in arrears.
“We now work two weeks in and two weeks out and we are still owed our dues for previous months and they are not even promising when they will pay us. This is terrible because we are getting paid for just the two weeks each month,” said one of the workers during a protest on Sunday.
The management reportedly failed to address the matter, forcing workers to protest and sleep at the premises.
“This is uncalled for, instead of coming to address us and settle our dispute, the management is ignoring us. Rather they decided not even to show up at work but closed their shop and disappeared,’’ said one of the workers.
Another employee said the management initially closed the shop on grounds of stock taking.
“Normally stock taking does not take more than a day but this time we were sent home and when we came back we were surprised to find the shop closed. The situation continued for days and this is the third day. These people are duping us and we suspect it’s their way of dismissing us from work,’’ said a worker on Sunday.
Contacted for comment on Sunday, Haddon and Sly manager Mr Onias Ncube said it was true that they had not settled debts with workers and they (workers) were losing trust in their employer.
However, later in the day he said workers had been paid their outstanding amount.
Asked if the supermarket has closed down permanently, Mr Ncube said Haddon and Sly is not closing but he would update the news crew on the developments after a meeting with the company’s directors.
Meanwhile, the disgruntled workers said they no longer trust their employer because threats of shutting down the shop have gone viral on social media.
They said they still wait for the management to officially announce whether the company is closing or not.
“Since July the management has threatened to close and this may be a sign of shutting down the shop. As you can see that there is no stock in the shop, how then can we trust a continuation of this business when it is clear that restocking is a challenge?’’ one of the workers asked.The Chronicle.