Employees of retail chain Choppies, which bought out majority of Ukwala outlets in Kenya, are set to get a six per cent salary increase following the signing of a new wage agreement that has been backdated to September 2017.
The salary increase is effective September 1, 2017 and will stay in force for a year, following which employees can expect a further eight per cent boost to their salaries.
The agreement signed between Choppies and the Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW) will also see new employees earn a minim Sh18,943.98 and a maximum Sh30,919.14, exclusive of housing allowances.
Boniface Kavuvi, secretary general of the Union told Business Daily that some new benefits, such as a commuter allowance of Sh2,000 had been introduced. Pre-existing benefits such as housing allowance and overtime pay have been increased and regularised in the agreement.
“Every unionisable employee who is not provided with free accommodation by the company shall be entitled to a housing allowance of two thousand eight hundred shillings (Sh2,800) or 15 per cent of the basic salary whichever is high,” the agreement further says.
The working week will be 45 hours long beyond which employees will be entitled to overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the normal hourly rate. The employees will also get a study leave of 15 days during examination periods.
In December last year, the Botswana-based Choppies entered fresh wage talks with its employees in Kenya. This came after Choppies acquired 75 per cent stake in Kenyan retailer Ukwala.
Last year, KUCFAW said that it would seek to enhance the pay for employees beyond proposals that had been handed to Ukwala earlier in the year. At the time, Ukwala had 777 employees.
The union said that it wanted its members to enjoy benefits such as overtime pay, lunch breaks, paid sick leave and housing allowance.
KUCFAW had earlier threatened to frustrate the deal between Ukwala and Choppies but backed down when the Gaborone-based retailer committed to fresh wage talks at the conclusion of the acquisition.
Employees in Kenya’s retail sector are facing uncertain times. The continued financial woes of Nakumatt have seen it clash with staff who’ve gone months without their pay. Uchumi workers also recently went on a go-slow which was only appeased by the signing of a return-to-work formula.
Employees of another retailer, Chandarana, in June got a 10 per cent salary rise while the courts have compelled Jade Collections to allow its workers to unionise.