Diana Nherera Herald Reporter
More than 80 Thomas Meikle Stores employees from its eight branches around the country today received letters of retrenchment without receiving packages as they had agreed with management.

The move to retrench workers did not go down well with the workers resulting in business coming to a standstill when they closed Barbours and Meikles Mega Market in Harare today.

Thomas Meikle Stores workers’ union chairperson, Mr Tivapi Mhaka today said management at the department store last month informed them of their intention to retrench workers countrywide on a mutual basis.

“Workers were shocked to receive letters Friday morning informing them that their contracts had been terminated.

“The retrenched workers were supposed to have received service benefits of one and a half months per year of serving Thomas Meikle, two months per year of service surveillance, a month for relocation and three months for medical aid,” said Mr Mhaka.

According to the letter, contracts of the workers were terminated today.

“This letter serves as notice of termination of your contract of employment. In terms of Section 12 (4) of the Labour Act (Chapter 28: 01), either parties is entitled to give three months’ notice of termination of the contract of employment.

“Accordingly, your contract will be terminated with effect from Friday March 20 2015,” read part of the letter given to retrenched Thomas Meikles workers.

It is understood that Thomas Meikle Stores managing director, Mr Phillip Ellse recruited new employees, who include the company’s executive and other junior contract workers.

Mr Mhaka said the retrenched workers should have received the right to first re-employment but management said they could not reinstate the workers.

“We are closing Meikles Mega Market and Barbours Stores and they will remain closed until, Mr Ellse addresses us,” said Mr Mhaka.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Ellse were fruitless as his secretary said he was out of the office and his mobile phone was unreachable.