Afrofoods, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, has closed 14 branches in recent weeks rendering hundreds of employees jobless, it has been learnt.
Some of the branches that have been closed include those in Mabelreign, Zengeza, Avondale and others in Harare’s central business district.
Sources at the retail outlet told NewsDay this week all was not well at the company as employees were getting their salaries late and in batches.
“More than 200 employees have been laid off in the last two to three months as the company is scaling down operations. We have not been informed of the reasons why this is happening,” sources said.
“Those that have remained employed have been put on two-week shift work.”
In emailed responses to NewsDay Afrofoods management said: “We are upgrading shop standards and we are getting rid of small branches that are duplicating services and have embarked on acquiring spacious shops.”
With regards to retrenchment of employees, Afrofoods said: “It is a normal business practice that other contracts are terminated and others start. Also bear in mind that staff complements review is an ongoing exercise whereby more employees are required during busy periods and the reverse is true.”
Afrofoods attributed the late payment of salaries to the changeover to the new payroll system, adding, the situation was now under control.
The company, however, refuted allegations it had introduced shifts as a cost-cutting measure.