French retailer Carrefour is a den of employee oppression, harassment, intimidation and extended working hours, insiders have intimated to Kahawa Tungu.
According to a letter addressed to the management in our possession, at the centre of this oppression is the general manager Mr Houssem Naccache, whom employees say is untouchable.
Mr Naccache, despite being the leader, regularly breaks company rules as he wishes, just to keep the workforce terrorized. Even when on leave, Mr Naccache comes to work in civilian just to harass employees, despite company policies dictating that no employee should access his/her work station when on leave or during off days.
The most affected staffers are those working in the Two rivers branch, where the manager uses racial slurs against the employees.
“Almost on a daily basis, 2 weeks in April and two weeks towards end of May, footage (CCTV) will clearly show him illegally at work while he should be on leave. On multiple occasions, he would harass staff and one day, a junior staff member (name withheld) had his turn. Racial slurs are claimed to have been used against him based on him being black,” a source said.
The country Human Resource Manager Ms Roselyn Kweyu is said to have ignored the case, even after a complaint was launched.
Ms Roselyn, for a long time, is said to have stifled complains of harassment of employees by Mr Naccache, in a bid to protect him for unknown reasons.
“They had been holding a series of meetings- we liked to believe -about what actions that would be taken this time, in light of the undertaking he made the last time he met with all two rivers managers to address Mr Houssem’s abrasive attitude. Unfortunately, 3 weeks later, nothing seems to have happened, Roselyn has also implored the affected employee to withdraw his complaint,” the letter of complain adds.
On his side, Mr Naccache has been ‘buying’ local managers to his side, since things seem to be getting out of hand due to his behaviour. The letter reveals that there is talk of promised promotions with backdated salary increments.
“A fortnight ago, he loaned a couple of staff, including two managers money to purchase Dr mattress mattresses. Funny that a very abrasive GM who is always threatening one with sanctions, warning letters( which by the way is his preferred way of ensuring managers don’t get salary increments even 2 to 3 years after joining) is all of a sudden eager to help you purchase a Ksh100,000 mattress that has been put on sale at Ksh30,000,” the letter adds.
Managers, according to the letter, are denied overtime pay as they are not allowed to clock in, meaning their work records are not kept.
“Managers are meant to work the same 8 hours a day with one hour lunch, to avoid paying them overtime. They tell you you are exempt from punching, while staff below grade 12 be required to punch in, and receive their daily clocking reports but managers do not. Ask any single manager in Kenya, Carrefour cannot provide any working hour record for them, be it weekly, monthly or yearly,” adds the letter.
The close to 300 staffers at Carrefour Two Rivers now want Mr Naccache transferred to another branch, as a test to see if it is just bad blood between him and the workers or he is unable to relate well with his juniors.
The same allegations are echoed by former employee, Michael Mbugi Njeru, who wrote to the management launching complains against Mr Naccache, whom he accuses of harassing him before his exit.
He says that at one time he was forced to remove his shirt, leaving him ‘naked’ in public.
“Majid Al Futtaim Hypermarkets Ltd Two Rivers stores General Manger Mr Houssem Eddin Naccache directed me to remove my official uniform shirt on 5th November 2019 during the handing over process. I was left with my vest and I had to cover my nakedness with my trench coat, this was so humiliating and I felt so embarrassed and loss of human dignity,” says Mr Njeru.
Njeru also accuses Mr Naccache of conducting skewed performance appraisals to achieve his agenda, in most cases meant to put down the employees he hates.