Business as usual *

 KFC outlet at St Helena Junction —Photo: GYASI GONZALES

Employees of fast food restaurant chain KFC are reeling following a decision by management to stop their stipends, which has left them without any income.

What little hope they had that they would make it through the pandemic has been dashed, staff said.

Broken, dejected and wondering how they would pay their mounting bills, staff said they were given very little notice that their $150 weekly stipend was being stopped from yesterday.

While some employees were able to find out about the stoppage of the stipend a week before, several employees got the news less than 48 hours before it took effect.

One employee who wished not to be identified told the Express, “We are now on the breadline. We are already struggling to feed our families, and even the little that we got, now that too has been taken away from us.”

Employees claimed Prestige Holdings Ltd, the franchise holder of KFC and other fast food chains, last month gave workers two pies and a 20-ounce soft drink, in light of the hardships faced by employees and their families.

Some staff felt the gesture was in bad taste, as many could not pay their rent.

While the $150 was not enough to live on, workers say what little dignity they had left to bring in any kind of income for their family was completely taken away by management.

According to another employee, who also asked not to be identified, since the closure of restaurants in April by the Government to slow the spread of Covid-19, workers have received only a weekly stipend of $150. Once restrictions were rolled back and restaurants were allowed to open, workers said they were able to earn their regular salaries.

“It was a similar arrangement in 2020,” the employee said.

Allowances cut

by voice note

After a company meeting on Wednesday, the employee said a voice note from management was sent to the staff, via WhatsApp, explaining what will be done moving forward. The following is a transcript of the voice note:

“Good day to you.

I call to give a follow-up coming out of the meeting we had yesterday.

Right now the company cannot function how it is supposed to be because they have some outstanding debts they have to pay off.

They also have debts like electrical bills and rent, and all these things to pay. As you know we have no revenue coming in because restaurants are closed.

Unfortunately, the company will not be allowed anymore to pay you all the $150. I am sorry I have to be a bearer of bad news, but the $150 has ceased from the last payment which was last week Thursday. We will no longer be able to pay the $150 anymore.

What are some of the options?

Those who are interested in a term finance loan—employees that are with us for six months should be able to get $500, one year should be able to get $1,000, and over the year... two years or whatever could get $1,500. Payments will be taken out of your salary. Those who do take it, payments will not be taken out until August—to be paying back the loan. It will be easy access just to let them know you are employees of Prestige Holdings Ltd KFC so they will just call for verification. So you don’t need any documents from the restaurant to take out the loan for whosoever is interested or who is in debt. Any further information, can you all please contact me, and do have a blessed day.”

The Express called chairman of Prestige Holdings Ltd Christian Mouttet and CEO Charles Pashley several times yesterday, but got no response. The Express also reached out to KFC’s marketing manager, Jillian Kalloo-Escagy, via e-mail, but got no reply.

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