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This is really tough – KFC Worker

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“This is not just over 100 persons out of a job, but we have families too. This is really rough!”

This is the lamentation of one former employee of the local KFC franchise, which he expressed to SEARCHLIGHT in an interview yesterday.{{more}}

The worker, who has been employed with the franchise for the past five years, said since the closure of the business on Monday, he has had to take his child out of pre-school and make decisions about which conveniences, currently enjoyed by his family, he would have to give up.

“I am the sole bread winner in my home right now that pays the rent and all the bills. Right now, I don’t even know what I am going to do. I will have to go Flow (telecommunications provider) and tell them cut it, but my family needs it,” the worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

He also noted that he will have to return some appliances that he had recently taken out on a hire purchase agreement.

On Monday, the three KFC outlets, operated by local businessman Ormiston “Ken” Boyea, were shut down by receivers from the auditing firm Grant Thornton, acting on instructions from the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Recalling the last day on the job, the employee stated that they were informed by management that the receivers were in the country and that they had been instructed to close the business at 4 p.m.

The employee stated that prior to this, they had not been given any indication that the business was going to close. He however admitted that he had recognized that the business was experiencing financial difficulty.

“We know that KFC was going through things financially. We were told that the franchise was pulled, but I think there were some efforts made to prevent that from happening,” he said.

However, the employee said that his main concern and the general concern of other staff members is whether they will be paid severance and if the closure is indefinite.

“There are people in the system here for more than 18 years and of course, everybody collectively will be concerned as to if we are going to get severance. Are we going to get paid up to the period that we worked? Is it indefinitely we don’t have a job? It was a lot of concern among the staff on Monday,” he continued.

According to the worker, they have not yet received any answers to their concerns, and a meeting that had been scheduled for yesterday (Thursday) with the workers, did not materialize.

“We are out of a job. The doors are closed. We are not functioning… Some people have mortgages and mounting bills, so plan B for us, I think is us getting severance.”

Furthermore, the employee said he has been hurt by some of the comments being made on social media about the close of the franchise.

“People are posting that they are glad that KFC close and all sorts of things and how people weren’t eating healthy. KFC is not responsible for people not eating healthy. They need to look at the big picture. It’s not if KFC is healthy or not, it’s that KFC is providing jobs for over 100 people and those people are now out of a job. We can’t rejoice that KFC close. No man!” he stressed.

“People should be asking these questions. How are these people going to get by? Can they do anything to help? Is anybody coming forward to say they are going to hire persons from KFC? KFC workers are thoroughly trained in food handling. All I hear is bad remarks putting down the KFC workers. We have feelings. People need to think before posting these things.”

“The brand of KFC is strong. Yes, that is so because of the support of the public. What I appreciated is when were going through the hard times, and we didn’t have the correct chicken parts or the brand boxes, you would hear the public say we had a standard, and that was good to know. Not many business places drop their standards and people make a fuss about it,” he said.

The worker stated that he believes the problem was close to getting rectified, but time just did not permit. He also thanked the public who supported them through their tough times.

He hopes however, that the franchise will be back up and running, but says he is not sure who will be in control or when the doors will reopen.

“I really can’t say when or who, but I’m sure they are working expeditiously to get it resolved. I would like it to be the same owners or another Vincentian owner operating it.”

He said on Wednesday this week, workers of the three KFC locations and Pizza Hut Delivery (who are also affected by the closure) went on a beach trip to reminisce and speak about their way forward.

“To get a gathering like that was helpful. We talked, we ate, played football and interacted and consoled each other, but the purpose of the trip was just to get a load off our shoulders,” the worker stated.

He expressed thanks to Boyea, who, despite faced with an uphill financial battle, choose not to downsize the staff.

“He choose not to. I really appreciate that. I know he realized how the economy is and there are cuts that could have been done, but he choose not to.

Boyea, earlier this week, told SEARCHLIGHT that although the fast food restaurant was doing well, he had to take funds from the restaurant to pay the large mortgage he had taken to finance the construction of the “mall”, at Arnos Vale.

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