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NEXT: Fear of job loss as coy offers severance package to staff

As the management of NEXT Cash and Carry rummages what is left of the wreckage by the inferno that consumed its Abuja supermarket, its staff…

As the management of NEXT Cash and Carry rummages what is left of the wreckage by the inferno that consumed its Abuja supermarket, its staff are yet to know their fate.

The supermarket, which is believed to have a staff strength of about 1,000 direct and indirect staff with 200 farmers that supply items to the store, was a shadow of itself when our reporter visited the place on Wednesday as charred goods littered the space where arrays of goods and staff once stood.

With little personnel available as there was no work to do, those who spoke to Daily Trust stated that despite being promised that they won’t be laid off, they are in the dark on when operations will resume.

One of the staff said he has been working there for ten years and apart from the salary he is paid, he gets other perks there.

“Now everything has shattered. If they say we should stop working, I do not know where to start from.”

He stated that he works in the furniture section but with the supermarket currently at a loss, he is hoping that the management can be able to set up the place as soon as possible. 

“We are hoping the owner will be able to set up again, which I believe he will because he is a good man to everybody since I have been here.”

Another staff member, Solomon, said over 1,000 people will be jobless if the supermarket is not revived.

“If you go out for a job now you will find it difficult. With the economy in bad shape, we will be in great hardship and it is only God that can bring succour and help to us during these trying times.

“I have a wife with two children and it is what I make from here that I used to cater for them.”

On whether he is hopeful the supermarket would be revived, Solomon said, “We are hopeful of the place coming back, according to them they will. There are some organizations that say they will help but before then what are we going to do. Anyone among us that doesn’t have sustenance during this period can’t survive, but we will appreciate it if some palliatives are given out to us.” 

The General Manager of NEXT, Neil Pape, while speaking yesterday during a visit by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, stated that no job loss would be recorded as severance packages would be given to staff.

Pape said: “Nobody has lost their jobs. For the time that we are close, we will be looking at giving severance and packages and as soon as the business open, we will reemploy our staff. We do care and we will always care for our staff and our business.

“It will take time to open the stall but we will try to push it, and the board of directors will be issuing a statement on the opening of the new stall.”

Neil urged the federal government to support it in approving the demolition of the burnt structure to open for new business. 

The Minister lamented that the incident has led to job loss but promised to proffer ways to support the company in getting back on its feet.

To ensure insurance for these cases, Universal Insurance Plc, said it has launched a Shop Insurance Retail which is the first of such to cover fire and special perils.

The Managing Director of Universal Insurance Plc, Mr Benedict Ujoatuonu promised prompt payment of indemnity and urged shop owners to take advantage of benefits provided by the unique product.

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