Juan Mujica, Vice President of Operations for Kazi Foods of the Virgin Islands, announced earlier today the closure of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant located at Buccaneer Mall on St. Thomas. “The lease for this facility is due to expire in a few weeks,” Mujica explained, “and the rent on this particular restaurant is more than four times that of some of our other restaurants on St. Thomas. We attempted to negotiate with the landlord, but could not reach a mutually agreeable position.”
The employees at the Buccaneer Mall KFC are represented by the Virgin Islands Workers Union, which was orally notified some months ago as to the imminent closure and were notified in writing this month as to the final decision to close. In an attempt to negotiate the effects of the closure on the affected employees of Buccaneer Mall, with the VIWU, a negotiation session was held yesterday. However, the VIWU refused to negotiate. Accordingly, Kazi Foods made the determination to proceed with closure and the implementation of a severance program to assist its employees.
The Buccaneer Mall KFC employees will be provided with a severance package. Mujica noted that Kazi Foods was coordinating the closure with the Virgin Islands Department of Labor to lessen the impact of the closure upon its employees, “Although not compelled by law, Kazi Foods will provide all affected employees with a severance package including over two weeks pay, unemployment insurance information, job placement counseling, and training opportunities. We believe we have identified jobs for each of the displaced employees,” Mujica said.
Mujica further noted that, “Kazi Foods appreciates its employees for their service, since Kazi acquired the local KFC franchise earlier this year, for their years of service with the KFC family, and for providing great service and food to the Virgin Islands community.”