Three of the six Tru Valu supermarkets were forced to turn away customers yesterday because of "surprise" industrial action by employees.
Some 300 workers attached to the supermarket walked off the job, triggering an immediate closure of the branches at Trincity Mall, Trincity, and Valpark Shopping Plaza in Valsayn.
The branch at Long Circular Mall, St James, closed at 1.30 p.m. after the second shift did not turn up to work.
Tru Valu managing director Govind Maharaj confirmed three other branches—in El Socorro, Diamond Vale and One Woodbrook Place—remained functional throughout the day.
Maharaj, in a telephone interview, said the employee action was a "complete surprise".
"We put seven per cent on the table, and this is not what we expected. When workers came in today, they began work and then suddenly decided that they were going to stop."
Maharaj said there has been no communication from the Banking, Insurance and General Workers' Union (BIGWU), which represents the workers.
"We are in negotiations. They have not broken down, so I am surprised by this move."
Maharaj said the company postponed a recent meeting with the union, but only because it was still working through the union's offer.
"There was no reason for this type of action," he said.
BIGWU president Vincent Cabrera confirmed the walk-out action.
In a telephone interview, he said the company cancelled three successive meetings, which frustrated the workers.
He said the workers are expected to return to work today, but he could not guarantee their continued presence at the supermarkets.
"Workers are annoyed. We were supposed to meet and, the day before the meeting, the company cancelled again. This is the third consecutive cancellation," Cabrera said.
The two parties are expected to meet again on Wednesday to resolve the ongoing wage negotiations.