Copia layoffs will raise questions about the company’s future two weeks after it entered into administration.

Two weeks after an internal memo showed that the B2C e-commerce platform was struggling to make payroll, Copia Global has laid off at least 1,060 employees, suggesting the company may be on the brink of a shutdown or massively scaling back operations. 

In a 20-minute meeting with staff on Thursday, Copia CEO Tim Steel and administrators appointed last week to take over the company asked employees to return company property, including laptops and tablets, and sign their termination letters on Friday, June 7th.

CEO Tim Steel declined to comment but promised to share new information on Friday. 

Although Copia has agreed to pay a one-month salary and other benefits like accrued unpaid leave days by Kenyan labour laws, administrators have not yet specified a timeframe for these payments. 

This lack of clarity has caused concern among employees, considering the recent delay in May salaries, which were only paid this week. Two employees told TechCabal they would not sign their termination letters until Copia clarifies the payment schedule for their compensation and benefits.

An ex-employee claimed Copia started facing business difficulties in 2022. The financial constraints forced the company to scale back operations, including exiting Uganda barely two years after launching and laying off 700 employees. 

On Tuesday, Copia stopped taking orders from six key locations in Kenya, including Embu and Eldoret, likely to cut its already squeezed expenditure. It had asked employees working in the affected markets to take leave. At its peak, Copia had a 50,000-agent network serving rural Kenya. 

On May 16, in a leaked internal memo, Copia warned employees that the company could either fold up or restructure its business by laying off 1060 employees.

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