Kwik Save chief executive Paul Niklas may believe he has saved the soft discounter - but he still has his work cut out to win over disgruntled employees.

Last week we revealed Niklas had secured a new refinancing package in an 11th-hour deal that prevented the company being placed in administration.

It had been plunged into crisis by severe availability problems.

Announcing news of the deal, Niklas said rebuilding bridges with employees would now be a high priority. But Kwik Save staff have reacted with cynicism to this pledge, with one employee from the south east calling it "utterly meaningless". She told The Grocer: "I don't know what to believe any more, as we have had promises like this so many times before. Why should now be any different?"

Raising staff morale would be a much tougher task than Niklas believed, she claimed. "Morale is at rock bottom and will only be boosted once stock is back on shelves and we can start selling again. So far that still has not happened, and judging by past events I doubt it will change any time soon."

Another employee, from the north west of England, complained about the way staff had been kept in the dark throughout the chain's recent woes. "The way we have been treated is disgusting," she said. "We've not been told anything by the management. The only information we have had is from the media."

Another store manager said his staff had been "through hell and back in the last year".

"I have worked for Kwik Save for five years and seen the place plummet recently," he said. "It's so hard to work in an environment where there is no stock to put out and no customers."

Meanwhile, it emerged this week that 23 of the 45 stores Kwik Save acquired from Somerfield last October had not yet begun trading as Kwik Save. A decision on their future would be taken in coming weeks.