Nafau files urgent application against Shoprite

Shoprite replaced the workers on strike

07 January 2021 | Business

The group is doing everything in its power to protect jobs, especially during the global pandemic and the dire economic impact. Schalk Pienaar, deputy divisional manager: Shoprite

The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) has filed an urgent application with the labour court seeking an interdict against Shoprite Holdings for temporarily employing staff to replace those on strike.

According to court documents, Nafau claims that Shoprite Holdings have employed about 390 fixed-term workers countrywide to work during the strike. This Nafau said is despite the company having signed a rule of strike agreement on 07 December which states that Shoprite Holdings will not require non-strikers or any employee to perform the duties, functions, or work of the legally striking employees.

Nafau further noted that while Shoprite claims that appointing the fixed-term employees forms part of their long-standing business practice to recruit workers during peak seasons, which includes Christmas and the holiday season.

The union inspected some of their shops on 29 December and found those workers and some managers doing the work of the striking employees.

This, according to Nafau, has frustrated the striking employees who so far have heeded the union’s call to maintain discipline and not to take the law into their own hands.

Representation

The parties were scheduled to sit for a hearing yesterday before High Court Judge Shafimana Ueitele.

The union will be represented by Unomwinjo Katjipuka-Sibolile from Nixon Marcus Public Law Office, while Shoprite will be represented by Samuel Philander of LorentzAngula.

Employees of Shoprite, Checkers, and Usave have been on a countrywide strike since 23 November demanding better wages and working conditions.

The employees are demanding a salary increment of N$ 600, housing allowance of N$ 450, transport allowance of N$ 500, and permanent employment for workers who have worked in these stores for over a year.

In a statement, Shoprite’s deputy divisional manager Schalk Pienaar said the company had put in place contingency plans to continue trading in most stores.

“It is a priority for the Shoprite Group to resolve the matter through the appropriate channels and in the interest of all parties. The group is doing everything in its power to protect jobs, especially during the global pandemic and the dire economic impact thereof,” the statement reads.- Nampa