GIPF pulled into Shoprite-AR brawl

Whether by design or by default, AR’s planned shutdown of Shoprite stores directly affects the GIPF, with whom the pressure group has been bickering for weeks.

14 January 2021 | Labour

MATHIAS HAUFIKU







WINDHOEK

The Government Institutions Pensions Fund (GIPF) could suffer collateral damage from the shutdown of Shoprite stores, planned by the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement for today.

AR - which for weeks has been a thorn in the flesh of the national pension fund, calling for fund members to gain access to their pensions before retirement, is now threatening to derail operations of the multinational retail giant, in which the pension fund is a 1.07% shareholder.

The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) has successfully sued Shoprite after the High Court ruled in favour of the union’s demands last week. AR joined the fray later, saying the retail giant must comply with the demands or face a national shutdown.

Financial experts fear the planned shutdown might adversely impact Shoprite’s share price on the markets, subsequently pushing down the value of GIPF’s shares.

According to Shoprite’s 2020 integrated annual report, the GIPF is among the 15 beneficial shareholders that hold more than 1% in the group.

As of midday yesterday, Shoprite boasted a market capitalisation of N$79 billion. The GIPF’s shareholding translates into just over N$84 million in monetary terms.

‘Put the matter to bed’

Economist Salomo Hei, the managing director of the High Economic Intelligence Research Agency, said Shoprite should work on swiftly finding a solution to end the stand-off with its employees.

“Markets respond negatively to negative sentiments and it is therefore in the interest of Shoprite to put this matter to bed as quick as possible. With workers claiming that they are being mistreated, shareholders could be the most affected,” he said.

AR is hell-bent on forcing the retail giant to succumb to workers’ demands, which include higher pay and increased benefits. Most who work on contract claim they receive a salary of N$1 200 per month and have to spend up to N$750 on transportation alone.

The movement will today lead a shutdown campaign aimed at closing the doors of the retail giant.

AR spokesperson Simon Amunime this week called on the movement’s activists to shut down Shoprite stores across the country if the company “does not start negotiating in good faith”.

Shoprite Holdings currently has 95 corporate stores in Namibia.

Job protection

While confirming industrial action at some the Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets by Nafau, the group said it is doing everything in its power to protect jobs.

Questioned about the potential impact the planned AR shutdown might have on its share price and operations, a group spokesperson said it is a priority for Shoprite to resolve the matter through the appropriate channels and in the interest of all parties.

The spokesperson added that it is an accepted retail practice to employ seasonal workers during peak periods, including the festive season, Easter and other peak times throughout the year.

Shoprite employed some casual workers on 15 December 2020 to assist at its shops during the festive season. Their contracts end tomorrow, 15 January.

Last Friday, the High Court ruled that Shoprite should not recruit any new persons to replace the striking workers.

The group said it has a long-standing view that all workers are entitled to reasonable and decent working conditions and it believes that it offers market-related salaries, adding that contingency plans are in place to continue trading in most stores with minimal disruption to customers where possible.

“Dealings with our employees are always on the principles of fairness and respect and in compliance with the provisions of prevailing labour legislation,” Shoprite told Namibian Sun.

Pension fights

While the AR-led shutdown comes at a time when the pressure group is entangled in a pension fight with GIPF, the fund’s CEO David Nuyoma said a shutdown will not be in the interest of anyone because jobs will be jeopardised.

“It is our wish that a negotiated settlement that benefits both parties is found. We also hope that Shoprite demonstrates good corporate citizenship as per the country’s labour laws and that they have the ability to address these types of challenges,” he said during a telephonic interview.

Nuyoma said although the GIPF’s investment is at a group level, bickering at lower levels cannot be ignored.

“Shoprite has a network of stores across Africa and, therefore, if any enterprise in the group is jeopardised, it will be felt across the group,” he said.

Similar News

 

Napwu ‘not consulted’ about NWR pay cuts

2 weeks ago - 12 July 2021 | Labour

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) says it was not consulted regarding Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ decision to cut the basic salary and working hours...

Samherji JV made to pay over dismissals

3 weeks ago - 07 July 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKThe unfair dismissal of the Samherji-owned vessel the Heinaste’s crew in 2018...

Napwu enlists Namandje over NBC jobs

1 month - 02 July 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKThe Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu), through prominent lawyer Sisa Namandje, is threatening to drag NBC to court if the...

Napwu accuses NBC of ‘underhand agenda’

1 month - 29 June 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKThe Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) has accused NBC director general Stanley Similo of instigating the broadcaster’s employees to resign...

109 NBC workers dump Napwu

1 month - 28 June 2021 | Labour

KENYA KAMBOWE/OGONE TLHAGERUNDU/WINDHOEKMore than 100 Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) earlier this month defected from Namibia Public Workers Union(Napwu) to join a rival union, in...

Ex-striking NBC employees fight for unpaid salaries

1 month - 24 June 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKDespite agreeing to the principle of ‘no work, no pay’ for their strike nearly two months ago, NBC employees who...

NBC employees dump Napwu

1 month - 24 June 2021 | Labour

WINDHOEKOGONE TLHAGEThe Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) has lost its bargaining power to negotiate on behalf of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC) employees.NBC director general...

Board compels Namdia CEO to refund company

1 month - 23 June 2021 | Labour

MATHIAS HAUFIKUWINDHOEKThe Namibia Desert Diamonds’ (Namdia) board of directors has issued the company’s CEO Kennedy Hamutenya with a final written warning and directed him to...

NBC employees dump Napwu

1 month - 23 June 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKThe Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) has lost its bargaining power to negotiate on behalf of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) employees.NBC director-general Stanley...

2.6% wage increase for construction workers

1 month - 21 June 2021 | Labour

Kenya Kambowe RUNDUDespite the Covid-19 pandemic’s negative impact on the economy, construction industry...

Latest News

On the brink of burnout?...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Business

Selma Shilunga 1. Talking about your feelings is importantWe often keep our true feelings bottled up, saying “I’m fine”, even when we’re really not....

Kristofine Itembu proves that the...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Business

Rivaldo KavangaHailing from Onankali village in the Oshikoto Region and raised in the dusty streets of Soweto in Katutura, the career-driven Kristofine Itembu remains humble...

Pensioner loses N$50k to scammers...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Crime

TUYEIMO HAIDULA OSHAKATI A 60-year-old retired teacher lost N$50 000 to scammers who pretended to be police officers on Monday...

Ex-general implicated in Ekandjo’s missing...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Justice

Kenya Kambowe RUNDUFormer minister Jerry Ekandjo’s name has surfaced in court as one of the possible victims in a stock theft case in which former...

South Africa plans billions in...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Economics

ALEXANDER WINNING AND WENDELL ROELFSouth Africa plans about R36 billion of relief measures to support businesses and individuals affected by unrest this month and by...

The man who works fast...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Business

Sono Kahuure runs the network escalations department at Paratus Namibia and is the keyholder to unlocking solutions for his customers. Sono is the go-to man...

Taking sports development to the...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | People

Mariselle Stofberg Powerful play From growing up in the dusty streets of Okuryangava, Titus Mwahafa’s passion for sport and sports development has driven him...

“I imagined a better life...

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Business

Desiree GasesTST was founded in 2012 and is a full-service advertising and market research company combining qualitative and quantitative approaches to deliver rich, operational, and...

EDITORIAL: Fix Windhoek’s leadership mess

2 days ago - 30 July 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek is without political leadership. But that’s not the saddest part. The fact that, for a week, nothing concrete has been hammered out to restore...

Load More