Shoprite workers threatened, union claims

19 January 2021 | Labour

OGONE TLHAGE



WINDHOEK

Striking workers of retail group Shoprite Holdings are allegedly being threatened by their employer to drop the ongoing demonstrations or risk losing their jobs.

During Namibia Media Holdings’ [email protected] daily news bulletin, Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) secretary-general Jacob Penda said certain workers had been threatened via text messages and letters.

“Some of the workers have been intimidated by the company to abandon the strike, threatening them that they will be dismissed. Some have given up; some continue exercising their right,” Penda said.

Workers of the retailer have been on strike since mid-December, demanding a salary increment of N$600, a housing allowance of N$450, a transport allowance of N$500, and permanent employment for workers who have temporarily been employed in the stores for over a year.

The Windhoek High Court recently ruled that Shoprite may not employ temporary workers in light of the ongoing strike.

No union assistance

According to him, a letter the retailer wanted workers to sign had also been drafted, which would in future see them having to fight labour battles without the assistance of Nafau, Penda said.

“This has to be condemned. We cannot allow our people to be intimidated. Don’t sign this document,” Penda advised.

Penda said Shoprite should also not use the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse not to pay its workers fair salaries and that it has done nothing since its establishment in Namibia to assist workers.

“They cannot tell us it’s because of Covid-19. What have they done these past 20, 30 years? They did not give any benefits,” he added.

The union is set to file a court order of contempt following Shoprite’s failure to pay the workers the salaries demanded.

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