Shoprite strike enters third week

Amongst others, workers demand transport benefits and a housing allowance.

10 January 2021 | Business

Miena Ndapuka; NAFAU; “Most of the employees have been employed on a temporary basis for more than 10 years…”

Swakopmund • [email protected]

Shoprite employees cheered after the high court in Windhoek ruled in favor of their trade union Nafau in its application against the chain store group Shoprite on Friday.

Judge Shafimana Ueitele ruled that no worker should be appointed in place of a striking worker. The reasons for his decision will be announced on Monday.

Workers of the Shoprite Group in Namibia entered their third week of a countrywide strike after reaching a deadlock with the company on wage demands.

The workers are represented by the Namibia Food and Allied Workers’ Union (NAFAU), who took their dispute the Office of the Labour Commissioner for conciliation. This resulted in a certificate of unresolved dispute being issued to the parties.

According to NAFAU’s branch organiser in the Erongo region, Miena Ndapuka, more than 120 employees from Shoprite, Checkers and USave in Swakopmund joined the strike. This constitutes more than half of the staff.

“Most of the employees have been employed on a temporary basis for more than 10 years, and they are paid between N$300 and N$400 a week. Permanent employees are paid between N$2 000 and N$3 000. This is very low given the current living standards in the country,” she said.

None of the workers enjoy any benefits.

“Employees do not receive a transport allowance, nor does the company provide any means of transport for employees to and from work. They also do not have a housing allowance, no medical aid or any other benefits,” Kapuka said.

The union proposed a salary increment of N$600 per month for the workers, a transport allowance of N$500 per month, a housing allowance of N$450 as well as an entry level salary of N$2 500.

The union also demands that all employees who worked for more than 12 months, be employed permanently and paid monthly rather than weekly.

The company offered a 5% salary increment (N$60 per month) and did not address the other benefits.
“No comment at this time,” said Shoprite Group human resource manager for the Erongo region, Joel Kapingana, when he was approached for comment.

The strike commenced on 23 December after the majority of employees voted in favour thereof it on 11 December. This came after the union representing the workers and the company signed the rules for the strike.

The striking workers have not been receiving any remuneration since the strike began as stated in the industrial action (strike and lockout) rules.

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