18 May 2017 09:30am
WINDHOEK, 18 MAY (NAMPA) The Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) has called on Shoprite employees countrywide to join the union so they can have their concerns heard.
Shoprite employees currently belong to three unions, none of which represent a majority of the workers. These are Nafau, the Namibia Commercial Catering Food and Allied Workers Union (NACCAFWU) and Namibia Wholesale and Retail Workers Union (NWRWU).
Addressing a media briefing here on Wednesday, Nafau General Secretary Jacob Penda said the union has taken a decision to mobilise the shops employees countrywide to join the union.
He said Nafau being one of the first trade unions in Namibia cannot stand by and allow workers to suffer for years, adding that it is a pity that they belong to different unions because this gives Shoprite the right not to recognise any of the unions.
Workers must understand that the more divided they are, the more they will suffer and it is a good thing for the employer because no one is fighting for their rights and benefits, said Penda.
He further called on Shoprite Namibias management to call off the ongoing hearings of more than 100 workers who were involved in an illegal strike in 2015.
After Shoprite refused to negotiate on wage proposals submitted by employees in June 2015, the employees started striking at the end of July.
Over 100 workers at Shoprite in Windhoek have since been facing disciplinary charges for participating in the strike, while 176 workers in Rundu and Gobabis were dismissed.
Some workers have also been working as permanent part-time employees without pension or any other benefits for more than five years, which can be classified as exploitation of workers, Penda said.
He said such exploitation will continue if workers remain divided.
The union has held several consultative meetings with the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation with other unions and Shoprites management in order for the management to recognise a union to represent the workers, but no solution has been found yet.
Shoprite falls under the Shoprite Holding Brand, a South African company which owns House and Home, OK furniture, Hungry Lion outlets and Checkers.