16 Sep 2017 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 16 SEP (NAMPA) About 15 people on Friday demonstrated in front of Shoprite along Independence Avenue in the capital in solidarity with over 100 Shoprite workers who face expulsion after they demanded better working conditions.
During the peaceful demonstration initiated by the Nixon Marcus Public Law Office, the group demanded that Namibians at large boycott buying from Shoprite, if the retailer fails to heed the directive by Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina.
Nghimtina, on 20 July, outlined Shoprites unfair labour practices, which led to employees striking, and urged the company to turn a new page in its labour relations by agreeing to resolve the disciplinary case so that striking workers do not face the possibility of losing their jobs.
Group spokesperson, Nixon Marcus told Nampa on the sidelines of the demonstration that despite appeals from several trade unions and the minister, Shoprite stubbornly refuses to drop charges against the employees.
This is civil colonialism in our own motherland. Shoprite is doing whatever it wants with our brothers and sisters, hence we are proud to protest and show our solidarity to the workers, he said.
These employees started striking at the end of July 2015, after the company refused to negotiate on wage proposals submitted by employees in June 2015.
Shoprite, with the help of the Namibia Employers Association, argued that workers went on an illegal strike and these workers in Windhoek have since been facing disciplinary charges for participating in the strike.
A total of 176 workers in Rundu and Gobabis, who also took part in simultaneous industrial action against Shoprite, have since been dismissed.
Workers are accusing the company of ignoring wage proposals, demands for transport and housing allowances, medical aid and long service awards.
Their plight diminishes our humanity, said Marcus.
The Nixon Marcus Public Law Office is representing the workers for free on a pro bono publico basis.