SPYL in support of national boycott of Shoprite

05 Oct 2017 17:30pm
WINDHOEK, 05 OCT (NAMPA) – The Swapo-Party Youth League (SPYL) has joined national calls for the boycott of Shoprite in Namibia for failure to address their workers’ labour concerns.
Speaking at a media conference here Thursday, SPYL Secretary for Information Publicity and Mobilisation, Gerson Dumeni said the workers’ demands for a better working environment have not been addressed, while over 100 are facing disciplinary charges for participating in a strike.
Dumeni said the aggrieved workers’ union should not give up hope and faith in collective bargaining and representation for the workers, even if it leads to a national boycott.
He emphasised that Shoprite’s permanent part-time classification is discriminatory.
“Shoprite has no formal internal grievance procedure or disciplinary code and serious industrial actions should be employed,” said Dumeni.
Meanwhile, local labour expert and activist Herbert Jauch was quoted in an English daily Thursday, asking Minister of Poverty and Eradication, Zephania Kameeta to stop procuring goods for the Food Bank from the Shoprite-Checkers retail group, because of its alleged exploitative labour practices.
Jauch further called on Kameeta and the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina to raise the Shoprite issue at Cabinet level with a view of passing a resolution compelling all ministries to cease buying from Shoprite until the company drops the charges against its workers.
Workers are accusing the company of ignoring wage proposals, demands for transport and housing allowances, medical aid and long service awards.
Shoprite employees went on strike 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 hence they should face disciplinary charges for participating in the strike.
A total of 176 workers in Rundu and Gobabis, who participated in the simultaneous industrial action against Shoprite, have since been dismissed.