Unions Fight for Control of Shoprite

THE Namibia Wholesale Retail Workers Union yesterday accused the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union of working against the interest of their members employed by Shoprite.

Speaking at a press conference held at its offices in Khomasdal, the retail workers’ union secretary, Victor Hamunyela, said they requested the allied workers union in May this year to come into a joint venture, so that they could have a majority representation of Shoprite workers.

Hamunyela said the allied workers union did not respond, thereby allowing a situation where workers continue being exploited and earning meagre wages, while employers pocket all the profits.

He also said this is despite the fact that the Labour Commissioner has given provision to allow any two unions to go into joint ventures in any company.

“On 16 June, we delivered a draft of the recognition agreement to their offices but to date they have not responded or provided any feedback. The wage negotiation month for Shoprite is June,” said Hamunyela, adding that this should be implemented by July.

He said the allied workers union is acting destructively, instead of playing its role as a trade union and represening the workers.

The two unions are known for engaging in long tussles, with previous media reports indicating that Shoprite has been one ground for the fights.

The reports pointed out that the retail workers union lost its bargaining mandate in the giant retail industry to the allied workers union a few years back.

Branch organiser for the allied workers union, Simon Mukapo, who deals with Shoprite, was on sick leave, but a union member confirmed receiving the letter from the retail workers union.

The officer, who declined to be named, said they cannot go into a joint venture because the unions fall under two different umbrellas.

“There is no way we would have a joint venture with them,” he said, adding that the retail workers union was trying to make up for losing the majority bargaining mandate at Shoprite.

Source : The Namibian