Industry

Labour ministry urges parties in Shoprite strike to abide by the law

Summary

The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation has called on the parties involved in Shoprite employees’ strike for better wages to refrain from illegal conduct and to abide by Namibia’s laws. The ministry made this call in a […]

The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation has called on the parties involved in Shoprite employees’ strike for better wages to refrain from illegal conduct and to abide by Namibia’s laws.

The ministry made this call in a statement availed to Nampa on Friday, where they further called on the negotiating parties, specifically the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) and Shoprite-Checkers Group representatives, to urgently and amicably resolve the matter.

“This ministry directs the negotiating parties to make tangible efforts to resolve the current stalemate in a mutually beneficial and respectful manner and urges both parties to continue negotiating in an open, transparent and genuine manner,” the statement read.

The statement follows allegations by Nafau that Shoprite-Checkers Holdings is defying recent court orders by the High Court ordering them to stop using fixed-term workers to do the work of striking employees and to allow the union to access their shops.

Shoprite, Checkers and Usave employees have been on a national strike since 23 December for better wages and working conditions. The employees are demanding a salary increment of N.dollars 600, a housing allowance of N.dollars 450, a transport allowance of N.dollars 500, and permanent employment for workers who have worked in the stores for over a year on a temporary basis.

The union and company representatives have failed to reach an agreement. Shoprite is reportedly only willing to give employees a 10 per cent salary increase, which translates to less than N.dollars 200.

Both the union and the workers have rejected the offer.

The ministry noted that both parties have agreed to continue engaging each other in good faith in search of a lasting solution.

Meanwhile, the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) has indicated that the countrywide strike has been largely peaceful, with the exception of Oshakati, where confrontations between the demonstrators and police were experienced at Shetu Shoprite on Friday.

The police reserve force had to be dispatched to restore order, NamPol said in a statement.

“It is alleged that members of AR instigated workers and sympathisers to storm the store. The unruly behaviour of the crowd escalated, leaving the police with no option but to use necessary force such as rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. It is alleged that one person went to the police station claiming to have been assaulted by the police, however, no case has been opened so far,” it said.

NamPol is waiting for a detailed report from the Oshana regional commander and will share the information, including information on a video that is in circulation of a man bleeding after allegedly being assaulted by the police.

Source: Namibia Press Agency

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