Kuzeeko Tjitemisa WINDHOEK – It is provocative, intimidating and an insult to the Namibian people for Shoprite Checkers group in Namibia to sue its more than 90 ex-employees for a strike over decent wages that they staged in 2015, said the labour permanent secretary Bro Mathew Shinguadja. Furthermore, Shinguadja said he is in full support of the plan to boycott Shoprite. In fact, he said, the boycott was supposed to have been called earlier this year but the strategy was not finalised. Shoprite Namibia is suing more than 90 of its employees for N$4.5 million over a July 2015 strike for improved employment conditions and wage increases. “Why should a company which has been mistreating workers for many… years underpaying them, mistreating them, offer them no benefit and all of a sudden they want to claim a lot of money from the same people who they have never even paid, not even a percentage of, what they are claiming?” said Shinguadja who is the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation. Shinguadja said: “Well, it is their constitutional right for anyone in the country to approach court but whether that is right or wrong is not for us to say, but what we are saying is that it is illogical [that] you can claim cost which you inflicted yourself – but it is for the court to decide.” “From our point of view this is a wrong move, a provocative move, intimidating and defies logic,” he said, adding that the move is meant to provoke the Namibian people. He said Shoprite, for many years, been refusing to meet the labour ministry as they are too ‘busy’. “We know what we are going to do, we are engaging the union, we know what we are going to do,” said Shinguadja. National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) vice-president Phillip Munenguni yesterday said they are not shocked by the move by Shoprite, adding that Shoprite has been disobeying Namibian laws for many years. Munenguni said if nothing is done this time around, the federation will mobilise its force and take Shoprite head-on. He said on Monday he visited a number of Shoprite shops and he discovered that cashier salaries are at N$1,200 per month. Munenguni called on the labour ministry to revoke Shoprite’s trading licence. Meanwhile, Shoprite Holdings chief executive Pieter Engelbrecht last year received a total remuneration of R31.3 million for 2017, including bonuses. According to the retailer’s annual report, Engelbrecht’s annual salary in his first year as chief executive was R9.71 million. The retailer has a 31.9 percent market share and employs 143,802 people. Former chief executive Whitey Basson, who stepped down last year, earned about R100 million in 2016. Basson, who left Shoprite at the end of 2017, earned R50 million including bonuses.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-01 09:01:42 10 months ago