• September 22nd, 2018
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SA union joins boycott calls that Shoprite drop disciplinary actions


Staff Reporter WINDHOEK – South African’s biggest trade union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), has joined the calls to boycott Shoprite stores in South Africa, while also calling for Shoprite to drop all disciplinary cases against all workers. The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) also said the boycott would continue until Shoprite has dropped the disciplinary hearings. “We support the demand that Shoprite withdraw the case against workers. We also demand that the disciplinary cases against all workers be immediately withdrawn. Shoprite is notorious on the continent for abusing workers,” said the statement by Irvin Jim, NUMSA general secretary, on Friday. “The withdrawal of the case is not good enough. We are still calling on all Namibians to boycott all Shoprite shops up until charges against the workers are dismissed or dropped,” NUNW vice-president Phillip Munenguni told New Era yesterday. Shoprite Namibia is suing its 93 Namibian workers for N$4.5 million, which it says is the loss incurred when the workers went on an industrial strike demanding improved working conditions and salary increments in 2015. The company on Friday issued a statement that it has withdrawn its summons against the 93 workers who worked at the supermarkets in Windhoek. However, Shoprite said that “the internal disciplinary hearing against these employees is continuing and an outcome is expected in the next few weeks.” “The Shoprite boycott should continue up until they allow unions to recruit members within all their organisations around the country”, Munenguni said. Munenguni also called on the Namibian government to revoke Shoprite’s trading licence. Reacting to the Shoprite statement on Friday, Munenguni said the retailer was probably hoping to distract people and prevent them from boycotting their shops. “We are still demanding the boycott until all charges against the workers are dismissed and until they allow unions to recruit members within all their organisations around the country,” he said. Jim said that NUMSA “supports the demand that Shoprite withdraw the case against workers. We also demand that the disciplinary cases against all workers be immediately withdrawn.” NUMSA is the biggest trade union in South Africa representing 360,000 militant workers. The union says Shoprite is “an abusive company whose success depends on the rampant exploitation of labour”. Jim said the company treats workers as slaves and even in South Africa it has a terrible reputation as an employer, and that earlier this year workers affiliated to NUMSA went on strike. “In Zambia the government threatened to withdraw their licence because they dismissed employees for embarking on a strike for higher wages in 2013. They were forced to improve wages by 34 percent after the state threatened to shut them down over the low wages they were paying to workers,” said Jim. “We urge all our members, progressive and middle class individuals, and all progressive communities in the country and all unions in the retail sector the working class in general to stand with our comrades in Namibia and to support this campaign against Shoprite. We must send them a strong message that their abuse of workers will not be tolerated. We must say when it comes to Shoprite “Asithengi, Asinamali!” (we won’t buy and we don’t have money!). We cannot spend our money on them to further their greed so they can continue to abuse workers. We remain firm that on the African continent and the globe, we will continue to promote worker-to-worker contact, union-to-union contact, and to promote working class solidarity and the struggle against oppression and exploitation of workers,” Jim said. Shoprite had said that it has “a long standing view that all workers are entitled to reasonable and decent working conditions”. “We have always made an effort to base dealings with our employees on the principles of fairness and respect and in compliance with provisions of prevailing labour legislation,” the company said in a statement. – Additional reporting by Nampa
2018-08-06 09:25:30 1 months ago
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