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‘Boycott Shoprite!’ Trade union Numsa calls on South Africans to turn their backs on the retail giant over Namibian court case

Numsa has called for a boycott of Shoprite stores.
Numsa has called for a boycott of Shoprite stores.
Image: Kabelo Mokoena

The trade union National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Friday called on the “working class majority” of South Africans to boycott retail giant Shoprite.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said: “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.”

The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (Manwu) called on working class Namibians on Wednesday to join them in solidarity to demand the withdrawal of the court case it believes is aimed to “sue the dismissed workers”. 

02nd August 2018, must be the day to be remembered by Shoprite management, MANWU is calling all loving working class...

Posted by Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union - MANWU on Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Manwu demanded on Thursday in the neighbouring country’s capital‚ Windhoek‚ that Shoprite withdraw its civil case and disciplinary charges against 98 workers.

The Namibian Sun reported that Shoprite was given three days to withdraw its lawsuit against the workers following their strike in 2015.

It also reports that Shoprite said in their summons filed at the Windhoek High Court that it had to close its shops on July 28 2015 and lost N$288‚000 (R286‚200).

Jim said Shoprite in Namibia was suing these workers for “N$4.5 million (the equivalent of R4.5 million) for embarking on a strike for improved conditions and a 20% salary increase in 2015”.

Shoprite Namibia has since withdrawn the summons “in the interest of all parties”.

The company said on Friday: “The summons followed a cost order issued by the High Court of Namibia in November 2015 in favour of Shoprite against the group of employees‚ for loss of sales‚ legal costs and damages incurred as a result of unlawful strike action in December 2014 and July 2015.”

It added: “The internal disciplinary hearing against these employees are continuing and a final outcome is expected in the next few weeks.”

They said the Shoprite Group said workers are entitled to “reasonable and decent working conditions”.

“We have always made an effort to base dealings with our own employees on the principles of fairness and respect and in compliance with provisions of prevailing labour legislation.”

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