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Spar workers demand improved working conditions

Spar workers demand improved working conditions

Placido Hilukilwa

 

EMPLOYEES of the Spar supermarkets in the Oshana Region’s three towns – Oshakati, Ongwediva and Ondangwa – staged a peaceful demonstration this morning decrying alleged unfair labour practices and demanding better wages.

 

In a petition they handed over to Spar management, the workers enumerated their grievances that include, among others, the mistreatment of workers by some managers, whom they named; low wages; working extra hours without extra pay; unpaid sick leave; workers forced to buy expired items and the use of abusive language by managers.

 

Workers further stated that the bad behaviour of some managers does not only create an unhealthy working environment, but also tarnishes the image of the Spar brand.

 

They are of the opinion that the managers’ bad behaviour is contagious.

 

UNFAIR TREATMENT Spar employees held a peaceful demonstration at Oshakati to demand better working conditions. Video: Placido Hilukilwa

 

Those few managers who mistreat employees might end infecting other managers if the situation is not addressed promptly, they claim.

 

The workers, under the umbrella of Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU), are requesting the top management to look into their grievances and positively respond to the demands before 30 October.

 

The workers started assembling in the Dr. Agostinho Neto Street at around 06:30, from where they marched under police escort to Oshakati Spar, a distance of some 300 metres.

 

Although the demonstration was scheduled to last only an hour to allow workers to return to work before 08:00, it was prolonged after NAFAU representatives refused to hand the petition to a delegated representative.

 

They insisted that Oshakati Spar manager, Franklin Hartung, receive the petition personally.

 

“That was an unreasonable and unexpected demand because in their written notification they said they would hand the petition to whoever was delegated to receive it on behalf of the company,” said Penny Hamukoto, who was delegated by management to receive the petition, but ended up being sidelined.

 

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