The Namibia Food Allied Union (NAFAU) has distanced itself from the Shoprite workers’ protests, saying that it did not call for such a protest and they have already discussed and advised its members not to participate in illegal protests as this is an infringement of the law.
This is according to the Secretary General of NAFAU Jacob Penda, who explained in an interview with the Windhoek Observer that they were not aware of workers suspended for participating in the said illegal protests.
He says they have not staged a protest and those who are participating in the protest under the leadership of seemingly another union in this case the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEEF) should answer for themselves and to those who are leading the protests.
Penda was responding to queries on why NAFAU is not on the ground in support of its members, and whether the union is aware of suspensions emanating from the strike, brought to its attention by its members seeking the union’s defence.
“The union sat down with the members in its previous meetings and explained to the members that if anyone is to be found participating in protests that are not organized by NAFAU and subsequently find themselves in a compromising situation, the union will not be able to support such individuals. However, everyone is free to do what they think is right for them, but in doing so, the onus will be on them to be responsible and face the music when things do not go well”, Penda explained.Penda further reiterated that the union is there for its members but in order to assist them, members need to behave in accordance with the law, and anything done outside the ambit of the law weakens their case as the law dictates in that regard. He has since called on NAFAU members to refrain from participating in any unlawful protests and as a result blame the union when they are suspended from work.
“Since this is the case, the leadership involved must ensure that these workers get their jobs back and not call out the union, because NAFAU only acts according to the law,” Penda stressed.
Meanwhile, NEEF member Michael Amushelelo said that NAFAU’s position does not come as a surprise, as it is typical of unions to come out and talk about laws, while its members who continue to pay for their membership are mistreated and work in very unconducive environments.
Additionally, he said that the people are tired of being exploited by foreign companies in their own motherland, hence, the decision to stand up against injustices and take back their dignity that has been damaged over the years.
Amushelelo further explained that the workers took to the street because they felt that it was their moral duty to stand up against harsh treatment by some management in Shoprite who are firing and suspending people for losing a name tag, amongst others. The protesters also demanded for the closure of all Shoprite outlets in the country if their demand for the suspension of the manager who allegedly suspended a worker due to a name tag is not met. The said worker, aged 25 later committed suicide. They are also demanding for the reinstatement of all suspended striking employees. NAFAU distances itself from suspended Shoprite workers