Shoprite strike political – ZCTU

ZAMBIA Congress of Trade Unions  (ZCTU) says the nation-wide strike by Shoprite workers is politically motivated.

Yesterday, Shoprite workers across the country decided to go on a work stoppage demanding better conditions of service which include a salary increment of K1,000 across the board, warning that the chain store will remain closed if their demands were not met.

A spot check by Daily Nation at Manda Hill and Cairo Road branches found the outlets locked as workers stood outside chanting ‘‘better conditions of service’’ slogans.

Some of the workers spoken to on condition of anonymity said that they had decided to protest any salary increment of less than K1,000, vowing not to return to work if their demand was not met.

ZCTU has expressed disappointment with the management of Shoprite over what the congress termed stubbornness during the collective bargaining process.

ZCTU secretary general Cosmas Mukuka said the strike was politically motivated because of its timing, being staged just a week before the elections.

In an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Mukuka wondered why workers at Shoprite could decide to strike a week before the general elections.

Mr Mukuka alleged that Shoprite owners could have been behind the strike because the timing was wrong.

“Investors should know very well that this is not a time for a strike. They need to clean up this mess as soon as possible,” he said.

He also said the Shoprite management had been stubborn throughout the collective bargaining process.

Mr Mukuka said management and the National Union for Industrial and Commercial Workers had been negotiating for better and improved conditions of services but that management had been stubborn in the process.

“They need to resolve this issue and clean up all the mess immediately because the timing for this strike is wrong,” Mr Mukuka said.

He said there was need for the two parties to quickly resolve the impasse because the timing was wrong.

And the workers’ spokesperson, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that they had decided to protest any salary increment of less than K1,000 and that they will not return to work if their demand was not met.

“We have decided not to work today because our demands of a salary increment have not been met; we will not accept K200 or any amount that is less than K1,000; that’s when we will resume work, if not this protest will continue,” she said.