By: Kelvin Chiringa
The Affirmative Repositioning Movement has knocked heads with Spar Oshakati, which has refused to issue a public apology over accusations of gross violations of workers’ rights and condition of work.
AR spokesperson, Simon Amunime, reported that workers have complained of harassment, racist attacks and poor wages.
However, the retail outlet issued a statement Monday stating categorically that it will not apologize because they had done so already directly with their affected employees.
At the centre of the saga is its branch manager, Franklin Hartung, accused of pouring water on his underlings and ordering them to sell food beyond its shelf life.
Said Amunime, “We met the staff complement of Spar. We spoke with all the workers following all the meetings that we had with the management. So, what is happening at Spar Oshakati is something fierce and shouldn’t allow in an independent country like Namibia.
“There is some certain Franklin there that happens to be the branch manager there. He is constantly harassing, insulting, and pouring water on black employees. So, this is the person that insults people with their private parts and their parents and does all sorts of nonsense that a white person can do to a black person.”
But Spar has maintained that a public written apology will not be necessary since they have already held meetings with the AR in a cordial environment.
“Spar Oshakati is not going to engage in any public apology as per your request as the matter at hand has already been resolved with the relevant authority and the two staff members involved,” said the retail outlet.
What is evident in its statement is that it does not deny the alleged acts of victimization said to have been unleashed on the workforce.
But Amunime has said they are ready to agitate for the shop’s closure if need be, rapping the management over the knuckles over what he called “the arrogance of Spar management”.
He said this might generate a “national action on Spar” targeting shops country-wide.
“|And these things have been ongoing. We went there, and they admitted guilt. So those employees that were poured water (on) imagine you are in the shop (and) someone pours water on you like he is (watering) his plants or something.
“So, we have gone there to say this is uncalled for. We condemn it. It must not happen. But that is not the only issue. There are serious issues there because workers do not have payslips. They get paid N$600. They endure all kinds of harassment and abuse, exploitation, and slavery at Oshakati Spar.
“He even ordered workers to sell expired food. So, the workers are telling us that a white, coloured guy is ordering black workers to sell expired food because we are selling it to people in Oshakati. It doesn’t matter whether it is expired or not. So, we have communicated to them so that you must apologize because the employees went to the police to open police cases,” said Amunime.
It is understood that the AR is bringing to the fore a labour outfit dubbed the Revolutionary Union.
The movement has also hit Cheetah Cement, where it railed against the management there over poor working conditions.
Amunime said they would share the details at a later stage.