Shoprite has said that when they employed dozens of workers which ultimately replaced striking workers, they were never aware a strike was on the horizon.
The company has revealed that African Personnel Services (APS) provided them with 20 workers after full-time employees voted for a nation-wide.
The company went on to source another 270.
The employment of fixed-term employees has torched a storm with the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU) which has brought an urgent court application to rule this act as a breach of the Labour Act ad rules of the strike.
Dozens of workers who are on strike which has now entered its second week told Eagle FM that this is meant to undercut their strike and make sure the company continues to make a profit as they picket.
But Shoprite, in its defence has told the court that they were not aware a strike was imminent when they recruited these workers.
“In fact, up until Monday morning (21 December 2020), the first respondent did not know when the applicant intended its members to commence with a strike, if at all,” Shoprite has said.
Shoprite has told the court that their action was never meant t frustrate the strike as NAFAU was the only party aware of imminent industrial action.
“The respondent was only responding to its operational needs during the festive season as is the standard practise as well as ameliorating the Covid-19 pandemic on its operation. Applicant’s deduction on the purpose of recruitment is unsubstantiated and or premised on self-serving subjective inferences which are not credible,” Shoprite has said.
Shoprite has also told the court that as the strike action continues, some 421 workers have since returned to work.
All in all, 2 042 workers went on strike.
The company has flipped back on NAFAU accusing the union of having been the one to breach the strike rules, adding that the union has approached the court “with dirty hands”.
However, Eagle FM could not lay its hands on the documents wherein Shoprite has laid out the breaches.