Shoprite Hiring and Firing Practices Questioned in Zambia

Shoprite Hiring and Firing Practices Questioned in Zambia

From Business Day Live

Shoprite group CEO Whitey Basson wants Zambia’s president to “clarify” his country’s position on foreign investors after Shoprite was forced to back off from firing 3,000 striking workers.

Zambian labour minister Fackson Shamenda said on Thursday the South African grocer had been told its trading licence would be revoked if it carried out the dismissals.

Mr Shamenda’s intervention was welcomed by the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions, with its general secretary Roy Mwaba telling the Lusaka Times Shoprite was only interested in profits and not worker welfare. “They can go back if they want. They can pack their cabbages and leave our country,” he said.

Mr Shamenda said Shoprite had been given 10 days “to negotiate and resolve the problem”. The union representing the workers said on Thursday they had returned to work.

The move by the Zambian government contradicted labour analysts who said on Wednesday that Zambia and the rest of Africa were more attractive investment destinations than South Africa given the flexibility of labour laws and faster growth in other countries on the continent.

Zambia ranks 20th out of 148 countries for its hiring and firing practices, according to the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report. By contrast, South Africa ranks a lowly 147th.

The 3,000 workers, who were striking for higher wages, were dismissed on Tuesday when they “ignored” Shoprite’s second ultimatum to return to work.

Read more at bdlive.co.za