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Industrial unrest at Shoprite worsens as Mgt sacks striking workers

By Victor Ahiuma-Young
THE nine-day old industrial unrest at Shoprite Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Ltd, has taken a new turn with allegations that the management of the company had sacked  all the 250 workers and was recruiting new staff.

This came as the workers accused the Lagos State Police Command of taking sides with management of the South African company to disrespect the nation’s labour laws and vow to deal with any of the aggrieved worker seen within the premises of the company.

Aggrieved workers of the nation’s biggest retail outlets downed tools  and shut its operations in Victoria Island and Adeniran Ogunsanya, to press home their demand for the payment of agreed bonus.

The industrial action followed the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum issued to the management by the National Union of Shop and Distributive Employees, NUSDE, the union that the workers belong to. The union lamented that all efforts to make the management see reason proved abortive.

Management, in a letter to the workers through NUSDE on Friday, 30 July, 2010 and signed by its General Manager, Mr. Anton Wagenaar, did not only refuse to pay the said bonus, but also warned the workers of  dire consequences should they fail to return to work.

Under the umbrella of NUSDE, the workers appealed to the Inspector-General of Police to call the Lagos State Police Commissioner to order and to steer clear of   labour  issues.

Addressing journalists yesterday, President of  NUSDE, Comrade Kelly S. Ogbaloi, demanded the management of Shoprite stop forthwith a purported fresh recruitment exercise going on as there were no vacancies existing under the present circumstances.

Comrade Ogbaloi, warned that in the event of failure of Lagos state Police Command and the management of  Shoprite to meet and address the  grievances, the union would be constrained to go beyond the level of the current peaceful and legitimate action.

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