Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Confusion reigns as CMA transfers Shoprite case to labour court
The Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA) on Wednesday this week decided to transfer a case in which over 100 workers of the largest supermarket, Shoprite-Checkers Ltd and their management staff are in wrangle to the court of labor after the two failed to agree amicably. Speaking in an exclusive on Thursday last week in Dar es Salaam, the deputy director for the CMA Shanes Nungu said that, his commission has issued a certificate No. 5 as per section 98(2) of the mediation and arbitration Act to allow the two parties move forward to settle their disputes. He said this was after the CMA failed to settle the matter which has been handled by them over a month ago without reaching a consensus whereby workers are demanding terminal benefits of more than Sh700 million. He said according to the laws governing mediation and arbitrations, once two parties have failed to agree amicably within 30 days, have the right to be transferred to the court of labour for hearing whereby evidences have to be tendered prior for judgment. Elaborating more about the certificate No. 5 which the CMA has issued he said that, it entails a summary report of nature of dispute which for the case of Shoprite workers and their management is under ‘termination and operation requirement’. Workers of the Shoprite-Checkers Ltd had launched a claim to CMA over a month ago accusing their management for failure to settle down their basic payments of arrears upon hearing that, the two supermarkets in Dar es Salaam had been sold to a Kenya based Nakumatt company. As three days remain before Nakumatt takes over the supermarket, confusion has reigned as hundreds of its employees at Kamata and Mlimani city in Dar es Salaam are kept in the dark about the payment of their terminal benefits. Efforts by this reporter to reach the General Manager for Shoprite-Checkers Ltd Tanzania branch Johann Koegelenberg for clarification proved futile. But two weeks ago, he narrated to this reporter that, his company was finalizing the process of privatization with Nakumatt.
Over 100 Shoprite workers at big supermarkets in Kariakoo and Mlimani city areas in Dar es Salaam have boycotted their work places since Monday this week in a move to pressurize the management into paying them their benefits and know the status of their new employer. According to workers’ spokesman Bahati Kalolo, they are demanding the benefits which includes a house rent assistance of Sh500,000, transport costs of personal effects to the place of domicile of Sh2 million to each worker. Others are a golden handshake of equivalent to three months of the basic salary for each year of service since 2001 and a notice of terminating the contract of employment covering two months’ salaries for each employee. Other miscellaneous payments of arrears include, salary increase, payments for treatments, leave allowances which according to them have been accumulated to the tune of over 500 million since 2008. Investigations by the Guardian has it that, workers are worried about how would it be with their new contracts once it gets expired from the former employer who does not want to settle down their accumulated payments, and yet Nakumatt Ltd which bought the company’s shares had to start its operations on Tuesday next week. Kenya’s largest retail chain Nakumatt has acquired three stores belonging to South Africa’s Shoprite in Tanzania in a multi-billion-shilling deal which has to be completed by end opf March this year. The acquisition gives Nakumatt a bigger presence in Tanzania where it debuted in December 2011 with the 34,000-square feet Nakumatt Moshi outlet. The deal involves the takeover of three Shoprite outlets — one in Arusha and two in Dar es Salam and is valued at Sh4 billion. Shoprite opened its first shop in Tanzania in 2001 and its exit comes a few months after the Tanzanian government warned it against rampant importation of products from South Africa.