On Friday, workers of the Shoprite Malls in Nigeria embarked on a nationwide protest, leaving all the outlets across the country under lock and key.
The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Shop and Distributive Employees (NUSDE), vowed that the company would remain shut until management acceded to their demands.
The action was in line with their dissatisfaction with the way their former employer ‘sold’ them with the company, without giving them consideration.
According to the Chairman, NUSDE, Shoprite branch, Mr Williams Peter, the indefinite strike was attributed to the alleged refusal of the management to meet up with the demands of the union.
“If the management is not ready to listen to us, it then means that Shoprite is not ready to open this April. We will shut the company down until they listen to us,” Peter said.
“Give us what we want and we will then be ready to discuss with the new investors and have a new agreement with them.”
All Shoprite stores had been shut down nationwide, paralysing all activities because the negotiation between the union and the management had been deadlocked.
From Akure, Ondo State capital, to Ibadan, to Abuja, the aggrieved workers stood in front of the malls carrying placards with various inscriptions.
They demanded urgent payment of their payoffs, which they have reportedly proposed to their employer prior to now.
Meanwhile, the management of the company has reacted to the development, describing the industrial action embarked upon by the workers as ‘unlawful’.
In a memo issued by its Divisional Human Resources Manager, Adeola Kagho, the company said appropriate action will be taken against the striking workers, saying that this might include their summary dismissal, should they fail to return to work.
“Please note that your conduct is in breach of your contract of employment, company rules, and procedures, and the applicable federal legislation,” the memo read.
“The company is not prepared to tolerate your participation in any unlawful industrial action.
“The company is now considering appropriate action to be taken against you and this may include your summary dismissal, should you disregard the instruction/ultimatum hereunder.
“You are accordingly instructed to return to work immediately in an orderly and diligent manner,” she said.