AFRICA Supermarkets, trading as Shoprite, has finally done away with casualisation of labour in Zambia and placed all its part-time workers, previously referred to as casual workers, on permanent contracts that will entitle them to all statutory benefits.
“Furthermore, 330 employees out of the 1,100 previously part-time workers will become permanent full-time employees while the balance will become permanent flexi-time employees. All Zambian employees of Shoprite will now therefore have permanent contracts with benefits,” Shoprite Zambia general manager Charles Bota disclosed in Lusaka on Friday.
Included in the new permanent flexi-timer agreement is the confirmation of new wage rates for the employees that include an increase of a minimum of 21 percent.
Mr Bota says this is in line with Government’s policy on labour and the directive given to the company by Minister of Labour Fackson Shamenda last year.
He disclosed this during the signing of a new recognition agreement with the National Union of Commercial and Industrial Workers (NUCIW) and new conditions of service for the permanent flexi-timer employees.
He explained that a recognition agreement with NUCIW has been in place since 1996 when the union and the company first became partners.
“As labour rights and laws have evolved over the last 18 years, it became necessary to adapt the recognition agreement in line with labour trends and changing employee and company needs. Furthermore, and in line with government policy, it also became necessary to re-look the staff contracts that were in place and arrive at what has been guided.
“The above has been successfully negotiated by the bargaining teams from both sides. Long term and sustainable job creation is something that Shoprite Group regards as an important goal, not only to facilitate its strong store opening programme across Africa, but more importantly, because of the positive impact it has on the quality of people’s lives and the economies of the various countries in which we trade, Zambia included,” he said.
NUCIW general secretary Seth Paraza said the newly improved salary scales have been raised from a minimum of K4.1 per hour to K5.81 or K1,133 per month representing a 21 percent minimum increase and maximum of K11.72 per hour or K2, 286 per month.
“These rates have now been equated to the permanent employees per category except that these work an average of 195 hours per month before overtime. The other feature to note is that these employees previously got paid weekly or fortnightly but will now be paid monthly, which will ensure better planning,” Mr Paraza said.
“As NUCIW we are proud to be part of this transformation. It is our hope that all other employers in Zambia shall follow the good example that Shoprite has developed,” he added.
Last October, Shoprite workers countrywide went on strike demanding improved conditions of service, salary increments and dismissal of some top management officials whom they accused of incompetency.
The company then fired almost 3,000 workers who were later reinstated after government’s intervention.