Amushelelo has no plan B for 66 dismissed workers

Activist Michael Amushelelo seems to have no plan B for the 66 workers who lost their jobs when he moved in to help them.

Amushelelo led 42 people working at Namica Supermarket in Windhoek this year alone.

The workers were demanding better salaries, but they lost their jobs.

Ameshelelo also intervened at Namib Mills, where 26 workers were later dismissed.

To worsen the situation, Namica and Namib Mills dragged Amushelelo to court seeking an interdict against him for interfering with their businesses.

The court granted the companies the order, leaving Amushelelo without any hope.

In the order granted by acting judge Kobus Miller on April 26, Amushelelo and the National Union of Retail Industry Workers of Namibia were ordered not to obstruct the entrances to the business premises of Namica Supermarket in Okuryangava and not to prevent employees, customers and service providers of the shop from entering and exiting the retailer’s premises.

Amushelelo and the union have also been ordered not to threaten to shut down Namica Supermarket or burn down the shop and not to unlawfully intimidate Namica Supermarket, its employees, customers and service providers.

A retail group, Rani Traders, and grain processing company Namib Mills obtained similar orders against Amushelelo in the Windhoek High Court in December last year and near the start of April this year, respectively.

Amushelelo told Confidente that the challenges workers face include poor wages and living conditions and a high cost of living that pressures their income.

He also said the biggest challenge for unions is the weaponisation of the courts to grant bans to prevent unions from representing workers.

“Thus far, we have incited a strike at Namib Mills Pty Ltd and Namica Supermarket CC, where we have members who need our representation due to the exploitation,” he said.

He says another factor is the “absent Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation”, which he says is supposed to enforce and protect the interests of workers.

Amushelelo is expected to continue the cases in court on July 4, 2024.

Although Amushelelo has applied for legal aid to help fight his cases, the workers have been left to make ends meet.

One of the 42 workers dismissed by Namica supermarket in Windhoek said he has hit hard times.

Nangolo participated in the strike on April 24, 2024.

As a general worker, Nangolo started working for the supermarket on a salary of N$1.200 six years ago.

In his fourth year, he increased his pay to N$2.200, which he was currently getting before his dismissal.

After the dismissal, Nangolo cannot cater to three children and girlfriend and is finding it hard to pay his monthly rent of N$ 550.

Nangolo, the father of three, told the Confidente that he was living in debt and struggling to pay rent.

“Namica don’t want to pay its employees. I have worked for the company for six years, and they exploit people.

“If you complain to the owner, he says that he does not put a gun on anyone to work for him and that the exit door is free to any employee who is dissatisfied, the government must really regulate working conditions of some of these companies”, Nangolo lamented.