Zambia has threatened to shut Shoprite stores on Thursday, a move that could tarnish its image as an investor-friendly frontier market, after the South African retailer fired 3,000 workers who went on strike.
Labour Minister, Fackson Shamenda said that the company, Africa’s biggest grocer had backtracked on the sacking and had been given 10 days to resolve the grievances over pay that triggered the strike action.
“We told them we would revoke their trading licence if they went ahead with the dismissals,’’ Shamenda told Reuters.
“I have now given them 10 days in which to negotiate and resolve the problem. All the outlets are working normally now and I am on my way to buy bread from Shoprite.’’
A spokeswoman for Shoprite declined immediate comment.
Workers led by the National Union of Workers, who went on strike to demand higher pay and improved working conditions have returned to work, the union’s President, Robert Munsanje said.
Zambia, the second biggest market for Shoprite outside its home market, is one of the growth hot spots for South African retailers looking to offset weak growth prospects at home.
“It appears Shoprite was within their rights to fire those workers but given Zambia’s potential …