Amushelelo applies to register union

Michael Amushelelo

Social justice activist Michael Amushelelo has confirmed the establishment of a trade union for the representation of retail workers in Namibia.

This follows several debacles between himself and players in the retail sector across the country over the alleged ill treatment of workers.

Amushelelo is facing multiple legal threats and charges of intimidation, harassment and the unlawful instigation of protests.

He announced the establishment of the union on social media, saying an application for its registration “has been submitted to the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation”.

“The workers’ union will now give us the legal mandate to come and represent workers who are being abused, exploited, oppressed [and] underpaid. Please register with our union so that we can have the bargaining power at your company,” Amushelelo wrote.

His lawyers, Kadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners, on social media said they are rallying behind their client.

“We have advised our client on the importance of registering a workers union to assist employees who are being treated unfairly.

We are currently busy with the issues of the Walvis Bay fisherman who lost their employment and continue to be victimised,” the law firm posted, adding it has also been made aware of the plight of workers at Aussenkehr.

“We will continue to update you on this development,” the lawyers posted.

The establishment of the National Union of Retail Industry Workers of Namibia came in the wake of Amushelelo’s recent clashes with the authorities when he attempted to shut down Rani Supermarket at Okuryangava in Windhoek.

The retail group has accused him of engaging in “chaotic behaviour of intimidation, harassment and the unlawful instigation of protests and disruption”.

“Should the above reasonable demand not be heeded to, we hold instructions to open a case with the Namibian Police for trespassing and interdict you from inciting and instigating or commanding individuals to commit the crime of trespassing as described in Trespass Ordinance 3 of 1962,” the group’s lawyers wrote.

As a result of the same incident, Amushelelo was summoned and cautioned by the police.

Police inspector general Joseph Shikongo says the activist was informed of the “procedures he should go through in organising a protest”.

Executive director of labour, industrial relations and employment creation Lydia Indombo could not be reached for comment.

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