Zambian Shoprite Checkers workers are the lowest paid in the region by the chain stores with the lowest paid getting less Kr250 (US$50) per month.
This came to light yesterday when Shoprite Checkers stores management were summoned by the parliamentary delegated legislative committee chaired by deputy chairperson of the committee MMD Chadiza Central Member of Parliament Allan Mbewe.
The committee heard that shoprite Checkers Zambia was doing extremely well on annual returns and business, better than most of the outlets in other countries in the region.
The committee also noted that the food and groceries chain stores outlets in Zambia alone was the lowest paying compared to other chain stores run by shop-rite in the region.
But Shoprite General Manager Stefan Kranz who was in the company of his deputy Charles Bota said that the company doesn’t harmonize salaries with other countries where they operate from, adding that they use the existing laws as bench marks to pay workers.
Mr. Kranz refused that his chain stores was the lowest paying in the region, saying that the salaries of the workers were highly competitive.
“We don’t harmonise salaries with other countries we operate from because other countries are used as bench marks. We are not the lowest paying actually we pay higher than others in the region,” he said, before he was interrupted by UPND Namwala Member of Parliament Moono Lubezi.
Ms. Lubezi said that evidence obtained by the committee revealed that Shop rite Checkers were paying some workers as little as K250 per month, a situation she described as being abusive to workers.
She said that according to evidence they (committee) gathered on their country wide tour to check on Shoprite checkers conditions, it was clear that some workers were employed as part-time when they had worked for the institution for over two years.
And Misheck Mutelo that the system of offering workers two year term contracts without any proper way of safeguarding the workers from total abuse was the reason why many workers had complained of abuse.
But Deputy general manager Mr. Botha explained that his company was running on international lines which allows to have part-time workers, casual and those on contracts.
He said that the company had entered in fixed term renewable contract every two years when the contract expires.
The committee noted that it was possible for the company to abuse workers in such arrangements, adding that there was need to find a lasting solution on the matter.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kranz informed the committee that during the introduction of the minimum wage statutory instrument, they were not consulted by government.
He complained that they were made aware about the new development through stories in the media.
“We were not told, we were not consulted about the development. We only saw those changes in newspapers, on news and people debated them.”