Complaints against them include preventing billing, hampering business, causing disturbance and impeding movement. Most of the striking workers are billing staff.
A meeting will be held on Sunday between officials from the Ministry of Manpower (MoM), the General Union of Trade Workers in the Sultanate of Oman, representatives of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Lulu management officials.
Quoting a senior official, MoM’s Twitter account said that an agreement had been reached on the striking staff moving away from billing desks and their representatives attending Sunday’s meeting.
The striking employees, some of them earning RO400 to RO500 are demanding more pay, besides bonuses. They also alleged they were being discriminated against. More than 60 Omani employees of the Darsait branch and 70 from the Barka outlet were among those continuing with the work boycott.
Faisal, a protesting employee from this outlet said, “We need a pay hike as most of us earn an average of RO400. Salaries of those working for the past ten years are still the same. We have been asking for our basic rights for the last few months but our demands have always been turned down. Hence we resorted to the sit-in protest and have pledged not to go back to work unless our demands are met.”
Bakr was optimistic that MoM will help resolve the deadlock and the management will meet their demands.
Narjs, a Lulu employee for seven years who draws RO580 a month claimed Omanis are not promoted while expatriates rise up the hierarchy quickly.
“This is discriminatory. The managers are also rude and treat us with disrespect,” she alleged.
Ali, a Lulu Barka employee said the strike would continue till the demands are met. “We have waited a lot and they have tested our patience enough.”
At Barka, nearly 70 employees have joined hands for the sit-in protest,” he said.
There were long queues at the billing counters in the Darsait branch which had to be manned by expatriate staffers to prevent further inconvenience to shoppers.
Customers included weekend shoppers, those shopping for Ramadan and expats leaving for home on holidays. A senior Lulu management official said talks are on with the protesters and concerned representatives and was optimistic of a positive outcome at the earliest.
The organised strike began on Thursday, with protestors, most of them women, wearing badges with the line 'On Strike For Our Rights’ .