Shoprite employees demand better treatment

“We call on all the citizens to not buy from the stores for the two days in support of this”, said Malatji.

The Bulletin Newspaper

Shoprite employees engaged in a nationwide strike on the 28th and 29th of March. Protestors sought better working conditions, longer hours and permanent employment.
The most alarming apprehension that the strike brought light to was the reality that Shoprite workers are often left to find their respective ways home after late night shifts. It is particularly distressing for female employees (who are also the majority in the workplace), who are often mugged and sexually assaulted en-route.
The South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) said in a statement that they had engaged with Shoprite regarding the needs of the workers, but that an agreement had not been reached.
“It is out of this realisation that Saccawu members resolved to engage [on] a two-day industrial action, on the 28th and 29th March 2018; which will be characterised by various forms of picketing,” read the statement.
Workers at Shoprite Evander and eMbalenhle maintained that Shoprite “does not care about its employees”, and sang songs that indicated that they (the employees) give so much of themselves, and Shoprite does not adequately value and compensate these contributions.
The Saccawu statement also read, “Despite the company raking in millions and millions in profits, workers are still expected to work unsociable hours and then find their way home irrespective of the hazards they may face in doing so, yet expected to report for work the following day, and be productive. It is clear that workers can only and will only be taken seriously if they put up a fight in pursuance of their interests”.
Placards during the picketing were splashed with the handwritten pleas of picketers and exhibited the demands of the workers, which included a guaranteed 40-hour work week, transport for employees who work late shifts and permanent employment for part-time employees who have been working at Shoprite for at least five years.
Despite the picketing outside respective stores, Shoprite remained open for business and customers were seen casually walking in and out the stores to go about their business.
Thabo Malatji, a Saccawu representative, said that they wished the nation would stand behind them by boycotting Shoprite and not buying from the store.
“We call on all the citizens to not buy from the stores for the two days in support of this”, said Malatji.
A statement from Shoprite Group Holdings indicated that the company respected the rights of the employees to protest. It was also noted that resolving the matter was a priority.
“The group is disappointed that customers may not experience the service in its stores that it would like to deliver in preparation for Easter, but it respects the rights of employees to protest in a peaceful and lawful manner.”
The statement further said that contingency plans were in place to keep stores open and trading as normal as possible.