Johannesburg – Retailers Shoprite and Checkers said it is prepared for some of its workers downing tools on one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas.
In a statement on Thursday, the Shoprite Group confirmed that a one-day work strike would take place on Friday in some Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets in South Africa.
The group said only members of the South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu), representing only a portion of employees, may take part.
Saccawu and trade union Cosatu announced on Tuesday that 30 000 workers were planning to down tools at the supermarkets.
Saccawu is part of Cosatu. Checkers is part of Shoprite Holdings [JSE:SHP].
The strike is protected.
Shoprrite said it was disappointed that customers “may not experience the service the group would like to deliver in the height of the festive season”, but that it respected the rights of employees to protest in a peaceful and lawful manner.
“We are confident that we will be able to keep our customers’ shopping experiences as pleasant as possible in the circumstances and thank them in advance for their understanding,” Shoprite stated. “Contingency plans are in place to keep stores open and trading as normal as possible.”
The group also said it was a priority to resolve the matters that have been discussed over a period of time through the appropriate channels in the interest of all its employees, as well as its customers.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said on Wednesday that workers are demanding a reversal of changes to working hours‚ the reinstatement of Sandton Checkers employees who were apparently dismissed for protesting against these changes‚ safe transport for workers who work night shifts, and a guaranteed number of minimum working hours for part-time workers.
“The federation calls for solidarity action from other workers and shoppers on the day of the strike,” Pamla said, adding that the supermarkets were treating its workers like slaves.
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