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10 Aug 2006 11:39
Thousands of South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) members took to the streets on Thursday in a strike against Shoprite Checkers, the union said.
Saccawu’s negotiator Thoko Mchunu said the action was a protected strike and involved 35Â 000 members and thousands of non-members who also shared the same view as the union.
However, the strike did not appear to be well-supported, the retailer said on Thursday.
“Save for a few exceptions, all stores are trading normally,” said Shoprite’s human resources director Callie Burger.
“The company has put in place wide-ranging contingency plans designed to cope with prolonged strike action.”
The strike came after wage talks between the union and management of the retail company, aimed at averting the action, failed on Monday night.
“We are demanding an increment of R300 or 10%, whichever is greater, and improved working conditions, but the employers only offered R265,” said Mchunu.
The union said the company used “too many” part-time workers, who on average were only given 26 hours work a week and paid R982.
Mchunu said out of the 52Â 000 Shoprite employees, 35Â 000 were Saccawu members and were participating in the national strike.
“All our members throughout the country are not working today [Thursday]”.
Saccawu began with lunch time pickets on July 18, but that did not help them reach an agreement with the company.
“We will evaluate the strike and its impact and decide on the next action. We are going to fight for what is due to the workers until the end,” said Mchunu.—Sapa
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