Saccawu to appeal Massmart-Walmart decision

The South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) has filed an appeal against the Competition Tribunal’s decision to allow Walmart to acquire a controlling stake in Massmart.

“This is not an unexpected development and the companies remain firm in their belief that the transaction rests on solid legal ground,” Massmart and Walmart said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The union filed the appeal with the Competition Appeals Court on Monday.

Saccawu spokesperson Mike Abrahams was not immediately available to comment.

The Competition Tribunal was due to give reasons on Wednesday for its decision to allow US giant retailer Walmart to acquire 51% of local retailer Massmart in a R16.5-billion deal.

Massmart and Walmart said the notice of appeal would have no impact on the implementation of the transaction.

“Having finalised the transaction on June 20 2011, Massmart and Walmart will continue to focus on serving customers and communities, working closely with local suppliers, and creating jobs in South Africa,” they said.

In May, the Competition Tribunal approved, with conditions, the deal. This was after fierce opposition from unions and government amid fears the deal would lead to job losses, deteriorating conditions of employment and hurt local procurement.

The merger was conditional on the setting up of a R100-million supplier development fund, no merger-related retrenchments for two years, and recognition of Saccawu for three years post the merger.

The Massmart group includes Game, Dion Wired, Makro, Builders Warehouse and Masscash. — Sapa


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