Ackerman outraged at racism accusation

2009-12-17 10:39

Pick n Pay’s chairperson Raymond Ackerman is “outraged” at what he

called the “appalling accusation” by the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied

Workers’ Union (Saccawu) of racism in the company.


In a statement on Thursday, Ackerman said Pick n Pay’s history over

43 years spoke for itself.


“Both the company and I suffered significant abuse at the hands of

former politicians for our stand on human rights for black South Africans.


“We were harassed for our decision to violate the Job Reservation

Act and promote black South Africans to positions they had earned in Pick n

Pay,” he said.


Last week Saccawu members at Pick n Pay embarked on a one day

strike, accusing the company’s chief executive Nick Badminton of racism.


“They have provided no evidence to their blanket accusations. They

have made vague references to a comment that was allegedly made by our chief

executive, according to them over a decade ago,” Ackerman said.


He added that Saccawu had not explained why it had taken 10 years

to raise the complaint.

“Our chief executive, Nick Badminton, has stated clearly

and without any hesitation whatsoever that he said no such thing. In short, it’s

utter nonsense.”


As to Saccawu’s other allegations, when the union raised a list of

unspecific issues with Pick n Pay, it offered to create a commission of enquiry,

“not once but four separate times”, Ackerman said.


“They rejected this offer each time. We have done our part and

offered to try and resolve whatever problems they said they were having. In

rejecting our offer, they clearly have no real interest in resolving this and

this is borne out by comments made by the union.”


He said during last week’s strike Saccawu had handed a memorandum

to the company’s human resources director, Isaac Motaung, “who ironically

started his career at Pick n Pay as a trolley porter”.


Ackerman acknowledged that Pick n Pay was not “perfect”.


“We have over 39 000 employees. There are going to be times when

someone, somewhere, behaves less than perfectly. We accept this and of course

rectify whatever requires attention immediately it is brought to our attention

and the proper procedures are followed in accordance with the law.”

 

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