Albany staff go on strike demanding better work conditions

2012-11-13 00:00

SEVERAL stores in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas ran short of Albany bread yesterday as about 80 employees of the bakery’s local branch went on strike.

The employees, assistants on the delivery trucks, have demanded permanent employment and a R1 500 a month salary increase.

The protesting assistants, whose activities were monitored by the police, said they earned between R350 and R600 a week, depending on how long they had worked for the company.

One of the strikers, Sbu Zaca said the assistants were employed as temporary workers and worked odd hours with no overtime.

He added that some assistants who carried cash paid by stores for deliveries were often mugged.

Zaca said they arrived at the bakery from 1 am to 3 am and finished work late. They also worked on weekends.

An angry Nkosi Magwaza told The Witness: “We come here in the early hours of the morning every day and we wait outside the gate, as we’re not allowed inside the premises. There’s no shelter.” He said they were told that no senior manager was available to listen to their grievances yesterday.

However, they had selected representatives to meet management and would return to work today, with the proviso that they would resume the strike if their demands were not met.

City Square store owner Chris Naidoo said Albany had notified them of the strike.

“We didn’t make any plans to collect the bread ourselves because it was going to be dangerous for us. We were not sure if they [the strikers] will shoot us,” he said.

Company sales manager Wilfred Magubane said Albany would comment on the matter today.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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