Picket over wages at Makro

2017-09-06 06:00
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluSACCAWU members at Makro Pietermaritzburg picket outside the outlet over a wage increase.

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluSACCAWU members at Makro Pietermaritzburg picket outside the outlet over a wage increase.

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SOUTH African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (SACCAWU­) members at Makro­ Pietermaritzburg picketed outside the building on Friday demanding their employer meet their wage increase request of 8.5%.

The shop steward, Ndabezinhle Dambuza said the company is offering 7.5% - R350 - when the 8.5% is a R750 increase.

Dambuza said the matter was referred to the commission for conciliation, mediation and arbitration (CCMA) and on Tuesday, August 22, the union notified Makro head office about the picket.

He said the plan was that on Saturday, August 26, the striking union members would return to work and wait for the company to resume negotiations.

“If they fail to do so we will go on an indefinite strike,” he said.

According to Dambuza, 92 workers took part in the demonstration out of 180 staff, but only union members picketed­.

Zinhle Ngcobo, a union official in Pietermaritzburg­, said the CCMA has been asked to intervene, adding that should CCMA’s efforts fail the union would call on its affiliates to join in the indefinite strike.

She said the increase the company is offering is “ridiculous” because it is less than the one it offered at the last negotiations three years ago.

Makro group communication manager Annaleigh Vallie confirmed that SACCAWU declared a wage dispute that resulted in industrial action.

“The industrial action took place for a 24-hour period from 5am on Friday, August 25.

“All employees have subsequently returned to work,” Vallie­ said.

She said Makro’s minimum wage is the highest in the retail industry and the company’s wage offer, which includes the introduction of a new profit share scheme, compares favourably to recent wage settlements in the sector.

“We continue to be a net job creator, in the context of job losses in the wider retail industry. In fact, we have sought to improve job security by pro-actively converting temporary employees to full-time employees, a process that has touched the lives of more than 2 500 people in our business,” Vallie said.

She said the protest by the workers was peaceful and no property was damaged.

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