No tea to drink on couches

2015-05-26 06:00
Staff at a Simon’s Town furniture store have been left without running water for four months.

nicole mccain

Staff at a Simon’s Town furniture store have been left without running water for four months. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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Staff at a Simon’s Town furniture shop downed tools this week after being forced to work without running water for almost four months.

Water to the property was reportedly cut off early in February due to an outstanding rates bill.

Mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson confirms that due to non-payment and no payment arrangement, the services were disconnected at the property on 4 February, in terms of the relevant policies and legislation.

An employee, who requested not to be named, says staff of the Lewis store have been forced to use public toilets at the shopping centre across St George’s Road, which requires a R1 coin as entry. This has to be paid out of the employees’ own pockets.

In addition, employees often have to beg for drinking water from neighbouring shops, taking their kettle to be filled by surrounding businesses.

No tea or coffee“It’s a huge inconvenience. We work with money all day but there is no water to wash our hands with,” one employee says. “I have to bring a bottle of water with me from my house.”

Another employee says they are still expected to make sales, although they have to tell customers there is no toilet and cannot offer clients tea or coffee.

“We send our delivery staff to fetch water in the morning. They’re basically stealing it,” he says.

The employees have reported the poor working conditions to their human resources department, a staff members says, and have also approached unions.

But a lack of response left them despondent. Nearly a dozen employees refused to even answer telephones.

City restoresLewis Group spokesperson Graeme Lille says the landlord of the building housing the Lewis store has met with the City of Cape Town to address the issue.

“The City has given an undertaking to restore the water connection shortly. Lewis management has addressed the issue with its staff and are ensuring that water is being made available for the bathrooms and for drinking purposes,” he says.

People’s Post was unable to reach the property owner for comment.

Owner, tenant meetThe City met with the property owner and his attorney in April and provided them with all relevant information, Neilson says. “It must be noted that at that stage the City had still not received any payment. The property owner’s attorney requested for a reconciliation of both water and electricity accounts, which was provided to them,” he says.

Last week, the attorney indicated a meeting would be set up between the tenants, Lewis Stores, and the property owner in order to determine either an equal monthly payment plan or settlement of the full account, Neilson says

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