Arrested Shoprite workers fired

2017-08-29 06:00
Zara Grace and Chante Potts, fired Shoprite workers, before their hearing last week. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

Zara Grace and Chante Potts, fired Shoprite workers, before their hearing last week. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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Six of the seven workers arrested for accepting tips from customers of Shoprite in Pelican Park appeared at an internal hearing on Tuesday morning last week, where they were fired (“Seven workers arrested for tips”, People’s Post, 22 August).

The contract workers, who will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court this month, had not returned to work, as requested by store management, before the hearing. A decision was made during last week’s hearing to dismiss the women on the spot.

Zara Grave, who was a cashier of the store, says she is hurt and disappointed in the management. “I love my customers and if they had given me the job back, I would have taken it, because I love interacting with people and working in such an environment. I just feel that what was done is wrong and that no warning was given to us to say we can’t accept tips. We were arrested immediately,” she says. “It is not a nice experience for someone my age. When I walk in the streets, people will identify me and say there’s that thief. My dad would jump in, say they shouldn’t say that because I am not like that and was not raised to steal.”

Chante Potts, who was a liquor store cashier, says she fears that finding a job may be a problem. “I feel that our names have been damaged. How am I going to find another job with this record? What saddens me is that we provided excellent services. The customers loved us and always came back. The tips that they gave helped me with baby nappies at one stage. It was a real struggle as there are no members in my family working,’’ she says.

Shaheed Mahomed of the Workers International Vanguard Party claims the security head of Civa forced the accused workers to make confessions as if they had stolen money. “Yet, the workers’ trial balances show that no money of Shoprite has gone missing,” he says. “Their modus operandi is as follows: Take some old footage of months ago, call workers in one by one. And then say they will go easy on them if they sign that they stole money from Shoprite. Once the worker signs, or even if she does not sign, the worker is arrested.”

Mohammed says he fully supports the workers and will do anything possible to help. “Not all the workers confessed. Shoprite still wants to arrest more employees. Some workers resigned after the arrests started to happen – all because they provided good service to their customers. They violated many of the rights of these workers.

“We believe the SA Human Rights Commission is considering taking up the matter. The Women’s Legal Centre is also in the process of taking statements in this regard and will be hearing from them shortly,” he adds.

A Shoprite representative says the store’s managers are obliged to take action to protect the company’s assets and therefore involved the police to investigate suspected theft at the Pelican Park store.

The criminal case has been postponed to Wednesday 20 September.

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