Investigation into firing

2017-09-05 06:01
Supporters of the fired Shoprite workers gathered to picket peacefully on Monday.

Supporters of the fired Shoprite workers gathered to picket peacefully on Monday.

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A representative of the South African Human Rights Commission reportedly visited the Pelican Park branch of Shoprite last Monday.

The visit comes after seven workers were reportedly fired for accepting tips from customers (“Arrested Shoprite workers fired”, People’s Post, 29 August).

The incident brought more concerning practices by the store’s management to light, alleges Shaheed Mohamed of the Workers International Vanguard Party, and saw community members gathering to picket outside the store. “Chris Nissen, the Human Rights commissioner, visited the branch on Thursday 28 August. The fired workers and the broader community are now patiently awaiting the outcome of the procedure. Will a solution be found? Shoprite cannot complain of negative publicity. The very moment those workers were chained for four hours and another denied medical care, it moved far beyond a local issue. On 10 August when a cashier, who was five months pregnant, started bleeding, she asked to be relieved from the till to go to the clinic. Management refused, saying that she should wait until the pain was much worse. The worker lost the baby the same day.”

Mohamed says Shoprite management had women arrested and jailed even though they were breastfeeding.

“Their children have been seriously, psychologically affected by the separation from their mothers.

“Let us as workers and communities unite to stop women abuse. We hope Shoprite will do the right thing and institute an open system where workers can take tips, where wages are raised to a decent level and conditions of workers, including pregnant women, are improved. Let all the workers be reinstated. Shoprite should apologise and deal with the errant local management.”

A Shoprite representative tells People’s Post: “Shoprite has not had any official correspondence from the South African Human Rights Commission with regards to any investigation at its Pelican Park branch.

“Shoprite can confirm that a number of employees from its Pelican Park store have been charged with theft and have had their first court appearances. The law must now take its course. Dealings with employees are based on the principles of fairness and respect and in compliance with provisions of prevailing labour legislation. Shoprite is a unionised employer and has established channels through which staff can raise grievances to be investigated accordingly. In line with global retail practice, Shoprite cashiers are not allowed to receive tips.”

People’s Post was not able to reach Nissen for comment.

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