Seven workers arrested for tips

2017-08-22 06:00
Workers were hand-cuffed for four hours before police arrived PHOTOS:ELEANOR HOEDEMAKER

Workers were hand-cuffed for four hours before police arrived PHOTOS:ELEANOR HOEDEMAKER

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Seven contract workers of Shoprite in Pelican Park were arrested after being caught on camera accepting tips from ­customers.

The arrest, which occurred last Friday, saw women cashiers handcuffed and allegedly humiliated for four hours in front of staff and customers before police arrived.

A case of theft was opened and is currently being investigated.

Pelican Park community representative Eleanor Heodemaker says the workers were provisionally released on Saturday at 15:00 and appeared in court on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The court case was postponed and will take place on Wednesday 20 September in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court. A representative of the workers’ union, Saccawu, and other organisations were in consultation with the workers after the court,” she explains.

Heodemaker says the workers earn between R19.40 and R20.40 per hour for a 30-hour week. This comes to R600 weekly and R2400 monthly.

“Because of their low wages the workers collect tips from customers. The company demanded that these tips are handed over, claiming that it is Shoprite’s money. Workers say they are often threatened to work overtime and are not paid for it,” she adds.

According to the workers the tips were received directly from regular customers and were not taken from the till. The extra cash made on the side did not affect their till cash up at the end of their daily shift. Workers allege the seven cashiers were intimidated by the employer to sign a document stating that they had stolen the money.

Branch manager Nabeal Bardien declined to comment.

According to a spokesperson of Shoprite head office, the company operates its business in compliance with provisions of prevailing labour legislation such as strict adherence to rates of pay prescribed for the wholesale and retail sector. Its dealings with employees are based on the principles of fairness and respect.

“With regard to tipping of cashiers, Shoprite can confirm that this is not a common practice anywhere in the global retail industry and that the supermarket chain has clear policies on operational procedures for cashiers, which include that they may not have any personal money on them at any time that they are working with company money.

“Shoprite is obliged to take action in order to protect its assets and therefore involved the police to investigate suspicions of theft at its Pelican Park branch. The supermarket chain is satisfied with the security process followed in this matter and the law must now take its course.”

About 30 people held a protest outside the branch yesterday morning in support of the cashiers.V For more information call Eleanor Heodemaker on 074 724 7373.

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