Cosatu branch opposes Wal-Mart presence

2010-09-28 11:08

The Western Cape branch of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) is opposed to retailer Wal-Mart’s presence in South Africa, the union said today.

“We are alarmed that we are even considering an offer from Wal-Mart to take over key strategic national companies in South Africa,” Cosatu said in a statement.

This followed the announcement yesterday that Wal-Mart – the largest retailer in the world – had made a R30 billion offer to acquire JSE-listed Massmart.

“We will oppose the setting up of any Wal-Mart stores in the Western Cape,” the union said.

Wal-Mart was “notoriously anti-union” and an affront to workers’ rights wherever it operated.

“We call for urgent national action from government to investigate this hostile move by Wal-Mart. Companies whose practice it is to abuse workers rights are not welcome in South Africa.”

Cosatu said the undermining of rights in one chain of stores would force non compliance in other chains of stores and put South Africa on a downward spiral in terms of labour law compliance.

“Wal-Mart is not welcome in the Western Cape.”

The global retail giant, however, vowed to respect the country’s labour legislation.

Doug McMillon, the president and CEO of Wal-Mart International, said yesterday: “We respect and honour pre-existing union relationships and are committed to abiding by South African labour laws.”

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