Pick n Pay workers plan a nationwide strike

2010-10-25 09:25

Pick n Pay workers planned to start a nationwide strike on Friday over wages and conditions of employment, a union spokesperson said today.

“We will start on Friday in all regions,” said Mduduzi Mbongwe, SA Commercial Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu)deputy general secretary.

The parties would meet at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration tomorrow to finalise picketing rules, but Mbongwe said consumers could expect picketing near all the country’s stores.

The Johannesburg region would set the tone on Thursday with a march to a store opening in Vosloorus.

Some of the issues up for negotiation had been resolved, but there were still many outstanding matters, he said.

Matters agreed on were that the minimum wage for Category 1 workers would be R3 000 compared with the R3 500 opening demand and a uniform cleaning allowance of R51.35 compared with the demand of R70.

They had brought their original demand of an across-the-board increase of R895, or 20%, down to a R550 per month or 12%, whichever was greater, and this was still being negotiated.

They were also still trying to reach agreement on whether they should get a 10% discount on basic items; an offer that workers pay R5.50 for their subsidised meals instead of the R5.70 Pick n Pay proposed; 120 guaranteed working hours per month for all variable-time employees; that the difference between each category be adjusted from the current R160 to R300; and that employees receive 100 shares in the form of a gift at five years of service and every five years thereafter.

The union said they were prepared to refer the incentive issue to a second process.

They also wanted cashiers applying for positions of either front line supervisors or cash office positions to retain their two days off per month when promoted. As cashiers, they usually worked six days a week, said Mbongwe.

Pick n Pay said the matters of labour brokers and centralised bargaining were not part of its current dispute with Saccawu.

Centralised bargaining existed with a high number of South African retailers, including themselves. Labour brokering was not in dispute between the union and Pick n Pay.

Mbongwe agreed with this.

The company said the current dispute was about wages and conditions of employment tabled by the union in December 2009.

Pick n Pay reiterated it was not reinstating its year-end functions, which Saccawu had claimed was an attempt to sweeten them.

They were just going to have their usual in-store festive season function, the statement read.

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