Unions buy more time on proposed Walmart-Massmart merger

2011-01-22 07:46

The Competition Tribunal had extended the deadline for the Competition Commission to submit its recommendations on the proposed merger of Walmart and Massmart, an official said.

“The application was granted and we have been given an extension of 15 working days. The deadline is now February 15,” said Competition Commission merger and acquisitions manager Maarten van Hoven.

He said the commission had applied for the extension as it was yet to receive evidence from the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) and the economic development department.

The commission approached the tribunal after Massmart opposed the extension.

Massmart CEO Grant Pattison said the retailer had opposed the extension as it believed that the Competition Tribunal’s public hearings would provide an opportunity for Saccawu to present additional evidence.

“Massmart understands that it is important for all stakeholders to be afforded sufficient opportunity to present their concerns in good faith,” Pattison said.

He said Massmart respected the decision.

Saccawu, which forms part of the Anti-Walmart Coalition and represents 41% of Massmart employees, welcomed the extension.

“This order now gives the Competition Commission ample time to seriously consider the nature of issues that had been raised by the union and other interested parties,” said spokesman Mike Abrahams.

The Anti-Walmart Coalition includes the Food and Allied Workers’ Union, the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union and the Cosatu.

“For us, this decision is more than simply about this deal. It once again asserts the independence of statutory bodies whose role is the interests of the country as a whole and not the narrow interests of business.”

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