KFC faces new heat over staff food ban

2012-08-16 00:00

FRESH from winning an unfair dismissal case on behalf of a member, a trade unionist has revealed that KFC is facing a second labour tribunal hearing over its treatment of employees in Empangeni who take non-halaal food to work.

Bheki Shabane, provincial secretary of the United Chemical Industries, Mining, Electrical, State Health and Aligned Workers’ Union (Ucimeshawu), said this week that a second union member had lodged a complaint with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The case has been set down for September 4.

Sfikile Nokuthula Buthelezi is asking the CCMA to overrule the final warning she was given for taking non-halaal food onto a KFC premises in Maxwell Street, also in Empangeni.

Shabane said the woman bought food from a nearby supermarket, but was prevented from taking it onto the premises. She was given a final warning for the “offence”.

This follows the case of Jabulane Cele (31), who was dismissed in June for taking phuthu and bean curry to work at KFC Empangeni Village branch.

At a CCMA hearing in Richards Bay last Friday, KFC franchise holders Colefax Trading and Yum Restaurants International agreed to reinstate him. The companies, which own KFC, follow Islamic practices. They were ordered to pay Cele R5 200 in lost wages.

Shabane said the parties had also agreed that Cele could take his food to work “subject to KFC’s policies, which will be drafted in consultation with the union”.

However, this had not been done by the time Cele reported for work on Tuesday and he had been forced to eat lunch in a strongroom where stock, including chemicals, were stored. Cele felt victimised that he could not eat in the canteen with other staff, said Shabane.

He said employees had started having problems in November last year, when the new owners took over.

Approached for comment, Colefax Trading referred sister paper Zululand Fever to Yum Restaurants International in Johannesburg. But chief marketing officer Dave Timm was not available for comment by the time of going to press.

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