Minister lauds Woolworths

Johannesburg - Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Friday lauded retailer Woolworths' stance on employment equity.

"As (the) government of South Africa and those that seek genuine transformation, we shall continue to encourage companies like Woolworths to continue with the transformation and integration of the society," she said in a statement.

Labour union Solidarity this week started a campaign to boycott Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL] after the company ignored its ultimatum to remove job advertisements from its website which the union said excluded whites.

Woolworths argued it had an obligation to meet its employment equity targets as an employer with more than 50 employees.

Oliphant said Woolworths was among listed companies that had been subjected to a review process in 2009 in terms of the Employment Equity Act.

"During this process, like any other employer that was reviewed, Woolworths committed itself to transforming their workplace by implementing their employment equity plan, as approved by the director general," she said.

When a follow-up review was done in the 2011/2012 financial year, the company had progressed in meeting its employment equity targets, she said.

"However, there are those that hate to see integration in the workplace and society in general; they seek to find fault with those that genuinely implement employment equity as a means of addressing our painful past and imbalance," she said.

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