SOUTH African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (SACCAWU) members at Makro Pietermaritzburg picketed outside the building last Friday, demanding that their employer meet their wage increase request of 8,5% or R750.The SACCAWU KZN provincial organiser, Colleen Naidoo, said workers have been on strike since September 22 and will continue until Makro meets the union’s demands.“We call on the public and suppliers to desist from doing business with Makro until our demands are met,” Naidoo said.He disputed reports that strikers had attacked shoppers.“Those reports are fabricated; none of our members engaged in misconduct that endangered the lives of the public,” Naidoo said.Workers who spoke to the Fever last Thursday also denied claims that the strike had become violent. SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said on the day that the police had not received any report of violence or strikers attacking customers. However, police vehicles monitored the strikers.Naidoo said the 7,5%, which Makro is offering, means workers on the lower rungs of the pay scale would get a pittance, which he said will be half the increase they received last year.Naidoo said the strike is national, with picketing also in Springfield Park and Amanzimtoti.Makro spokesperson Annaleigh Vallie confirmed the union has declared a wage dispute resulting in industrial action.“While we are disappointed that we have not been able to reach agreement, we remain committed to working with SACCAWU to resolve this dispute in a constructive manner. To this end, executive management has been, and will continue to, liaise closely with SACCAWU officials,” Vallie said.She said Makro pays the highest average wages in the retail industry and provides unmatched opportunities for staff to earn significant additional income through sales commissions. “Our wage offer, which includes the introduction of a new profit-share scheme, is higher than inflation and other recent wage settlements in the retail sector.“Importantly, we continue to be a net job creator, in the context of job losses in the wider retail industry. “In fact, we have sought to improve job security by proactively converting temporary employees to full-time employees, a process that has touched the lives of more than 2 500 people in our business,” Vallie said.