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19 Nov 2021


S. Africa: Over 18,000 expected to join Massmart workers' strike over restructuring & changes to terms of employment


"Workers strike at Walmart-owned firm Massmart", 19 November 2021

Thousands of workers, disgruntled over low wages and changes to terms and conditions of employment, went on strike...at companies owned by Walmart-led Massmart Holdings in South Africa, a labour union said.

The South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU)...said the indefinite strike is expected to draw more than 18 000 members across the country...

The union has said it had exhausted all efforts to resolve labour disputes with Massmart, which owns Game, Makro and Builders Warehouse stores, and was left with no option but to goon strike.

The disputes include a wage dispute at Builders, with unions demanding an increase of 500 rand but Massmart is only offering an increase of R320.

The union is also disputing unilateral restructuring and changes to terms and conditions of employment, which includes imposing a 40 hour working week with no premiums.

The union also wants workers who lost jobs as a result of restructuring at general merchandise Game chain to be reinstated. Massmart has said it had identified alternative jobs for those workers...

Massmart said the strike could cost striking workers up to 25% of their November wages, if the industrial action was to last for a week.

“It is difficult not to conclude that the industrial action represents a SACCAWU leadership power play that is not necessarily in the best interests of their members,” Massmart said.

Massmart said contingency plans have been implemented to ensure continued operations, which includes deploying experienced contract employees to its stores...