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Shoprite workers ‘unfairly dismissed’

Eleven Shoprite cashiers at Saldanha feel they were unfairly dismissed and vented their frustrations during a protest which took place at the shopping branch on Friday 13 March.

According to the EFF and Saldanha Bay Municipality Councillor, Thulani Khulu, this issue began in February and concerns 11 employees who were subjected to a disciplinary hearing after it was alleged that they stole money from customers,

“And yet the store has never received any complaints from customers that their money was taken. At the disciplinary hearing, none of the processes were followed, there were no charge sheets, there were no notifications in terms of communicating to their union,” explained Khulu.

“They were told that they must get representation from co-workers but these workers were supposed to get representation of their own choice. They are not supposed to be forced by this management to take co-workers as their representation.”

He also mentions that when he enquired at the store regarding the issue of the dismissed workers he was told that they were going to be fired.

“When I came here I was told even before the disciplinary hearing that these employees were going to be fired. How can you subject employees to a DC process if you know you are going to fire them?”

He adds that the workers received no warnings and were suspended without pay.

According to an employee who wishes to remain anonymous and has worked at the store for two years, she feels she was dismissed unfairly as she was following instructions.

“They accused me of using the managers code but I received this code from the manger to act as the controller, I didn’t steal it. So I don’t understand why they sent me to the hearing.”

She adds that she received no written warning from the store after they accused her of using the code.

“I’m the sole breadwinner for my family and my brother lost his job last year so I’m supporting him too.”

Khulu also handed a memorandum which detailed their various demands to the management at the protest.

The memorandums demands are as follows:

1. We have lost almost 2 000 jobs already in the private sector around Saldanha Bay Municipality and this store is dismissing employees unfairly without the proper procedures (in terms of Labour Laws). We demand that all these employees be reinstated with immediate effect.

2. The store is built in a multi-raical community and we demand that it reflects this in management. We demand you employ black African managers.

3. We demand that the store prioritise local youth in cashier positions (rather) than taking people from other towns. Local youth unemployment must be a priority in the store.

4. We demand that the same sanctions be handed to the same transgression instead of favouritism on the colour of the skin.

The white manger that was also caught on the camera with an item without paying for it was never dismissed but given a favourable sentence.

5. We demand that labour laws be respected by the store.

Khulu also mentions that they give the store seven days to address their demands or else they will close down the store.

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