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Strike at Makro — photos

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Thousands of Massmart employees around the country — including Makro, Game, and Builders workers – have gone on strike.

The South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) said the strike is linked to three issues:

  1. A group-wide dispute concerning the unilateral restructuring and unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment.
  2. A wage dispute at Massbuild — Saccawu demands an increase of R500 while Massbuild is offering R320 or 4.1%.
  3. A dispute concerning unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment at Makro — including unreasonably high targets for commission earners.

Apart from the strike action, Saccawu said it would be mobilising for a consumer boycott of Massmart stores effective from Monday 22 November.

Massmart CEO Mitch Slape said they have unsuccessfully engaged with Saccawu leadership to find amicable solutions to avoid a strike. The engagements included proposals toward finding solutions.

Slape said they had been stonewalled. “This is an unhelpful approach in the context of the many constructive partnerships that are required to achieve inclusive economic recovery in South Africa.”

Massmart wholesale CEO, Doug Jones, said he has visited many Makro stores and have spoken to many long-serving staff members.

“The overwhelming majority have told me that they do not want to strike but are under pressure from shop stewards and Saccawu,” he said.

Massmart had implemented strike contingency plans to ensure the continued smooth operation of its stores.

These plans include mobilising and deploying Massmart experienced contract employees who are familiar with its store processes.

Saccawu said it does not concern them that Massmart is using outsourced staff to do the work. “It is their constitutional right to bring in people to work,” a spokesperson said.

MyBroadband visited the Makro Centurion branch to assess the impact of the strike action.

Numerous Makro employees were picketing, marching, and singing in a demarcated area in the parking lot.

The posters displayed by striking employees called for Slape’s head, with messages like “Slape must go” and “Slape makes us slaves”.

Other posters took aim at Slape’s high salary and Massmart’s negative influence on workers.

Operations were, however, not affected. Many shoppers visited the store and could buy products without any problems.

Massmart said in a statement that all stores are operating smoothly. “Our estimate is that fewer than 23% of Saccawu’s membership base participated in today’s industrial action,” it said.

The photos below were taken on Friday morning at the Makro in Centurion.

Now read: Makro and Game Black Friday strike kicks off


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