Saccawu wants boycott of woolies

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

Unionised Woolworths workers called for a consumer boycott yesterday in their bid to get the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) recognised by the upmarket food and clothes retailer.

Thabo Mahlangu, Saccawu national organiser, said: "We are engaging in this consumer boycott because we would like to put more pressure on management.

"It is quite clear that talking nicely doesn't help much."

Asked if this strike action will end soon, Mahlangu said: "This strike action will take place until management responds positively to the demands of the workers."

The union intends to hand in a memorandum at Business Unity SA (Busa) offices next week.

Vic van Vuuren, chief operations officer of Busa, said: "We need to get Woolworths' input on this matter. Busa is a part of the Nedlac (National Economic Development and Labour Council) employment conditions debate.

"Based on the past, Woolworths has always had a sound employment policy of looking well after their employees."

Woolworths' chief operating officer, Zyda Rylands, said the company did not understand why the strike action was still on and that it had had a minimal impact on their operations.

"We hope our customers will continue to support us as they have been doing for all these years. We don't see why this strike action is still on because we are willing to engage the union in good faith."

Asked about the Woolworths employees who said they were not permanently employed, Rylands said: "It seems people don't understand their employment contracts well because all our employees are permanent with benefits irrespective of the hours they work."

Court proceedings were adjourned until 11am today when the union wishes to have the company's picketing rules reviewed.