Saccawu and Woolies in new battle over strike

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union and Woolworths are embroiled in a fresh battle after the employer took disciplinary action against staff members who participated in a recent strike.

Saccawu said yesterday that they received complaints from workers who had either been hauled to disciplinary hearings or had been suspended.

Saccawu members embarked on a five-week strike fighting for the recognition of organisational rights.

Both parties are now at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) counting union membership. The employer wants the union to have 25percent representation to be granted recognition.

Saccawu spokesman Dumisani Dakile said they have set up a special team to look into the claims of intimidation.

"We have discovered that many of the people who are being disciplined are those who were organisers of the strike.

"The team will look into the matter of intimidation while we continue with the verification process at the CCMA," Dakile said.

Woolworths spokesman Fiona Fewell confirmed that they had taken action against their workers who breached picketing rules by intimidating customers and workers who were not on strike.

"Complaints included that some workers had petrol poured on them, some were assaulted, some had their homes attacked and customers had their goods destroyed," she said.

Though she confirmed that they have suspended some workers after allegations of intimidation, she could not give evidence of victims who have laid charges with the police.

"I cannot give information on the cases because they were laid by individuals.

"I cannot say how we suspended those people because the process is still going on," Fewell said.