Saccawu and retailer bury 10-year dispute

Woolworths has granted organisational rights to the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union.

Woolworths has granted organisational rights to the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union.

The retailer said yesterday: "This is a win-win outcome as it clears up the dispute that has been hovering for more than 10 years," said Fiona Fewell, divisional director of human resources for Woolworths.

"It provides a platform for the SA Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union and Woolworths to engage proactively within an agreed framework."

This followed the conclusion of a verification process by the retailer and the union (Saccawu).

The process showed that Saccawu's membership had increased to 30,29 percent after the recent strike, from less than 15 percent in November 2007.

"This is sufficient for Woolworths to grant organisational rights to the union," Fewell said.

The organisational rights provides for union subscriptions (stop orders) to be deducted from union members' salaries as well as union access to company premises to recruit members and to hold meetings.

Saccawu did not have the right to negotiate employee contracts, wages or any aspect of Woolworths employment proposition because this required a 50 percent plus one member for full recognition of the union.

Union spokesman Thabo Mahlangu called the acquisition of rights "a first step".

He said: "Now that we have access to workers, Saccawu will be able to increase its membership to a point where it has full recognition by Woolworth." - Sapa

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