Shop shuts biltong operation

Luzuko Pongoma

Luzuko Pongoma

The troubles of the Bread Bin and Milky Bar in Bosmont have taken a new turn with the management deciding to close the controversial biltong-making room.

The action comes after Sowetan ran an exposé on the working conditions of employees, with claims that the two workers are locked in a room for 10 hours every day while making biltong. They alleged that they were being called "ka***rs" and "black dogs".

They also claimed the room they were locked in had gas canisters, which placed their lives in danger.

Yesterday the two men allegedly locked in a room to make biltong were told to go home, and the man who was unfairly fired earlier but reinstated by the CCMA was allegedly chased away.

Muzi Ernest Magwaza, who was reinstated by the CCMA, was allegedly chased away by manager Rashid Khota yesterday.

"He told me to go look for work at Sowetan," Magwaza said.

Khota said the men who were making biltong were not fired.

"They will be called back to work after the working conditions have been improved," he said.

He dismissed Magwaza's claim, saying: "He is a night shift baker and is supposed to start work at 2am."

Khota said a security guard told him that Magwaza had not arrived for work.

There are also claims that the shop has not been paying UIF for its employees, but Khota dismissed this as untrue.

UIF spokesperson Muzi Mkhwanazi said the fund would investigate Bread Bin.

He said it was illegal for employers not to pay UIF.

"If the employer has not been paying the money, they will be fined.

"And, if they cannot pay they will be prosecuted," he said.

Mkhwanazi said the fund would recover the money that was supposed to be paid over.

He advised employees to check at labour centres if they were registered with the UIF.

Mkhwanazi said employees should have the relevant information about their employment conditions.

Khota said he does not have a problem with the UIF inspectors visiting the shop because the money was paid up.