Workers protest dismissal of Checkers Sandton 23‚ unfair and unsafe work conditions

Image: Kabelo Mokoena

Thousands of Shoprite Checkers employees took to the streets in protest over the dismissal of 23 workers at the Sandton Checkers as well as unfair working conditions.

The protestors peacefully chanted "Shoprite is abusing us" outside the Shoprite in the Johanneburg city centre before handing a memorandum of demands to the supermarket‚ which was closed for the day.

At the core of the matter is an accusation that the retail group compromises workers’ safety because it does not provide transport for staff who work outside of normal working hours.

Among the grievances was an accusation that the group dismissed the 23 employees when they protested against unilateral changes to their shifts and working hours.

As a solution‚ the workers demand the unconditional reinstatement of the Sandton 23.

Union leaders from Game‚ Makro and Pick n Pay protested in solidarity with the Shoprite employees.

A statement read by Constance Mlambo‚ Wits regional treasurer of the South African Commercial‚ Catering and Allied Workers' Union (Saccawu)‚ said many women found themselves in compromising and unsafe situations on their way to and from work.

"A female worker in Dube was gang-raped on the way from work ... a female worker from Protea Glen was gang-raped‚ also on the way from work.

"A female worker waiting for taxi/transport around 4am in Durban was robbed by two thugs. One of the robbers ran off and the other remained holding her at knifepoint and tried to rape her. The female fought back and in the process the thug was killed‚" said Mlambo.

Saccawu’s Khulekani Ngubane said that if the retail group does not respond positively to their demands‚ they will shut down the retail business.

"There is too much talk of state capture‚ less talk of corporate greed. We are warning the employers that we will shut down the industry‚" said Ngubane.

Bheki Ntshalintshali‚ the general secretary of labour federation Cosatu‚ said that President Jacob Zuma must "graciously" step down.

"We said Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa must be the president of the ANC. A few days ago our dream has been realised. When workers are behind you‚ you will never fail. Comrade JZ must be able to step down graciously.

"We must remind and keep reminding Ramaphosa that we are not putting his name forward because we like him‚ but it's because we want someone who will fight corruption‚" said Ntshalintshali.

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