Shoprite sacks 36 for protesting

Workers fired by Shoprite for protesting against dismissal of their colleagues want their jobs back.
Workers fired by Shoprite for protesting against dismissal of their colleagues want their jobs back.
Image: Kabelo Mokoena

At least 36 Shoprite Checkers workers in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, have been fired after they protested against the dismissal of four of their colleagues for "accepting tips from customers".

The group staged a protest at the supermarket last Friday after learning of the fate of their colleagues a few days before.

Now, the dismissed workers are demanding to be reinstated.

South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union Mpumalanga regional general secretary David Tefo said workers embarked on an illegal strike to prevent Shoprite from enforcing disciplinary proceedings against their four colleagues.

"Despite this, we also found that the employer failed to serve them with letters nor were they subjected to fair disciplinary processes and procedures," Tefo said.

A till packer who asked not to be named told Sowetan that they were perplexed by the wholesale giant's decision to fire them.

"We were confused because we were acting within our rights. Our colleagues were fired because they accepted tips from customers.

"It's not like they stole money," said the packer.

Shoprite confirmed that the employees were dismissed for partaking in an unlawful work stoppage.

"This decision was taken only after repeated requests from management that the employees should return to work and address their grievances through the available internal channels.

"Employee representatives were also called in by Shoprite's management to intervene in an effort to restore order," said Shoprite.

Shoprite said internal procedures were available to the dismissed group to appeal Shoprite's decision.

Shoprite did not respond to questions about the other four employees.

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