SACCAWU Western Cape statement on the unabated growing number of infected workers with COVID-19 in the retail sector,Western Cape

The South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) in the Westerm Cape is outraged and deeply concerned about the unending  growing number of our members in the retail sector especially at Shoprite Checkers and some Pick ‘n Pay stores who are getting infected almost everyday with COVID 19 while on duty.

We have since in Western Cape seen the highest level of disregard of te National Lockdown COVID 19 pandemic measurements.  We have recorded large scale unilateralism taking place in workplaces where in certain circumstances, some management conceal information on the outbreak of infected workers thus putting the lives of others in unhealthy, harzadous and risk sitution.

Some employers seem  to have taken an opportunity to conduct very radical stance in putting the profit first and the expense of our members without following the prescripts of the COVID 19 measurements and regulations gazetted by the Government of the Republic of South Africa.

SACCAWU has had to conted with the aggressive and offensive arrogance of some employers who have decided all of a suddenhave an obsolute right to determine the fate of the workers, using the pandemic and National Lockdown as a cover e.g Mariners Wharf in Hout Bay unilateral retrenchments and closure without consultation with the union and thus flouting the Section 189 of the Labour Relation Act.

With regard to Mariners Wharf, we have decided to declare a dispute and refer the matter under the auspecies of CCMA

·         In Goal Supermarkets in Western Cape  (Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Delft) some workers were infected by the Virus.  We also noted the untimely death of one (1) worker in Delft as a result of this Pandemic.

·        In Shoprite Checkers alone more than 200 workers have been infected by the virus and we are saddned and shocked  to report that two (2) workers passed on “ May their Souls Rest in eternal peace.”

We have also recorded the following inconsistencies applied by the company in some stores:

–          In Shoprite Checkers we have noticed movement of workers from stores where the COVID 19 has happen to store where it has occured putting the lives of workers at risk and at the behest of some managers.

–         Inconsistancy in screening and testing of workers which leaves the workers to panic when the positive cases reported.

–         In some cases breach of regulation by allowing more than fifty (50) people in stores

–         Noted that in some stores workers were not paid during the quarintine period.

·        Super Spar Khayelitsha, the store was closed after two (2) workers were infected.

Inorder to combat this pandemic, the steps taken by the union thus for are;

The Company to disclose information on the following:

1.      Data of stores affected and number of employees store by store.

2.     Steps taken by the Company in Compliance with COVID 19 Rules and Regulations and assistance provided to employees and their families.

As a consequence of the above, we haveproposed to meet with the employer on an urgent basis todate, no response has been received.  We have since escalted this matter to our Head Office to address same with the CEO of Shoprite Checkers.

As the consequencies of the above scenarios the union demands the following:

·         The employers must provide PPE to all workers in our sectors.

·        Regular sanitation of all workers and customers before entering the stores.  Department of Employent & Labour and the Department of Health to conduct regular inspections of all stores.

·        Moratorium on all contemplated retrenchments during the Lockdown period.

·        Employers must stop moving of employees from store to store during the Lockdown period.

·        Employers must inform the union of any cases related to pandemic as and when they arise.

·        Employers mus stop concealing information from the cases regarding COVID-19.

·        The Company must pay workers tested positive during quarantine period.

·        Shoprite Checkers must stop dedicating loan imposed without the consent of the workers and the union.

·        Stop roving of merchandisers from store to store.

·        Stop retesting of workers in cases related to COVID-19.

Having been experienced / exposed to the above, we call upon the Department of Health, Department of Employment and Labour to make serious intervention by conducting roadshows and inspection in all the outlets.

The union remains intact in upholding the preventative measurers adopted by various government institutions.

ISSUED by SACCAWU Western Cape

CROSBY BOOI –  Regional Secretary  – 082 336 5731

COLIN TYALIDIKAZI  –  Legal Co-ordinator –  082 336 5760