COSATU demands the immediate reinstatement of the nearly 400 Makro workers that were unfairly dismissed

The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns Massmart Management for dismissing nearly four hundred (400) workers, who are fighting for their rights and defending collective bargaining. We call for the company to stop illegitimate hearings and immediately reinstate all the affected workers without any conditions. Makro has been trying to liquidate the union by offering incentives to workers if they resign from the union.

We support our affiliated union South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) and denounce the intransigent attitude of the company and its attempts to undermine collective bargaining.

The Federation has written to Massmart Management to demand an urgent meeting to discuss this reckless decision that is going to destroy the livelihoods of so many families. We call on the Ministers of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel and Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi to intervene and make sure that the company doesn’t undermine the country’s labor laws and plays by the rules.

The Department of Trade and Industry and its agencies like the Competition Tribunal are culpable for allowing a known violator of workers’ rights, Walmart, to takeover Massmart when they approved the merger more than ten years ago. The Massmart parent company, Wal Mart has a deplorable record globally on labour rights and a repressive attitude to trade unionism.

When the Competition Tribunal published its reasons for its approval of the merger of Walmart and Massmart more than a decade ago, it said the following: “Our job in merger control is not to make the world a better place, only to prevent it becoming worse as a result of a specific transaction”.

This was a reckless and insensitive statement that emboldened the company and led to the current situation where workers are being bullied and collective bargaining is being dismantled by Massmart. This was a reactionary statement to be uttered in a country that is burdened with high rates of structural unemployment and poverty and which is now considered to be the most unequal in the world. Indeed, the Competition Tribunal has achieved its goal of not improving the situation of the workers but of making it worse. 

Walmart should stop playing dirty tricks and focus on working with the union to find an amicable solution to the current impasse. SACCAWU members demand the following:

·      An across-the-board increase of R900.00 or 12% whichever is the greater

·      Minimum Wage R8000.00

·      An improvement of Commission from 10% on margin to 20% margin for the Salesperson

·      Increase in Category 3 working hours from 160 to 195 per month.

·      13th Cheque is to be made separate from the December salary.

·      Uniform Allowance of R100.00

·      Moratorium on Retrenchments for the duration of the agreement

These are reasonable demands in line with the escalating cost of living. This company, like all others, has benefitted from tax cuts and other incentives that have been offered by the government. The Federation calls on South Africans to support the striking Makro workers by boycotting the company. We also encourage other workers to show solidarity with these striking workers by joining their planned activities. If we do not support each other on the picket line, we will meet each other on the unemployment line.

Issued by COSATU   

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794