The South African Union of Catering and Allied Workers (Saccawu) agreed on Monday to end its nearly three-week-long strike related to wages and labor against the retail and wholesale group Massmart.
The union and the retailer agreed to a 4.5% or R400 pay increase (whichever is higher) across the board for Builders Warehouse employees, effective July 1, 2021. This agreement will apply to all permanent workers 45 hours and fixed 40 hours. employees who are part of the union.
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Saccawu had initially asked for a R500 pay increase for Builders employees, while Massmart at the time was only offering R320.
“We will never be pleased, I mean it is a compromise position, so we have to meet halfway,” Sithembele Tshwete, Saccawu spokesperson told Moneyweb.
“For example, in Makro’s commission structure, we didn’t get what we wanted. But with the Game’s downsizing, we’re quite pleased that our workers are going to be retired and placed in the pool. With the builders [outcomes], we feel comfortable with the increase of R400, “said Tshwete.
Massmart assumes the process of reinstatement
Another notable result of the agreement is related to the re-employment of Game employees who succumbed to the company’s downsizing process.
Massmart has decided to institute a reinstatement program designed to assign previously laid off Game employees to currently available openings across the group.
The latest figures available show 385 Game employees were laid off, yet only 174 job openings are advertised across the group.
Employees who opt for the re-employment process will not resume work in their previous positions, but will be assigned to available positions that match their skill set, within a 50 km radius from their homes.
Massmart has committed to freezing all vacancies available to the public until February 15, 2022, to address this process.
Employees who are not successfully placed in the 174 openings available will be considered for any openings that may arise in the group over the next year.
Saccawu will return to the negotiating table
The union, which has about 18,000 members, says that while its strike of more than two weeks has seen some successes, it is not entirely satisfied with the results of the deal, especially those related to Massmart’s Makro business.
The union in its initial set of lawsuits called for a review of the commission’s goals set for Makro’s customer relations officers. The union argued that the commission’s targets for these employees were excessively high and placed them at a disadvantage in terms of income.
However, Massmart apparently did not back down on this point, leaving employee goals largely unchanged.
Tshwete says the union has a lifetime to collaborate with Massmart on these issues and will indeed return to the bargaining table in due course.
“On the issues of the commission structure at Makro, we are still going to involve the company, outside of this round of collective bargaining, we feel we have to involve them,” Tshwete said.
“We feel like their (Makro’s) goals are too high for them (the employees) not to get commissions.”
“The company simply did not want to listen to us, stating that it is a business decision. But what we are saying is that it is a business decision that negatively affects our members because they have to work very hard to pursue those goals, but still they are not given a commission, ”Tshwete said.