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Striking store employees resort to vandalism

Johannesburg - Jumbo Wholesale employees took their protest action to the streets yesterday following a week-long sit-in at their canteen.

The Southern African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) members have been in dispute with Jumbo management in Crown Mines, Joburg, for more than a week after management failed to meet their demands.

Jumbo Wholesale workers demonstrate outside their premises in Crown Mines. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya. Credit: Independent Newspapers

The protest, which Saccawu says was a sequel to unresolved disputes, dismissals and the unfair treatment of workers, escalated into violence, with the shop being vandalised and its windows broken.

Customers and other employees have been intimidated and threatened.

Saccawu is demanding that three of its members who were dismissed be reinstated and that two senior managers be suspended due to allegations of racism and unfair treatment of employees.

Shop steward Margaret Buthelezi said Jumbo management did not follow the correct procedure in disciplinary issues.

“One employee who was dismissed used a customer exit to fetch a trolley, which was not even a metre away, and he got fired over that,” said Buthelezi.

Brian Leroni, the spokesman for Masscash, which is the holding body for Jumbo Wholesale, said the dismissals had followed company procedures and the members were dismissed in different incidents.

Leroni said employees had to use the staff entrances to limit incidents of theft.

He condemned the violence and said the strike was illegal.

“It’s an illegal strike action, we are disappointed that it’s characterised by violence,” he said.

Leroni said Massmart had taken the issue to the Labour Court and the strike was ruled illegal. - The Star

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