#OutsourcingMustFall takes on Shoprite

File picture: Leon Nicholas

File picture: Leon Nicholas

Published Mar 17, 2016


Pretoria - Despite the rainy weather experienced across Pretoria on Thursday, numerous Shoprite workers organised under the #OutsourcingMustFall movement to protest against poor pay and their employment through labour brokers.

“We have resolved as follows to demand an immediate end to labour broking at the Shoprite distribution centre, the termination of all contracts with contractors and service providers and employment of all contract workers by Shoprite on a permanent and full-time basis,” the #OutsourcingMustFall campaign's Clarence Debeila said, reading a memorandum of grievances at Shoprite's Centurion distribution centre.

“We have also resolved to demand a minimum wage of R10 000 per month across the board and equal benefits with permanent employees of Shoprite. We are also demanding a moratorium on retrenchments and a freeze on the movement of any contract workers by the contractors from the date of this memorandum.”

The protesters gave the giant retail outlet until March 24 to respond to their concerns.

“We hope and believe that together we can find an amicable resolution to the issues raised here, but failing which, we have every intention to campaign determinedly for permanent and full-time jobs with a living wage,” said Debeila. He told reporters that the fight against outsourcing of work and use of labour brokers had been a drawn-out fight with Shoprite.

“It is the way Shoprite washes its hands off the very workers who make their vast profits for them by having 90 percent of the staff at this distribution centre employed by labour brokers. The labour brokers pay poverty wages - the highest hourly rate is R23 per hour! It's a 44-hour week,” said Debeila.

“Some outsourced cleaners earn as low as R13 per hour. I was speaking to one worker today who has been there since 2002. Of course it [the pay scale] varies ... but this is a long standing permanent workforce despite the labour broking status.” He said the protesting workers were core staff at the distribution centre which included pickers, inventory staff and other workers.

“These are employees which move and handle the inventory of all the Shoprite goods to be loaded onto the lorries for delivery to the shops,” said Debeila.

He said the memorandum was received by an operational manager, Yvonne Mokgoko, on behalf of Shoprite management.

Shoprite was not immediately available for comment.


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