Picture: Jack Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

RUSTENBURG - Trade unions have declared a wage dispute against Pep Stores, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) said on Friday.

General secretary Andre Kriel said the dispute was declared after wage negotiations deadlocked, with the employer offering an initial 5.5 percent wage increase, against labour demands of a 13 percent or R800 per month increase, whichever was greater.

Sactwu also wants improvements in workers' conditions of employment, such as better long service awards and study leave provisions.

It said the company had at a July 18 conciliation session improved its offer from 5.5 percent to a 7.5 percent wage increase, to increase current long service cash awards by 15 percent and to raise study leave by one additional paid day.

"Currently, long service allowance are cash payments for R750 per annum for full time employees with 10 years' service, and R1050 per annum for workers with 15 years' service. Study leave is currently 14 days per annum," Kriel said.

He said while the union had rejected the employer's revised offer, it was still taking it to members.

Conciliation has been adjourned to August 20, to allow the union to report the current status of negotiations to its members. 

"We sincerely hope that a settlement can be reached during the next round of conciliation, in order to avoid what could be very damaging strike action," said Kriel.

"We have also now revised our deadlocked demands to the following-- an across the board wage increase of eight percent, long service awards to increase by 15 percent with effect from January 2019 for all categories of employees,  one additional paid study day and an incentive bonus to include bill payments, as well as back-pay."

Other unions in the disput are the Sactwu, South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) which like Sactwu is affiliated to Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Entertainment Catering Commercial and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Eccawusa), which is independent.

- African News Agency (ANA)