File image: Leon Nicholas African/News Agency (ANA)
File image: Leon Nicholas African/News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19: Employees level serious allegations against Clicks stores

By Tebogo Monama Time of article published Apr 23, 2020

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Employees at Clicks stores have accused management of making them work during the lockdown and now not wanting to pay them.

Clicks stores countrywide are open as one of the few businesses that offer essential services.

Beauty advisers at the Clicks franchise have accused the company of making them work during the lockdown and then forcing them to take unpaid leave after President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the lockdown deadline to the end of April.

Beauty advisers work at the cosmetics counters and help customers with what products are suitable for them. They earn between R7 000 and R9 000 per month.

One beauty adviser, who works at a Clicks store in Kempton Park, said they were given essential worker letters at the beginning of the lockdown, but these were revoked after the lockdown extension.

The worker said: “At the beginning of the lockdown, we went to work and helped around the store. We also manned the doors and offered customers hand sanitiser.

“Now they are telling us we are not essential workers and our permits are null and void.”

When the lockdown was extended, they claim they were informed they weren’t essential service workers and to take leave – and if they did not have leave days available, it would be registered as unpaid leave.

“I have been working since the lockdown, and to now be told that I will not be paid doesn’t make sense,” another employee said.

Clicks chief store operations officer Sedick Arendse said that as a responsible employer everyone who worked during the lockdown would be paid. He refuted claims that employees would not be paid. 

"At the beginning of lockdown Clicks deployed all staff. However progressive trading restrictions caused by social distancing and declining customer numbers resulted in lower staff requirements. 

"Staff supporting non-essential categories (legal requirement) accounting for less than seven percent of the total workforce, were given the option of extended paid leave up to ten days in advance. We are also accessing Temporary Employer/ Employee Relief Scheme on their behalf and advancing salaries where required," Arendse said. 

“Clicks has further committed to taking the steps necessary to mitigate the negative impact that the lockdown may have on employees’ pay.

“A customer care incentive has been implemented and the option of extended leave, in advance, for up to 10 days, has been offered to affected employees.

“Additionally, all employees have access to medical cover or private primary health care through this time, funded by Clicks.

“These are some of the ways we are looking to mitigate the effect of Covid-19 on our employees,” Arendse said.

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