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No winners in Pick n Pay strike

The strike over wages between Pick n Pay and its employees belonging to The South Africa Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) is not good for anyone, for Pick n Pay, Neil Quirk told I-Net Bridge on Monday.
"There are no winners in this strike, no one benefits in the long run, not customers, staff or Pick n Pay. It's a lose-lose situation for all," Quirk said.

Pick n Pay was granted an interdict by the Labour Court on Friday last week in respect to current industrial action by Saccawu members. The union is demanding a R550 per month increase or 12% 'whichever is greater', a 10% staff discount on basic food stuff, 120 hours per month guaranteed for variable time employees, a one-year wage agreement, an end in the use of labour brokers and the establishment of a Centralised Bargaining Forum for the retail sector.

South Africa's second largest food retailer said that the interdict was to prevent intimidation and unlawful behaviour by employees who were Saccawu members.

Unruly behaviour

"We are trading at all stores but strike action has impacted on Pick n Pay's operations. Though sporadic, there have been numerous instances of unruly behaviour where we have had to enforce the interdict we obtained from the Labour Court," said Quirk.

The interdict restricts picketing inside stores pending the determination of picketing rules by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and prevents blocking of access or exits to stores.

The union on Monday said that it would challenge the interdict and it would not strike again until it was granted permission by the Labour Court.

Meeting? No meeting?

Saccawu last week said that 27 000 of its members at Pick n Pay would embark on a full-blown strike from Friday October 29.

"Pick n Pay does want to settle, but this dispute will not be resolved at the level that the union is demanding," Quirk told I-Net Bridge.

"And we have never received a request from the union to meet on this issue," he added.

Last week, Saccawu said that the UNI-Global Union of which it is an affiliate called on the Pick n Pay to meet with the union to resolve the dispute.

"Despite reiterating its commitment to resolve the dispute, the company has yet to agree to such a meeting," it said.

"Saccawu national office bearers have also on numerous times requested a meeting with Pick n Pay at the highest levels, specifically with the chief executive officer, Nick Badminton, however there has been no positive response to this request," said the union.


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