Saccawu’s compromise ends Massmart strike woes, after almost three weeks

A job reinstatement programme for Game employees and a wage increase for Builders Warehouses employees were some of the major settlement agreement points.
Image: Moneyweb

The South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) on Monday agreed to end its almost three-week wage- and labour-related strike action against Massmart.

The union and the retail and wholesale group have agreed to a 4.5% or R400 wage increase (whichever is highest) across the board for Builders Warehouse employees, effective from July 1, 2021.  This agreement will apply to all 45-hour permanent and 40-hour fixed employees who are part of the union.

Saccawu had initially called for a R500 wage increase for Builders employees while Massmart was at the time offering only R320.

“We never will be pleased, I mean it’s a compromise position so we have to meet each other halfway,” Saccawu spokesperson Sithembele Tshwete told Moneyweb.

“For instance in the Makro commission structure, we didn’t get what we wanted. But with the Game retrenchments we were quite satisfied that our workers are going to be taken back and placed in the group. With the Builders [outcomes], we are comfortable with the R400 increase,” Tshwete said.

Massmart takes on job reinstatement process

As referred to above, Massmart has resolved to institute a programme for retrenched Game employees. Employees opting into the reemployment process will be not resuming work in their old positions but instead will be allocated to available positions matching their skill set, within a 50km radius from their homes.

However, the latest available figures show that 385 Game employees were retrenched and there are only 174 vacancies advertised across the group.

Massmart has undertaken to freeze all available vacancies to the public until February 15, 2022, to cater to this process.

Employees who are not successfully placed in the 174 available vacancies will be considered for vacancies that may arise in the group over the next year.

Saccawu will return to the negotiation table

The union which has about 18 000 members says that although its over-two-week strike has registered some wins, it is not entirely pleased with the settlement outcomes, especially those relating to Massmart’s Makro business.

The union in its initial set of demands called for the review of commission targets set for Makro’s customer relations officers. The union argued that the commission targets for these employees were unreasonably high and placed them at an earnings disadvantage.

However, Massmart seemingly did not budge on this point, leaving employee targets largely unchanged.

Tshwete says that the union has a lifetime to engage with Massmart on these issues.

“On the issues of the commission structure at Makro, we are still going to engage the company, outside this round of collective bargaining, we feel we have to engage them,” Tshwete said.

“The company just didn’t want to listen to us, indicating that it is a business decision. But what we are saying is that it’s a business decision that adversely affects our members because they have to work so hard to chase those targets but still they are not given commission,” Tshwete said,

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