UNI stands in solidarity with striking Shoprite Checkers workers
UNI Global Union and its 20 million members are standing in solidarity with South African affiliates SACCAWU who announced a day of strike action at retail giant Shoprite Checkers. Shoprite Checkers is one of the largest private employers in South Africa, and employs over 144,000 in 15 countries around Africa. The company has unilaterally decided to change working patterns across the board, to the detriment of its employees.
The planned strike is the last resort after repeated attempts to initiate a dialogue to find constructive solutions for workers on the ground.
“UNI stands in full solidarity with Shoprite Checkers workers and support their strike action,” said Head of UNI Commerce Mathias Bolton. “We share the concerns of the union and call upon the company to resume constructive social dialogue with the union.”
The company wants employees to work outside the usual trading hours with no regard for work-life balance or the wellbeing of their workers. They argue that there is nothing to negotiate, as the number of working hours has not changes.
In addition, there are already many reported cases of abuse and violence as the company does not supply sufficient transport links. If workers are forced to work longer and anti-social hours, the situation will only be exacerbated. Some part-time and precarious workers have also been dismissed for refusing to accept the new working conditions.
Shoprite Checkers signed a global agreement with UNI Global Union in 2010 and we hope that the company will respect this agreement by guaranteeing decent employment and engaging with unions.