Striking Walmart workers in South Africa win agreement
UNI Global Union affiliate in South Africa, SACCAWU, has called off a near three-week strike at Walmart-subsidiary Massmart, after concluding an agreement that has won a pay rise and secured a deal to re-employ over 300 retrenched workers.
Ending the strike on 6 December, which included days of mass mobilizations across the country, SACCAWU reached a settlement with the retail and wholesale group that will see workers at Builders Warehouse receive a 4.5 per cent pay increase or R400, whichever is highest.
Around 320 retrenched workers at Game stores will be offered jobs at the group’s stores within a 50km distance from their homes. Massmart agreed to a recruitment freeze until February 2022 to accommodate this process, and will also set up a joint company/worker committee to oversee the job placements. Workers who are not reinstated will receive severance pay.
SACCAWU has been protesting form months against Massmart over its restructuring plans that unilaterally cut jobs, reduced working hours (from 195 to 120 hours per month), enforced relocations and changed job roles, impacting part of its 48,000 member workforce.
UNI Africa Regional secretary, Keith Jacobs, said:
“UNI Africa extends solidarity to SACCAWU and its members whose actions and sacrifices forced Massmart to listen and act. These gains led to pay rises for many and re-employment for hundreds of workers. We will continue to support SACCAWU as they fight for the interests of Massmart workers.”
Early this year, UNI launched a global solidarity campaign titled #StopMassCuts to support SACCAWU and Massmart workers. With a statement adopted by UNI Commerce Walmart Global Trade Union Alliance, trade unions organizing or representing Walmart workers across the globe from the US to Brazil, from Canada to Kenya, from Chile to Malawi backed Massmart workers in their fight to stop massive cuts imposed by the company.