UNI Global Union has called on Walmart-subsidiary, Massmart, to halt plans to close up to 34 stores in South Africa, which could put around 1,400 jobs at risk.

At a meeting in Barcelona this week, the UNI Commerce Global Steering Committee unanimously adopted a solidarity statement urging Massmart and Walmart to revise their decision announced on 13 January, and to engage in constructive consultation with UNI affiliate, SACCAWU (South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union).

Speaking at the meeting, Louise Thipe from SACCAWU said:

“The loss of even one worker is too many given that the rate of unemployment in South Africa is very high. Such a massive dismissal would create more poverty in society. The history of Walmart is well-known, there might be more dismissals. We are asking for your support. More voices might turn things around.”

In the solidarity statement, the UNI Commerce Global Steering Committee called on company management and South African authorities to take action to save jobs, saying:    

  • We urge the local management of Massmart and global management of Walmart to revise their decision to close stores and to engage in constructive and genuine consultation with SACCAWU in order to avoid job losses and minimize negative effects on workers.
  • We call South African authorities to step in and ensure that consultation process is properly carried out and all necessary measures are taken to avoid job losses.
  • We manifest our solidarity with Massmart workers and SACCAWU in their just fight to protect jobs.

Massmart, which is majority-owned by US retail giant Walmart, includes local brands such as Game, Makro, Builder’s Warehouse and CBW.  It is the second-largest distributor of consumer goods in Africa.


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