Makro workers march for higher pay, demanding a 6.5% wage hike

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Makro workers, affiliated to labour union, South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU), have embarked on a 10-day national strike.

SACCAWU members are currently marching to various Makro stores across the country to hand over a memorandum of demands.  Various organisations and COSATU-affiliated unions have also joined in the march.

Workers are demanding a 6.5%, an additional R650 salary increase. Makro has offered a 4.5% wage increase.

SACCAWU says their members will continue to strike until management gives in to their demands. Unions and Makro management have been at loggerheads since June last year — over salary increases.

Unions had initially demanded a 12% wage increase or R900 extra — but the retailer refused. Saccawu also wants a two-year moratorium on retrenchments.

Saccawu spokesperson Sithembele Tshwete says, “This is in support of the demands of better and improved wages and working conditions which have not been improved for the past three years. We have met with the company over five times and the company has collapsed the negotiations and we have held different strike actions. In this strike, we are asking all members of the community.”

SACCAWU says Makro has been negotiating in bad faith and has urged members of the community to boycott Makro stores.

“We are asking all those products that are distributed and Makro is selling on the shelves not to distribute those. We are asking all members of society during this period not to buy at these stores. This store is giving poverty wages to workers. It is ill-treating workers. They have dismissed 379 workers from these stores merely because they are exercising their rights to picket in these stores.”

Meanwhile, Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs at Massmart, Brian Leroni, says there’s little support for the strike amongst cargo staff members.

“In fact, we have seen a significant rise in resignations from the unions since the strike was announced. This is in addition to the more than 12 hundred Makro employees who have already resigned from the union in order to accept the company wage offer. We have already deployed temporary retail staff to those stores that may be affected by the strike action stores will continue to operate without interruption.”