Traffic has been affected in the Johannesburg CBD following the Shoprite strike. Workers union SACCAWU says the strike arises out of a dispute they have with management over changes in working conditions.

They also want the employer to provide transport for workers and the immediate reinstatement of 23 workers who were dismissed at the Shoprite-Checkers store in Sandton, north of Johannesburg. These workers on strike say one of their demands is to be employed on a permanent basis.

“They are exploiting us in the name of full time employees. We want 40 hours permanent. Most of us we are casuals and 90 per cent we are temporary staff. They say we report for duty from 8 to 7 in the evening. Where can we get transport at that time. They expect us to work on our feet, irrespective whether there is a customer. Standing must fall.”

Members of trade union SACCAWU – working for Shoprite-Checkers in KwaZulu-Natal – have joined the national strike.

SACCAWU provincial Secretary Mathews Ndlovu says the workers demand an immediate reversal of the unilateral changes to working hours, including the provision of transport for workers who knock off early or after late night shifts.

In Limpopo, SACCAWU has threatened for more protest actions against the Shoprite management if the workers’ demands are not met. Shoprite-Checkers workers are demanding a revision of the working hours and safe transport for those working late shifts.

“We handed the memorandum today we are going to give them seven days and if they don’t respond positively SACCAWU will come up with a second option and this means we are going to intensify our strike so we are going to picket all stores so our programme will be unfolding.”

In a statement responding to the strike, the Shoprite Group says it plans to resolve the matter as fast as possible. Shoprite says it’s made arrangements to keep stores open and trading hours as normal as possible. The group doesn’t comment on the workers’ grievances in the statement.