Saccawu affiliates threaten Sandton shutdown over Massmart consultation process

They’ve accused the retailer of planning mass retrenchments and potentially closing more local stores.

Massmart employees participate in a protest in Sandton on 28 May 2021 against the potential closure of stores and job cuts. Picture: Veronica Mokhoali/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – Workers affiliated with Saccawu have vowed to shut down Sandton in seven days if Walmart-owned retailer, Massmart, fails to bring an end to a consultation process that could result in major job cuts.

Employees of the retail giant, which owns some the country’s popular stores like Game, Makro, Builders Warehouse and Jumbo, held demonstrations outside the head offices of Massmart in Johannesburg on Friday to hand over a memorandum of demands.

They’ve accused the retailer of planning mass retrenchments and potentially closing more local stores.

Massmart, which is struggling financially, was forced to shut down its entire Dion Wired business last year, affecting over 1,440 employees.

Staff members who took to the streets said that the company, which was owned by the world’s largest grocer, was in the process of identifying underperforming stores as part of its turnaround plan to stabilise the business.

One worker said that the retailer was using the pandemic as an excuse to save profit at the expense of employees.

“It’s heartbreaking, I’m not going to lie, we work so hard and their focus daily is R1 million, yet they say they don’t have money. They open new stores and what upsets us, even more, is the fact that our CEO, he retrenched at Game, he retrenched at Cut Dion Wired and now he’s threatening to retrench at Makro and Builders,” she said.

Workers have also called for the removal of CEO Mitchell Slape, saying that he received a R24 million pay package last year.

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