On the morning of Thursday 05 April 2018, staff from PicknPay Kathu, supported by members of the Eco-nomic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, sta-ged a demonstration as part of an illegal strike at the Kathu Heritage Mall, blocking the entrance to PicknPay and surrounding shops.
A small number of workers from PicknPay and EFF members sang and chanted inside the building of the mall causing the sound to amplify and reverberate. A sizeable, armed police contingent was present.
According to PicknPay workers, they have many complaints about the management at PicknPay, mostly regarding working condi-tions and remuneration issues.
Asked why they did not approach their trade union representative from SACCAWU, they said that the union did not respond sa-tisfactorily to their call for assistance, hence they resorted to the EFF.
Women members of staff complained that they have to perform various tasks, such as cashiering and cleaning on command. They
get warnings left, right and centre, for instance when they visit the bathroom du-ring work hours instead of their lunch breaks. They also do not get a tea break. Their lockers are located outside the ware-house. There is no roof there. When they work until 20:00 they have to go out there in the dark.
They do not get their payslips in sealed en-velopes, so they are not private. Manage-ment swears at them indiscriminately and uses foul language. They also complained that their work hours had been reduced without prior notice. Workers who had been there for four years already, complained that they had never received bonusses nor do they belong to a provident fund. They added that they are always disregarded for promo-tions.
The workers also suggest that PicknPay's management discriminate against Se-tswa-na people.
The Kathu Gazette approached the leader of the EFF contingent, Olebogeng Leser-wane, to determine why the EFF had be-
come involved with the demonstration. Mr Leserwane, who happens to be a Ga-Se-gonyana local municipality councillor, said that the EFF always becomes involved in is-sues regarding workers, because the party represents the working class.
The Kathu Gazette contacted the office of SACCAWU in Kuruman. An official ex-plained that their members at PicknPay declined their assistance, but that they are nevertheless engaging with the manage-ment of PicknPay Kathu to address the grie-vances of the workers. According to the of-ficial, they were supposed to have a meet-ing with the management of PicknPay on Tuesday 10 April 2018.
A spokesperson from PicknPay, Tamra Capstick-Dale, commented that the incident was “a pretty old story.” According to Ms Capstick-Dale, the issue was resolved very quickly and the store re-opened imme-diately, however, PicknPay Kathu only re-opened by 15:00 that afternoon.
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