Shoprite 8 case to be heard in December

Community members picketing outside Wynberg Magistrate Court on Friday. Photo by Mzi Velapi

One of the workers still employed at the supermarket who has supported the dismissed workers was suspended for not coming to work and for “taking part in an unlawful strike”

Wynberg, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

The case against the 8 Shoprite workers who were dismissed and criminally charged for theft in August after they accepted tips from customers has been postponed til next month.

Addressing the workers and supporters outside of the courtroom, their lawyer, Stephen Harrison, said that Shoprite has provided the court with the footage of workers accepting tips from customers. “They are also in the process of providing the court with the trial balance of the day before and on the day they were arrested,” explained Harrison.

The 8 workers are all women who were employed on contract and they earned R20 per hour, that is less than the minimum wage. In October the workers and the community picketed outside of Pelican Park branch where the workers used to work.

One of the workers who has supported the dismissed workers was suspended for not coming to work and for “taking part in an unlawful strike”.  Jean Van den Heever has been working for Shoprite in Pelican Park for the last 6 months. He told Elitsha that he was taken to a disciplinary hearing and given a warning for absconding from work but without there being evidence she took part in the picket.

Van den Heever said that Shoprite is using threats to make sure that none of the workers who work at the branch support the dismissed workers. “One of the managers saw me outside when the dismissed workers were picketing and he told management that I was part of the picket even though I wasn’t,” she said.

The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union told Elitsha that it has applied for a joinder, an action of bringing the parties together. The union’s organiser, Tanya Francis, said that they have learnt that the retail giant will be sending their lawyers to the meeting and this is something that they will oppose.

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The case has been postponed til 15 December.


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