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Solidarity ramps up pressure on Woolies

Sep 06 2012 07:51 Sapa

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Last Updated: 27-03-2015 at 11:56. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

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Cape Town - Trade union Solidarity has launched a campaign to get Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL] to retract job advertisements it believes discriminate against whites.

Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann said on Wednesday Woolworths had failed to retract advertisements for posts for which only black candidates would be considered.

Solidarity sent a letter to Woolworths on Tuesday demanding that advertisements exclusively open to "African blacks" or "Africans, coloureds and Indians", be modified so people of all races could be considered.

Hermann said the Woolworth's advertisements constituted unfair race discrimination.

Solidarity's campaign: "Woolworse: Making a differentiation", would be driven by social media and include protest messages to Woolworths CEO Ian Moir.

"In the media, Woolworths argues that they are only complying with affirmative action laws. However, the truth is that the Employment Equity Act does not allow such exclusions," said Hermann.

Woolworths' operations officer Sam Ngumeni denied the company was following racist recruitment processes.

"In order to meet our transformation commitments we use various mechanisms, such as designation, to deliver on our Employment Equity Plan, which is in line with the Employment Equity Act," he said.

The company remained open and transparent about which vacancies were designated in its job advertisements.

"Jobs are only designated and preference indicated where there is a need to address representation and ensure the diversity of our teams. Other than that, all other jobs are open to applicants from all demographic groups," he said.

Meanwhile Woolworths said it gave preference to some job applicants to ensure diversity.

"Jobs are only designated and preference indicated where there is a need to address representation and ensure the diversity of our teams," the retailer's chief operating officer Sam Ngumeni said.

"Other than that, all other jobs are open to applicants from all demographic groups."

The company rejected claims from trade union Solidarity that its recruitment process was racially discriminatory. Ngumeni said all their employment practices were in line with the Employment Equity Act.

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