Cape Town - Trade union federation Cosatu on Thursday
expressed shock at Pick n Pay's announcement that it is
contemplating retrenching about 3 137 workers.
On Wednesday, Pick n Pay Stores [JSE:PIK] said the retrenchments were in
terms of Section 189A and 189 (3) of the Labour Relations Act, "due to
operational requirements at the company within the non-management bargaining
Cosatu said in a statement it would back any action its
affiliate, the SA Commercial, Catering, and Allied Workers' Union (Saccawu),
takes to save these jobs.
"We cannot afford to lose still more jobs at a time
when unemployment is still a national crisis."
Cosatu said that according to Pick n Pay operations director
Neal Quirk, the decision was because of the company's declining profitability
and the loss of market share.
However, it believed "the move is a response to the
threat posed by the takeover of Massmart Holdings [JSE:MSM] stores by the
union-bashing multilateral, Walmart".
"We predicted that this would lead to retrenchments in
other retail companies as they struggle to compete with this global giant in
the retail sector, and Pick n Pay is proving us to have been right,"
The attack on jobs would strengthen its determination to
stop the "Walmart invasion".
Cosatu said jobs not only in Massmart stores, but in other
retailers like Pick n Pay and in the South African manufacturing industry
would be under threat.
It accused Walmart of using its domination of the market to
procure goods from all over the world, regardless of the conditions under which
workers produced them.
Cosatu is taking forward its application under Section 77
of the Labour Relations Act and stands ready to mobilise its members in action
in defence of jobs and trade union rights, it said.