Solidarity ramps up pressure on Woolies

2012-09-06 07:51

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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  • dieter.muller.942145 - 2012-09-06 07:58

    send them to marikana!

      case.riley.1 - 2012-09-06 12:18

      Boycott them for 10 days irrespective of what action they take now to correct the situation. If they smell of racism, they need to be punished - then review after 10 days. Otherwise all the racists take a chance until they are found out! If you won't employ my kids you won't see my MONEY!!!

      ninjacraig - 2012-09-07 16:44

      I attempted to boycott them but have already fell ill from shoprite's meat. What should I do?

  • kevin.wright.58555 - 2012-09-06 08:08

    If that's the case Woolies, what is the demographic split of your board members in SA? Is that representative of the Nation or are you using your "other" managerial positions to get to your desired EE score card rating as per the legislation requirements????

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 09:20

      I'd love for them to respond on this one! Very valid question!

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 09:32

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 09:47

      WW has 8 white board members of which 4 are from SA. Then they have 6 board members who are people of color.

      Blixum - 2012-09-06 10:21

      Yeah. And what about the demographics of their customers? Are they going to EE or AA that as well? May a white customer only be served after 9 black ones have been served?

      phathuchicos - 2012-09-06 13:51

      you guys need some mental rejuvination I think...

      aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-09-06 15:58

      What about the demographic makeup of your customers? Doesn't that count for anything? Doesn't it make more sense for a business to reflect the demographic of their customers and that of the areas where they're based? If Woolworths branches are mainly based in areas with a preponderance of white customers and residents, why should they be forced to reflect the demographic of, say, the rural Eastern Cape, or KZN?

  • demi.davidson.18 - 2012-09-06 08:10

    Simple: Anyone who doesn't like Woolworths policy should stop shopping at their stores. Best (and easiest) message to them. And if W/Worths blame it on BEE then its time they (and other businesses) stood up against government's BEE policies.

      sticky.toffee - 2012-09-06 08:24

      I tend to agree with you Demi. However, I also question whether Woolies is to blame here or is this a carefully contrived campaign by its competitors to discredit them. All the other major retailers use the same principle in their recruitment process. Woolies is just playing open cards here. And as for Solidarity - I guess you just couldn't help yourself but jump on the band wagon and seek some attention.

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 09:18

      @sticky.toffee. See Kevin.Wright.58555. He asks the right question, "What is the demographic of their board members in SA?" Are they willing to show that this does not apply to top management!

  • derek.smith.12177276 - 2012-09-06 08:11 nearly 3,5% down this morning on share price!!!! cheers Woolies!!!!

      theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-09-06 08:35

      Serves them right ! This discrimanatory bull must stop and buying power must determine that - finish and klaar

      konstabel.koekemoer - 2012-09-06 09:13

      Great, let us aim for 10% next. They want white customers but not white empolyees. They deserve a boycott even if they retract their racist ads. It is easy to Boycott Woolies as the good they sell can be bought at many other shops, usually at cheaper prices!

  • Susan Penney Smith - 2012-09-06 08:13

    i am sure they are not the only company doing this!

  • gracemoremi - 2012-09-06 08:15

    i hate our government!

      janet.m.naude - 2012-09-06 11:40

      @ Frank - don't pick on bunny huggers here - the only thing some members have in common with bunnies (such as the President) is that they breed too much! I can understand that previously disadvantaged people needed some help. I don't understand, however, that less that 10% of the population can be depriving the other 90% of work. After nearly 20 years of Democracy, surely there are enough "people of colour" who can compete on equal footing without turning white people into presently and indefinately disadvantaged.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-09-06 12:19

      Janet, my view of a bunny hugger is these liberal idiots sitting in damp, smokey rooms, sipping red plonk in their polo neck jumpers and using words like social responsibility, unfair, poor people and injustice to death. I concur fully with your analogy that how in the hell can 10% of the population still be regarded as the white elite oppressing the poor locals, while the reality is that we are ourselves economically oppressed by exorbitant taxes, out of control petrol prices and maddening electricity and toll road tariffs. This is but another way to stick it to us under the thinly veiled guise of transformation and we should not stand for it!

  • gracemoremi - 2012-09-06 08:15

    i hate our government!

  • Johann.vanderWalt2 - 2012-09-06 08:16

    great, so whites can go for an interview, but will never get the job

      comurray - 2012-09-06 09:22

      Precisely, so the white applicants should not waste their valuable time. Go and shop anywhere except Woolies.

      theo.joubert.37 - 2012-09-06 13:07

      If woollies are really only following BEE policies, why are they not publishing the stats on taff quotas they employ? It should not be that difficult. Since they don't make these stats available, i can only come to one conclusion: They do implement racial employment policies!!! And even if a white , Indian or Coloured candidate get interviewed they will not get the job. I do not buy at MC Donald’s at all since they do not allow a white South African to buy any of their franchises. And guess what they are also an American Company. It is time that the consumers stand together against these unjust actions by big business!!

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-09-06 08:19

    Whites constitute 79% of Woolies customers. come all you whites...BOYCOTT Woolwoths!

      theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-09-06 08:37

      Im ready... Are the rest of you ?

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-09-06 09:40

      done it

  • rick.kabose - 2012-09-06 08:22

    Boycott all who discriminate against their major clients. Let woolies go bang. Rather get a loaf of bread at the local family business baker. Rather support those who have been pushed out by discrimination against whites. Stuff this government and all who support it

  • pierre.smit.7921 - 2012-09-06 08:28

    Thanks to Solidarity for bringing this up - I will never go to Woolworths again

      theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-09-06 08:40

      Amen !

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-09-06 08:50

      Their high quality food ain't so high quality of late. And damn expensive.

  • kenny.maree.1 - 2012-09-06 08:31

    All white South Africans should boycot Woolworths and other retailers such as PICK AND PAY etc. When last did you see a white person in Pick And Pay on any of their tills or a young guy packing shelves.

      ryan.glenn.758 - 2012-09-06 09:03

      Or Wimpy, Steers, ect

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-09-06 09:43

      got to get our food somewhere? - 2012-09-06 13:16

      Question. Have any of you guys looked at the stats wrt pnp or shop rite. Shop rite is 94.7% non white employees. PNP are trying to make up for lost ground BEE wise. Their percentages are also very high. They all adopt similar practices . You have to grow your own food and barter to have a successful boycott

  • don.frost.581 - 2012-09-06 08:33

    Woolies has lost my money! Hope they go under!

  • alta.vandersandt - 2012-09-06 08:39

    I will not put my feet in Woolies before they've changed their employment policy. Will dearly miss them but if that is there way of thanking their white shoppers then so be it.

  • gerhard.borcherds - 2012-09-06 08:46

    I will definitely boycott Woolworths or any other company that engages in such blatantly racist employment practices. What happened to 1992's vision of a nonracial, nonsexist democracy? I'm going to setup a website and a blacklist of 'racist SA Companies' so we can monitor them and ensure we don't passively support these practices, for the sake of future generations if nothing else. It's only going to get worse if we continue to turn a blind eye.

      theo.joubert.37 - 2012-09-06 13:16

      Please do that. We need to get informed about important issues such as this. - 2012-09-06 14:17

      Fine gerhardt, just be aware that PnP, Shoprite etc will be on your list too. They are all applying AA actively to get their numbers right. Woolworths made a PR gaffe by advertising it as such. However wrt the measure that matters, chances of employment, they are all similar.

  • pieter.bezuidenhout.39 - 2012-09-06 08:48

    They may retract their job advertisement to please their shoppers and the media followers, but that does not mean that there will be a shift in policy. In future they may refrain from "advertising" their policies so openly but may still implement them during recruiting

  • frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-09-06 08:49

    I have never shopped at Woolies so my boycott is easy.....just continue as before! I find their staff useless, their products overrated and their attitude appalling. Suffice to say, the action taken by the people making the decision to let them feel it on the bottom line, is a just and noble cause and should be applauded. Well done to everyone concerned!

  • shawnbrownphoto - 2012-09-06 08:53

    imagine the furor if the ad had said: 'Whites only position'..makes one think. Reverse racism is as bad as racism itself. Both should have no place in our country, and we as South Africans shouldn't stand for it!

      aphiwe.mayola - 2012-09-06 09:59

      Actually there are a lot of ads out there that do that or imply just that eg 'of European descent' n 'must have valid drivers license and OWN TRANSPORT essential' n many more such examples. Just that white people complain louder n 'smarter' than some people like this guy who brought all this out.

  • flashmillar - 2012-09-06 08:54

    Why only 10 days boycott

      juannepierre - 2012-09-06 13:17

      Tata how long the rich white folk can last... No backbone.

  • Dawn Campbell Gibson - 2012-09-06 08:57

    I decided years back not to support woolies when I discovered they were selling their waste to places like Mugg n Bean and creches. old stock sold off cheaply to places making full profits out of them, just makes you wonder about their ethics, when they will not allow private people who need to save to buy at the same discount.

  • dev.winter - 2012-09-06 08:58

    Why not just judge applicants on their merit, and not on their skin colour?

  • shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-09-06 09:06

    I will not BOYCOTT Woolworths, in fact I will continue to shop there. I shop at the Woolworths in The Bright Water in Randburg, and the staff there are OUT OF THIS WORLD. The all smile they always greet you, they chat to you like you are a family member. I have been to shops like Edgars were the white staff could not be bothered to help you, & when you greet themm they almost always reply with a uh... I love my Woolies and I love their staff.

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-06 09:08

      Whatever floats your boat!

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-09-06 09:17

      Well, whoopie to you and your Noddy Badge is available at the nearest Woollies door! Please continue to support them as your narrow-minded attitude is what got us here in the first place. When one of your family members are discriminated against in whatever capacity, please remember to keep your mouth shut as we really don't want to hear your bleating! This campaign has further reaching consequences than your beloved store and its BEE appointees but in true liberal, bunny hugging fashion, your answer for everything is a group hug and sticking your head in the sand! Pathetic!

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-09-06 09:55

      Well at my pick n pay (and edgars, and steers, and and and) for every disinterested white staff member I can show you 20 black that are completely uncommunicative and disinterested. They kinda just grunt and mumble to you, that is when they can tear themselves from conversations with their mates at the next till or packing to even make eye contact as you approach the checkout, let alone greet you. Point is this is not a good reason to allow discriminatory employment practice, based on some isolated observation of some individuals at branch X in put-sonder-water. don't be daft...pls.

  • craig.moir.14 - 2012-09-06 09:07

    Boycott Woolies! I am! They blocked me on FB. Shows they don't like negative comments about their discriminatory practices.

  • mike.clery - 2012-09-06 09:09

    Woolworths (and yes, other businesses) don't seem to understand that it's their *implementation* of BEE that's the problem. Their advertising of posts as exclusively for a specific race/races doesn't reflect their claim that "As a South African company, transformation is really important to us, as it is for the country as a whole". The effect of their policies is to alienate those excluded, and imply that appointees are not "the best" but were only selected because of their race (to meet BEE points targets and nothing more). I doubt that this is their intention, but it *is* the result. If Woolworths *really* cares about what's good for the country, they will reconsider their approach, instead of arrogantly dismissing criticism of their policies and continuing to contribute to racial division in SA.

  • basie.pretorius - 2012-09-06 09:20

    Ek sal nie weer by woolies koop nie en ek hoop meer S Afrikaners staan saam en stuur hulle HEL toe

  • mzakes.matabata - 2012-09-06 09:28

    love woolies heading there for lunch with colleague.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-09-06 10:41

      And so it should be! We have supported the fools long enough and it is high time they start stealing out of your BEE appointee pocket! Well done boet, for standing up and taking up the slack left by droves of whites walking out the front door! Pity your brothers grovelling in the mud without education or hope, cannot support this racist establishment due to a lack of funds. Maybe you lot should nationalize it?

      case.riley.1 - 2012-09-06 12:14

      Their pap must be good!

      mzakes.matabata - 2012-09-06 14:58

      no problem i will do what i can, and the pap comment grow up

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-09-06 16:12

      mzakes, spoken like a real trooper, so well done. Just a word of advise, Woolies have the knack of drawing you in and sucking you dry so welcome to the big league, boet!

  • Lee Ngalo - 2012-09-06 09:37

    I think everyone is missing the plot here, its only certain jobs at Head office that are like that and it is there to put equity in line, go to woolies head office and u will see that majority is white and at stores i dont think white people are just not interested to work at that level because those jobs are open to all, just do research before u judge and there is no waste that get sold to mugg n bean, clearly u dont know what u are talking about Cambell, Prejudice is dangerous

      Dawn Campbell Gibson - 2012-09-06 09:52

      Really, then times have changed. Karaglen woolies sold all their old bread to MnB at a reduced price. As well as supplying to many others for resale, yet, would not allow private pensioners or unemployed people to benefit. Maybe YOU should do some research.

  • aphiwe.mayola - 2012-09-06 10:10

    I don't see the problem with Woolies action, not even because of BEE or AA purposes just as the right thing to do. If they feel there's too much of a certain group in their company n would like to integrate certain other groups and thereby get a more diverse viewpoint of their patrons n future patrons then y not. It could work out well for business. Certain discrimatory measures are not put in place to stifle white people's growth, however we have 2 realise that SA is a diverse country n we should strive to accomplish a certain level of diversity in the workplace etc. How are 99 old white men n say 1 black in the HO or management going to make sound decisions that eg suit their workforce of 90 black female, 10 white female n 50 black male? I just think diversity is key. Have never heard certain groups complain as to why they are not represented as cashiers or packers @ Woolies or any other Supermarket. Weird!

      Blixum - 2012-09-06 10:30

      Weird? rad the comments above and you will see the complaints/comments about only black cashiers at PnP, Edgars, Checkers, CNA, Wimpy et al! mamparra!

      aphiwe.mayola - 2012-09-06 11:12

      From who? And it caused such a big reaction, I think not. What I'm saying is before this whole Woolies scandal certain groups were just fine with their ppl being in HQ n management levels n other groups packing their groceries n cleaning the store floors. Ever thot 2 boycott tho? No need for name calling!

  • hans.dewaal.5 - 2012-09-06 10:39

    Woolworse clothes are crap anyway, only the more reason not to buy from them again! So the list is growing SAA and now this crowd

  • Nitin - 2012-09-06 10:48

    Now that the tables have turned ...such an uprising?....would be good to know if any of you here ever carried the same equality sentiments during the apartheid era...Did any of you protest when your fellow man where turned away?.. Hope we could in the future make this an issue of truth, rather than white and black..Seems to be just a natural law of cause and effect in motion.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-09-06 11:01

      O please, cry me a river! The point you and all your like-minded bunny huggers are omitting, is the fact that the whites are keeping the lights on at the moment with them forming the tax base. In the apartheid times things were basically the same with us providing for the cretins without them lifting a finger. So when the masses that is now "libberated", stands up at the plate and shoulders the responsibility of supporting the country, we might no be so enraged! But kicking the same goose laying the golden eggs is just stupid and you should think before posting your ANC indoctrinated drivel!

      peter.bush.758 - 2012-09-06 11:06

      Listen fool, that was almost 20 years ago!! And secondly, as you are quick to point out, it was wrong then. So, if it was wrong then, why is it right now? Or are you saying those discriminatory practices were actually very good and wholesome, it was just doen by the wrong people? And, in your miopic view, certainly worth repeating now, only this time the right way around. And another thing: almost 76% of all whites voted Yes for a new dispensation, thereby clearly saying what happened was wrong and it should not be repeated. Yet, you think its was fine, it just should not have been done by whites to blacks, the other way around is just fine, though. Idiot!!

      Adil Smit - 2012-09-06 11:10

      We all voted for Apartheid to be removed - it's been replaced with discrimination against whites.

      RPV.AJM - 2012-09-09 09:18

      In actual fact ... we were many individuals asking for justice for EVERYONE - it had nothing to do with color - but equality; a good life and a safe place for everyone. The fact is, the bitterness and chips on the shoulder seem to have seriously clouded any logic and reason and once again - we're back to where it was but significantly more psychopathic.... We protested and stood the ground... but this leadership continues to perpetrate the same faults from the past ... Get some reason Nitin... where were you then... were you even born then... Injustice is injustice.. it has nothing to do with COLOR - but this leadership has continued to perpetrate the mistakes made in the past and played the color card.... come on!!!!! We voted for a free South Africa with the commitments of building a nation... not a bloodbath; not injustice; not hate; not violence... that was not what everyone stood for... get some truth and go and read the history.... 18 years down the line and the plot thickens.

  • konanani.rachicoper - 2012-09-06 10:51

    Here in pta i dont see any change.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-09-06 11:09

    Where else in the world does a private business actively discriminate against a large part of it's client base?

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-09-06 11:26

      Only in SA....dumb as mud!

  • neil.purves - 2012-09-06 11:40

    and when you share price delves the bottom of the barrel and your stores are no longer profitable, who will be the first out, the last in or the white person

  • Nitin - 2012-09-06 11:41

    Er if 75 76 percent stated it was wrong? didnt quite say so while it was goin on $&&* ASS.. the river is on your doorstep, hope u can swim

  • ingrid.oberholzer - 2012-09-06 12:02

    Funny how the majority of there shoppers are White. There range of cloths are inferior and ugly, not to mention the shoe range. There food is not all that fantastic. WAKE UP SOUTH AFRICA.

  • bennie.vanrooyen - 2012-09-06 12:25

    I am so sick and tired of this cANCer government. I never see whites in the lower end positions i.e. at the tills!! Where must our kids find work? BEE is killing us off. Let us now kill off companies that discriminate against whites.

  • bennie.vanrooyen - 2012-09-06 12:28

    What a shame this is!!

  • percy.vanzyl.1 - 2012-09-06 12:38

    Bla bla bla, it never ends! I think they are just being honest. They may change the wording, but their employment policy won't change. Most big companies have the same policies, they just don't say it on their websites.

  • neil.kroese - 2012-09-06 12:56

    I get the jokes etc being made about this Woolies boycott etc.......but I cannot help but wonder...Where are white kids suppose to go? Where are they suppose to find work? Espicially those who don't have the means (either financial or intellectual) to get a degree and become a professional or invent the iPod...Contrary to popular believe, not all whites are's never been the case...Surely this whole scenario is not sustainable...But here's the bitter irony...Corporates LOVE Affirmative action..why? Because they know generally non-whites tend to settle for a smaller salary than!!! Corporate South Africa! So you still wanna say it's a morally justifiable process?

  • WarrenBellRSA - 2012-09-06 13:16

    We all know WOOLWORTHS are RACISTS. They are also UNETHICAL ( Remember the court case they lost about FRANKIE'S GINGER Beer) So, basically, WOOLWORTHS is an UNETHICAL, RACIST organisation....end of story.

  • joel.ramdiyal - 2012-09-06 21:09

    Aaaah put a sock in it you all!!! Who cares about the demographics of their board bla bla bla.... they sell gr8 quality products and that is all i care about!!! So boohoo to you whiners! Get a freakin life!

  • jamiepamuk.brown - 2012-09-09 18:12

    MADE IN CHINA.....I can get it cheaper at any other store.Apart from the expensive clothes.Which I can get anywhere.It is still made in China.I used to love there food items.From R8000.00 per month to just about R200.00 .I can gladly say..... Woolworth's you can happily go jump on the back of OLIFANT....

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