Woolworths douses racial fires

Woolworths douses racial fires

2012-09-04 12:55

Cape Town - White workers at Woolworths Holdings [JSE:WHL] came to the retailer's defence on Tuesday, tweeting in their individual capacities that racist employment claims are “baseless” and “100% untrue”.

SA promo magazine reported on Monday that Woolworths was caught out for not wanting to hire any white staff.

The report referred to a blog posted on Sunday by Justin Harrison, in which he claimed the clothes and food retailer's advertising excluded whites in recruitment advertisements.

Harrison said in his blog he broke the story on social networks over the weekend, when Woolworths SA posted ads on its career site saying its jobs are open to African, coloured and Indian candidates only.

Harrison wrote in his follow-up blog that as a post-apartheid child, he is "neither politically motivated or (sic) inspired, however the increasing blatant racist economic policies that are very clearly exclusive of whites is starting to require a voice and some decisive action.

“Those whites who are still in South Africa stayed and signed up for a fully inclusive country, and just want to get on with it and build a South Africa that works for everyone.

"Woolworths SA is not alone in it’s (sic) policies, recent racist hiring policies events at SAA that also excludes whites highlights that government regulation has made it acceptable to exclude certain race groups under the guise of economic transformation,” he wrote.

The story sparked a small debate on Twitter, with Steve Hofmeyr tweeting: “Gonna be hard, but goodbye Woolies.”

Woolworths employee Denver Berman-Jacob tweeted rumours that Woolworths SA is not employing any white people is baseless and without merit. “I think I should know, I work here.”

Another worker and former Women24 editor Sam Wilson tweeted: “Guys, I’m white. I am currently interviewing white people. This @WOOLWORTHS_SA white racism thing because we comply with BEE? Weird.”

In another tweet Wilson said: "this just isn’t true”.

In several tweets Woolworth doused the racial fires, saying “the claims you’re hearing are completely untrue…. We can verify that it’s 100% untrue… We employ people of all races: black & white & every hue in between … Please RT” .
Harrison meanwhile claimed that Woolworths has since changed the advertisement “in a bid to cover up the blatant racist ads”.

Woolworths on Tuesday hit back, saying Over the past few days it has been accused of racist employment practices. “Woolworths strongly refutes these allegations.”

In a statement sent to Fin24, the retailer said the Employment Equity Act expects all South African companies with more than 50 employees “to plan our workforce by race, gender and disability.

"Our workforce is diverse and includes people of all races (white, black, coloured, Indian).”

Woolworths said that it has, like all South African companies, a role to play in transformation.

“For this reason, some positions (where there is under-representation) are (for) designated groups. The designated groups are Africans, coloureds, Indians, women and people with disability.

“It is not true that all positions are reserved for these designated groups. Woolworths employs people of all races.

“We appreciate the value diversity brings to our business and the need to contribute to levelling the playing fields for certain groups of South Africa's population. This is not a racist practice.”

Harrison wrote that Woolworths is clearly in a spin over how to deal with this issue, and they would do well to learn from South African Airways' mistake. The airline rejected applications by whites for its cadet pilot programme but lifted the ban.

Harrison called for a public apology and a “revert of hiring policies to be fully inclusive and based purely on experience and ability”.

Clint Masters tweeted: “This country thrives on racial feuds… black this, white that!”

 - Fin24

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  • charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-09-04 13:12

    It's just too easy to play the race card. People in this country need to grow up!

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 13:24

      Dead right - let's stop pulling out cards. I for one will stop flashing my white, racist debit card at Woolworths, before they give me a pencil test to see whether my white money will be accepted.

      bob.houston.3939 - 2012-09-04 13:25

      Woolworths is an American company, I don't think there are any race issues there.

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 13:31

      @Alicia - The problem with the Woolworths ads was that they were very specific. White women (like you, incidentally) are part of the designated groups, but Woolies made it explicit: Only blacks, Indians or coloureds. This is pure, unadulterated anti-white racism. During the Struggle, blacks boycotted racist businesses. Today, with racist companies like SAA and Woolworths, it is our turn to launch our own Struggle against corporate racism. I will NOT spend one cent more at Woolies.

      lorain.maseko - 2012-09-04 13:35

      Your loss jared,go shop at shoprite

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 13:37

      Exactly Lorain - I am not a snuffling pig at the trough of self-enrichment like a BEE parasite or tender fraudster, so I have to shop at Shoprite anyway. Right back at ya!

      zane.blignaut - 2012-09-04 13:38

      @ Bob Houston..... Ummmm no mate America is one of the worst when it comes to racism, they just don't let their dirty laundry become public. the Katrina disaster ?? America is the home of the hypocrite !!

      mzakes.matabata - 2012-09-04 13:40

      is woolies not white owned?

      nibiru.sekkiejorge - 2012-09-04 14:01

      @zane.blignaut Don't they have a Coloured President

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-09-04 14:24

      JaredVN - You need to take a chill pill,i saw the pic you posted and it clearly states : "THIS ROLE is designated for African Black candidate" This is one role out of many that Woolworth has to offer.You can not compare this to SAA's racist hiring policy.SAA refused all whites pilot woolworth reserved only a few positions for black candidates. I know you feel like your people are being overlooked but it is not always like that.You must also remember why the country is the way it is.The Africans did not start this intentionally,this was started by monsters of the past.Unfortunately the younger generation now has to try and balance the inequalities albeit sometimes in discriminatory ways. Without BEE there will be no Black Diamond,that is a fact.If the laws had not been made,the racist employers of the early 90s will not have emaployed black candidate.fact!This is simply a chain reaction of decisions made by some "genius" 50 years ago.You can not just expect the African to sit back and not try to climb the ladder of success.

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 14:27

      @omonaija - OK, would you like a little wager, say R10000, that, were a random company, say Shoprite, to publish an ad saying: "This role is for whites only", there would be a major international incident, with hysterically anguished screams of "racism!" all round? I am actually enjoying this sh.tstorm immensely, because it's going to be huge fun once whites start our own Struggle.

      colin.murphy.37604 - 2012-09-04 14:27

      Before you all think Woolies is in the clear, check this advert I wanted to apply for on gumtree... but I couldn't, because it clearly states "***This is an EE position therefore applicants should either be Coloured, Black or Indian"... http://durban.gumtree.co.za/c-Jobs-sales-marketing-Market-Data-Analyst-6-month-contract-R15k-R17k-W0QQAdIdZ406800899... BEE is supposed to give preference to previously disadvantaged people, not completely exclude a particular race... Apartheid never ended, it's just switched sides...

  • hallo.daar.56 - 2012-09-04 13:12

    So does this forum (thrive on racial fueds) what they don't know is they are actually the degenerate miniroty

      bob.houston.3939 - 2012-09-04 13:28

      Where there is smoke there is fire, friend.

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-09-04 13:41

      Where there are idiots, idiocy prevails.

  • sean.crookson - 2012-09-04 13:14

    If there was nothing wrong with the Woolworths ads, then why did they change them?

      CoollyX - 2012-09-04 13:22

      did they change the ad?

      UncleShep - 2012-09-04 13:29

      can u verify that?

      ebrahim.floris.7 - 2012-09-04 13:30

      It clearly offended a certain demographic,hence the change

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 13:32

      Here is the original, racist ad: http://www.justinharrison.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Woolworths-Careers-__-Advert-View-__-Divisional-Visual-Merchandise-Manager_-Marketing-Head-Office-_-Retail-__-Divisional-Visual-Merchandise-Manager_-Marketing-Head-Office-__-Western-Cape-__-Retail-1.jpg

      ebrahim.floris.7 - 2012-09-04 13:41

      They clearly have quotas to fulfill,if blame has to be cast...(I'm not saying it should),shouldnt it be at the quota system employed by government and not the Entity that is required to enforce it.

      deon.dixon.50 - 2012-09-04 13:52

      JAred, why is the offending bit in a different font size to the rest? Photoshop is your Friend.

      juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-09-04 13:57

      What kind of message does this send to a young white work seeker in South Africa, with his/her future in front of them? What should they do?

      jason.children - 2012-09-04 14:04

      The problem many fail to see is by having a go at government nothing will change, but if corporate South Africa start losing money they will quickly put pressure on Government!

  • customdesign - 2012-09-04 13:15

    Love their chickpea patties yum

      terence.hinrichsen - 2012-09-04 13:24

      Have you had their ready-made Butternut soup?? I love their soup!!

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 13:40

      Are chickpeas black enough? They seem a bit too pale for Woolworths...

      ebrahim.floris.7 - 2012-09-04 13:43

      I guess 7 people don't really dig the chickpea patties lol.

      customdesign - 2012-09-04 13:50

      The butternut soup is awesome

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 13:58

      Butternut soup is orange and Woolworths makes it clear it only wants black and brown...

      lauren.hess.1272 - 2012-09-04 14:56

      Their chicken and noodle and corn soup is SO good. Even if it is a little on the pale side.

  • darren.king.58118 - 2012-09-04 13:19

    they sell the best chocolate melkskommel

  • customdesign - 2012-09-04 13:22

    and their prawns in that pink sauce- mmm think I'll make a turn after work drooooooool

      ebrahim.floris.7 - 2012-09-04 13:44

      yeah and their toast isn't toasted enough!

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 13:46

      Whites are not really white but some of them have pink skin hues. Better act quickly - pink sauce will soon disappear from Woolracist's shelves...

  • zahirj - 2012-09-04 13:23

    I simply love their fresh fruit and vegetable range, they always seem to have avocados in stock whenever I need to prepare a fresh guacamole.

  • renny.meere - 2012-09-04 13:25

    I frequent 3 different Woolworth's around me & I can assure you there are no white people working there, trust me zero. I've also not seen any indians either, the majority by far where black & one or two coloureds. When is this racism gonna stop rearing its head. I live in the west rand, Johannesburg.

  • lynda.schenck - 2012-09-04 13:27

    I totally agree - my son applied for a job at Green Point (Cape Town) Woolowrths and was told they wont employ him becasue he is white

  • trevor.myburgh.12 - 2012-09-04 13:27

    I like the white milk and the chocolate brownies, and talk about them dark black Berrie pies, yummy. have to go on another diet soon. you say they change the add what add

  • denis.delaport - 2012-09-04 13:28

    They say it, but i dont see it.

  • gideon.nel - 2012-09-04 13:28

    How long is this transformation going to take another 20 years. keep on living in the past, grow up.

  • bongani.nsele.58 - 2012-09-04 13:28

    lying is natural with some people, lie not and admit that you are merely reacting to the laws of nature that looks after self first, then it's own kind second, otherwise how does one explain the racial demographics at head office and by the way this is not a problem in itself, all we say the truth must be told.....stop lying we know what is going on

  • bizarro.jerri - 2012-09-04 13:32

    as long as they keep making good sandwiches, who cares?

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-09-04 13:37

      With white bread?

  • bendkoker - 2012-09-04 13:35

    All very well to play a role in transformation but it has become common practice by big business to ride the wave of Constitutional Racism along with the racist ANC government. http://ow.ly/drDUr

  • breinlekkasie.dodelikegif - 2012-09-04 13:35

    Thank God I have brains so I don't have to rely on my skin colour.

      dave.nutter.75 - 2012-09-04 14:04

      and you do not have to buy from them either

  • khathu.rasi - 2012-09-04 13:36

    Its all about race cards week in and out, whenever there is sumthing involving black and white, Now the whites are playing those cards too no difference

  • mattewis.kat - 2012-09-04 13:39

    All I know is that you can walk into any Woolworths branch in Gauteng, and you will not see a single white face on the floor - and I mean literally! The issue with the whole racial affair, is that you cannot legislate racial distribution ratios into the workplace (like the ANC does, and like the previous lot did as well). Lowering the bar for university entry for medical school to get more black doctors for example, should be a rather obvious EPIC FAIL to even the common-sense-impaired! The only way to remove "RACE" out of the feud, is to remove any form of it from all forms of legislation. BEE should have been EEE, full stop!

  • Paul - 2012-09-04 13:39

    I don't shop at Woolworths.they are ripping gullible customers blind and laughing all the way to the bank. R70+ for some skinny chicken kebabs- no thanks. I get the same stuff elsewhere at less than half the price. Don't be fooled: it's fancy marketing and Marks and Spencer's packaging and is the same products as their main competitors. PS: Woolworths cashiers- put a smile on your dial when dealing with customers, they pay your salaries!

      customdesign - 2012-09-04 13:53

      No, their stuff is generally better.

  • theresa.pickering.1 - 2012-09-04 13:45

    Oh boy I have to agree with Steve Hofmeyer. Its gonna be hard especially considering I spend at least 10k per month at WW on clothes and food. But if they are racist when employing whites then goodbye WW. Gonna miss u but what's right is right. My WHITE money is obviously not good enough !

  • John Peter Steyn - 2012-09-04 13:46

    They take white people's money but won't employ any whites. I'll not shop there ever again! Boycot the racists!

      rock.jason.52 - 2012-09-04 14:04

      You can go and shop at shooprite,Cash n carry as well Usave it'll help you save money... You can also shop at boer butchery...

      violet.bossut - 2012-09-04 14:59

      rock.jason.52 at least if you shop at a boer butchery they do not rip you off or give you crap for meat. You mind your words and don't hide a pseudonym

  • victoria.bell.39 - 2012-09-04 13:48

    SAA said the same

  • dawiebester - 2012-09-04 13:52

    Here's the official Boycot page http://www.facebook.com/boycott.race.recruiting

  • victoria.bell.39 - 2012-09-04 13:52

    Wonder how much they paid the "white people" to tweet. Tata Woolies

  • customdesign - 2012-09-04 13:55

    I think some people are cutting off their noses to spite their facers, I don't think they are being racist, but either way I don't really care. Their food is really good and I like buying there.

  • graham.dutoit.12 - 2012-09-04 13:56

    Just been to Wolies - Galleria - Amanzimtoti - made a point of looking for white staff - none! Visited Builders Express at Arbour Crossing and was served by a white lady working the till. Woolies - you have a problem! I must however concede that I have never had poor service at Woolies - P & P however is a different issue when it comes to pathetic service.

  • zybt99 - 2012-09-04 13:58

    White South Africans are always in such a rush to cry racism you have to wonder if they are trying to justify the past. Transformation has not been around for 18 years. If you believe that then you are an idiot. Woolies has a growing pie in the black middle class which is why they would want to hire more black people (this would not be needed if white South Africans did not consider African languages as only being useful in Leon Schuster movies). As much as some peoples egos would want them to think Woolies depends on \white money\ it does not. It depends on plain money.

      JaredVN - 2012-09-04 14:05

      No problem - it's your prerogative to shop where you want to. Just like it's mine to boycott RACIST companies like SAA and Woolies.

  • david.appleby.372 - 2012-09-04 14:00

    One comment states Woolworths is an American company I always believed it was British in fact owned by Marks and Spencers in the UK, anyhow whatever colour people are work should be given on merit nothing to do with colour of the skin, well that is my view anyway.

  • Nhlanhla Zondi - 2012-09-04 14:03

    I pray for the day when people will stop seeing the other person as black or white but as human beings. To be honest you don't gain anything for being racist and it doesn't make you superior

      anette.smith.16 - 2012-09-04 14:18

      Could not have said it better!!

  • dave.nutter.75 - 2012-09-04 14:06

    Very simple. Do not buy from them again. Like SAA, do not us their sevices and any other company ho has the same policy

  • mandy.muller.7568596 - 2012-09-04 14:08

    I was a daily shopper but have now changed to Spar - Goodbye Woolies its tough but we gonna get bye!!

      cara.puterman - 2012-09-04 14:12

      Well said Im with you all the way!!! Goodbye Woolworths and Good Riddance to Chuckles, just in time for summer!!

      mwmiriam - 2012-09-04 14:14

      Lucky I havn't taken the tags off all the clothes I bought yesterday - I will be returning the lot!!!

  • tony.kirby1 - 2012-09-04 14:08

    It is no use complaining about Woolies. They never ever listen to their customers. They have their ideas and stick to them, wether the customers likes it or not. Just go to HelloPeter and see how many complaints there are regarding Woolies and look at their replies. Shocking, what has happened to that company.

  • dwaine.devilliers - 2012-09-04 14:10

    Imagine buying from woolworths for 20 years plus then having your son or daughter with all the right qualifications turned away based on race, is that not racism?

      jacques.theyse - 2012-09-04 14:54

      My thoughts exactly Dwaine ..

  • eddie.beavis - 2012-09-04 14:11

    If, as they say, it is all about quota's, then they must publish their figures to show that the white part of the quota is full and be prepared to stand by those figures if they get sued.

  • domonique2 - 2012-09-04 14:11

    woolworths is british not "american", they dont own everything. as for the article, can everyone please start looking past colour and hire staff(of any color) who can and acutally want to work, the service levels at retail stores are ridiculous.its like there's a compition for the most sarcastic remark at their customer service desk

  • ronnie.duplessis.7 - 2012-09-04 14:11

    The whites that work at Woolies are tweeting because they are obviously scared that profits will fall when customers start shopping somewhere else and we all know what happens next” JOB loses” . They will then be replaced by guess who!!!

  • donovan.hendricks.7 - 2012-09-04 14:16

    Hate them or love them,exclude them or include them,hats off to my white countrymen cos they always seem to make things happen and not only for themselves but for everyone else,people of races other than white are quick to criticize if they feel they are being discriminated by white superiors in the workplace,but put those same people in charge and you will see how they degrade and opress their own people.I salute my fellow white countrymen for being positive and for contributing positively to our beloved country even though you are not always appreciated.

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-09-04 14:22

    What is the color of MONEY? Money has no racial barriers.

  • STEPHANIE.TEALE - 2012-09-04 14:25

    I think their ad said it all!! I am definitely going to think hard about shopping there in future!!

  • mandla.thwala.10 - 2012-09-04 14:31

    It good when peaple are raising their concerns,as one wise man once said there is no smoke without fire

  • paul.myers.984 - 2012-09-04 14:37

    Woollies is a gr8 employer, across all lines. And why not employ the best person for the job. Harrison seems to be a commie troublemaker!

  • roy.wadhams.1 - 2012-09-04 14:43

    Go to any Woolworth shop and see how many whites are working there in comparison to blacks and coloureds. Of course this is true that whites find it hard to get work because South Africa has become a racist country once again. Top management would deny this because they MUST hold onto their positions and salaries. I closed my family's account at both Woolies & Edgars for this reason and because when you walk into these stores as a white person you are overlooked while these people carry on with their conversations,at the TOP of their voices.

  • alf.jarman - 2012-09-04 14:44

    They are not the only Company doing that. I have been looking for a job and was phoned by a company who made an appointment to interview me, only to be phoned back and told sorry we cannot see you as you are WHITE. How disgusting

  • alf.jarman - 2012-09-04 14:44

    They are not the only Company doing that. I have been looking for a job and was phoned by a company who made an appointment to interview me, only to be phoned back and told sorry we cannot see you as you are WH ITE. How disgusting

  • riotousr - 2012-09-04 14:57

    Racists. That is a word that comes ouyt when people's vocabulary goes low. Shallow South Africans of all ethnic groups turn to the word when their vocabulary pond goes shalow. Racist.

  • willem.dylan - 2012-09-04 15:12

    Read through all the comments. Simply can’t believe some comments that was made i wonder what some white employees will say the day when they are the one's seeking employment and all the retailers turn their back on them??? so for me also buy buy no more woollies helo foodco.

  • willem.dylan - 2012-09-04 15:32

    @Rock jason lol boer butchery is called maders slaghuis and has great meat and friendly service and damm good sausage rolls...hehhee

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