Clothing union declares national wage dispute against Pep Stores | Fin24
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Clothing union declares national wage dispute against Pep Stores

Jul 25 2018 21:50
Carin Smith

The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union has declared a national wage dispute against Pep Stores, SACTWU announced on Wednesday afternoon.

The union said the dispute followed a negotiating deadlock which arose after the second round of wage negotiations held on June 28 and 29 in Johannesburg.

A conciliation session between the disputing parties was subsequently held under the guidance of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration in Cape Town on July 18.

When the deadlock arose, the company was offering a 5.5% wage increase. The union was demanding a 13% increase or R800 more per month increase, whichever is greater.

SACTWU is also demanding improvements in conditions of employment, including better long service awards and improvements to study leave provisions.

At the July 18 conciliation session, Pep amended its offer from 5.5% to a 7.5% wage increase. It also offered to increase its long service cash awards by 15%, and offered to extend study leave by one additional paid day.

Currently long service allowances are cash payments of R750 per annum for full-time employees with 10 years’ service, and R1 050 per annum for workers with 15 years’ service. Study leave is currently 14 days per annum.

"We have rejected the company's revised offer but have nevertheless undertaken to inform our members of the company’s new offer," SACTWU said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We have also now revised our deadlocked demands to the following: an across the board wage increase of 8%, long service awards to increase by 15% with effect from January 2019 for all categories of employees, one additional paid study day and an incentive bonus to include bill payments, as well as back-pay. Increases were due with effect from 1 July 2018.

"Conciliation has been adjourned to August 20 for us to report the current status of the negotiations back to our members.

"We sincerely hope that a settlement can be reached during the next round of conciliation to avoid what could be very damaging strike action," said SACTWU.

Just over 7 000 Pep Stores workers are covered by these negotiations.

SACTWU said it was joined in this dispute by, among others, fellow Congress of South African Trade Unions affiliate the South Africa Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu).

Jaap Hamman, managing director of Pep SA, confirmed to Fin24 that Pep Stores SA was currently in wage negotiations with SACTWU, following a dispute lodged by the union at the CCMA.
"We have a long-standing, robust relationship with SACTWU and are confident that a positive resolution will be reached at the next round of conciliation on August 20, 2018," said Hamman.

In the meantime, SACTWU said the national wage strike in the footwear sector had entered its 13th day on Wednesday, "with no end in sight".

The strike is being jointly led by SACTWU and the National Union of Leather & Allied Workers (NULAW). The strike commenced on July 9, after the two unions, on behalf of their members, rejected the employers’ final increase offer of 6.25%.  

"We want a better wage increase, as well as improved family responsibility leave provisions for workers," SACTWU said in a statement.

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pepkor  |  sactwu  |  labour  |  strike action  |  retail


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