The Labour Relations Act of South Africa, in Section 21, allows for the formation, joining and recognition of a trade union to represent the interests and aspirations of workers in the place of employment. That includes every store, distribution centre and workplace run by DISCHEM.
The denial of bonuses last December for those workers who have joined NUPSAW amounts to a gross violation of human and worker rights.
The behaviour of Dis-Chem Management in barring the union representatives from entering the workplace and barring the union from talking to workers or recruiting them as members is unacceptable.
NUPSAW representatives have the backing of the law to access the workplace, to recruit workers in the employ of DISCHEM, to seek recognition from management (and be granted such in accordance with stipulations in the legislation), to send union representatives to advance the interests of workers and members of the union to be granted all the benefits accruing to them as members.
Gross earnings for DISCHEM have been on the increase, particularly in the past three years (since 2014) indicating an aggregate 19% turnover in the period. Last year alone, the company made a 14.7% turnover increase, resulting in its financial capital amounting to R17.3 billion (about US$ 1,515 billion) and operating profit of about R1.3 billion (about US$ 87 million), indicating a 24.3% increase in 2017. It boasts of 108 stores nationwide, and fully acquired ownership of CJ Pharmaceutical Distribution in 2016; it also operates in Namibia. Such a vast amount of resources, however, is dwarfed by their anti-union attitude and conduct, which is regrettable.
Over the 2,500 casual workers that the company employs, NUSPAW has laid itself the challenge of changing the employment relation of these workers, whilst also ensuring that the working conditions of the 11,000 ‘permanent employees’ DISCHEM mentions in its Annual Integrated Report of 2017 are improved for the better.
However, the conduct of the management of the company seems to suggest that all these ‘achievements’ they parade are due to their benevolence, and not in accordance with the law in South Africa.
NUPSAW’s demands the following:
a. DISCHEM should recognise the union in all its stores and places of work nationwide.
b. DISCHEM should sign and fully abide by the Recognition Agreement that will culminate out of the deliberations as guided by the stipulated thresholds of workers belonging to the union.
c. DISCHEM should remain open to discussions with NUPSAW on the need for a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to govern such a relationship.
NUPSAW, commits to ensuring that in 2018 the rights of workers are not only protected but respected and promoted in every workplace, store, public service department and communities for a better life for all!
For an Interview / For more information:
Solly Malema, NUPSAW National Organiser
Cell 082 323 2958
Thariza Steyn, Media Officer
Cell 082 455 2215