“Walmart effect” in South Africa as Pick n Pay supermarket to cut over 3000 jobs
Jul 11th 2011, 08:49
8 July 2011 - Nyon, Switzerland: UNI Global Union said today that the announcement from South African supermarket chain Pick n Pay that it plans to cut about 3137 jobs from its workforce is a clear sign of the “Walmart effect” it believes the world’s biggest retailer will have on South Africa as it prepares to enter the country.
“This is just the beginning,” said UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings. “The threat of Walmart in the market may lead to more retailers cutting jobs or slashing pay and conditions in the hopes of competing with the retail giant. We believe that Walmart’s buy of Massmart is going to come at too high a cost for South Africa.”
Pick n Pay workers are represented by the South Africa Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU).
UNI is working with SACCAWU, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) of North America, and other commerce unions around the world in a global alliance to protect worker and union rights at Walmart.
The global alliance contested Walmart’s purchase of 51 percent of local retailer Massmart due to concerns about what Walmartisation might do to the South African economy and South African workers. The South African Competition Tribunal ruled that the deal could only go through if Walmart met certain conditions, including rehiring retrenched workers, maintaining staff levels and honouring labour agreements.
SACCAWU and South African trade union centre COSATU are still considering their options for appealing the approval.
“The effects of Walmart on South Africa will be far reaching and no one knows how big the impact will be,” Jennings said. “We will work with unions in South Africa to fight for measures that protect workers, consumers and local businesses.”
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