Growing support for dismissed Shoprite workers

Picket outside Shoprite highlighting the exploitative conditions by the retailer. Photo by Mzi Velapi

The Shoprite workers dismissed from the Pelican Park Cente supermarket picketed outside the shopping centre in Cape Town on Friday. They have galvanized support from activists and community members, and have started a crowd funding initiative to sustain their struggle.

Pelican Park, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

The Shoprite workers dismissed from the Pelican Park Cente supermarket picketed outside the shopping centre in Cape Town on Friday, supported by activists and community members. The eight workers, all of them women, were dismissed in August for theft by accepting tips from customers. According to the workers, they were humiliated in front of customers as they were handcuffed for 4 hours before they were taken to the police station. One of the workers who they thought was just having a normal menstrual cycle was actually having a miscarriage due to the ordeal.

The workers held up posters that highlighted exploitation by the retail giant. It was not for long before management responded to the workers. A security guard approached the driver of the taxi that had transported the protestors and told him to take his minibus out of the parking area as taxis were not permitted.

A centre security guard approached the picket to have the taxi that was transporting protestors moved from the parking area. Photo by Mzi Velapi

Addressing the protestors, Faeza Meyer from the Housing Assembly, said that they support the workers because they are against exploitation and that the dismissed women workers have suffered already and need everyone’s support.

Earlier in the day, the workers appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court where the case was postponed til next month. The workers’ attorney, Mario Segal, asked for the charges to be dropped. Speaking on behalf of his clients,  he said that he will submit a letter to the chief prosecutor pleading that the charges  be dropped.

The contract workers were earning about R2,400 a month while Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson earned over R100-million in bonuses last year.

A crowdfunding initiative has been started for the dismissed workers. Please contribute!

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