Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
6 Dec 2021
4:51 pm

Massmart strike ends as wage agreement reached

Narissa Subramoney

Saccawu staff members will receive an across the board increase of R400, or 4.5 % which is greater as of 1 June 2022.

After more than a month of negotiations and protest action, the Massmart strike has finally ended, with employees represented by the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) reaching a wage agreement with their employer.

According to the agreement, Saccawu staff members will receive an across the board increase of R400, or 4.5 % dependent on which is greater, as of 1 June 2022.

South Africa’s Massmart Holdings will also reimburse staff that are owed back pay during the December payroll.

The agreement represents a full and final settlement of all issues arising out of wage disputes between the date of the signed contract and 30 June 2022.

“Neither party shall be able to strike or institute lockout action to any other matter relating to wages,” reads the wage settlement.

Massmart spokesperson Brian Leroni confirmed that an agreement to end the strike had been reached and the dispute against Game, Makro and the wider group, have been permanently withdrawn.

“This has been a challenging time for all and we are really pleased that the decision to end the strike will enable participating Sacawu members to return to work. In fact, many of those members have started doing just that,” said Leroni.

Massmart has also agreed to reinstate as many Game employees as possible, after several were given notice during the company’s restructuring process at the beginning of this year.

“You will recall that the offer to re-employ retrenched employees where we can identify alternative positions in the broader Massmart group has always been on the table,” said Leroni.

He said the reinstatement of Game staff was part of the original retrenchment process.

Saccawu had, however, advised their members to not apply for alternative positions identified in the broader Massmart group.

The Labour Court subsequently ruled against the union, saying the advice Saccawu provided Game employees was “treacherous and dishonest beyond measure”. 

Game employees’ reinstatement comes with conditions – for example, staff will not receive any back pay. However, staff who opted to receive their voluntary severance package don’t qualify for reinstatement.

Employees will also not hold the same positions as before the restructuring process. Instead, they will be offered roles that match their skills and experience.

Saccawu also agreed to be flexible concerning the skills mapping principles, which guide employers to hire staff that live within a 50km radius. Massmart will not provide extra pay for transport costs as part of the flexibility agreement.