Midrand, 18 November 2018: Following the industrial action initiated by the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW), and which has involved only a small percentage of employees, Dis-Chem stores around the country operated as normal throughout the weekend.
Although NUPSAW declared a national strike on Friday, approx. 300 workers from Dis-Chem’s Midrand Distribution Centre were demonstrating on the day. The protest petered out after a few hours and things have remained quiet since.
The Mall of Africa in Midrand and Canal Walk in Cape Town, where Dis-Chem stores are located, experienced disruptions for about two hours. A small roving group comprising mostly non-Dis-Chem employees picketed at a handful of stores in Cape Town for a short period. There were also minor protests in Sandton City.
To ensure shopper safety, additional security is in place at the shopping centres where Dis-Chem has a presence and calm was restored in all cases. “We apologise to our customers and fellow traders for the inconvenience they experienced,” said Dis-Chem spokesperson Caryn Barker.
No incidents have been reported in the rest of the country. “The majority of Dis-Chem employees have no appetite for the industrial action. Unfortunately, some have had to stay away from work due to intimidation,” added Barker.
At the beginning of the strike, less than 14% of Dis-Chem employees were registered as NUPSAW members. Dis-Chem stands firm in its policy that it will not negotiate with the union unless it has at least 30% representation among employees.
The union’s demands include a minimum wage of R12,500 across the board, an annual increase of 12,5% (guaranteed for the next three years) for those earning above that amount and a guaranteed annual bonus.