Protests as Pick n Pay closes

“These people do not care about us. We heard rumours that the store might close and when we asked we were told that our jobs were safe,” Melda Jantjies said. Pick n Pay spokesman Tamra Veley said the staff were not employees of Pick n Pay but of the franchisee. “We decided to terminate the franchise agreement because we found it was no longer economically viable.”

The Herald
November 24, 2010

Protests as Pick n Pay closes
Lee-Anne Butler

Pick_n_Pay.jpg

RAW DEAL … Pick n Pay employees protest inside the store yesterday. Picture: JUDY DE VEGA

EMPLOYEES at Pick n Pay in Heugh Road, Walmer, Port Elizabeth, face a bleak Christmas after they were told yesterday the store was closing immediately.

The 88 workers at the store, situated at the Times Square Shopping Centre, said they were devastated to find out they would all be losing their jobs a month before Christmas.

Many of the workers have been at the store since it opened six years ago. They said they had reported for work as usual yesterday morning but, after trading for two hours, an announcement was made that the store would be closing shortly for a routine stock take.

“But after they closed the doors, we were told the store would be closing down and they were going to pack up all the stock,” employee Pam Mlahleki said.

She said she was desperate for answers, because she needed her job to care for herself and her child.

“I do not know how I am going to go home and tell my child that I do not have a job anymore. I do not know what I am going to do,” she said.

Angry staff members yesterday refused to leave the store after receiving the news and immediately called representatives of the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) to negotiate with management.

For the rest of the day, management and union members were engaged in heated discussions in the store while staff members stood around and sang and chanted for several hours.

At 3pm they were still in the store, refusing to leave until they received answers.

“These people do not care about us. We heard rumours that the store might close and when we asked we were told that our jobs were safe,” Melda Jantjies said.

Pick n Pay spokesman Tamra Veley said the staff were not employees of Pick n Pay but of the franchisee.

“We decided to terminate the franchise agreement because we found it was no longer economically viable.”

Veley said head office would collect the remaining stock in the store, after which it would be closed.

Saccawu representative Lee Modiga said last night: “They cannot just close the store without any notice given to the staff.”

He said he would be discussing the matter with the union’s lawyers.

The franchise owner could not be reached for comment.

http://www.epherald.co.za/article.aspx?id=630088


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