SG Convenience employees strike, call for equal pay



Published May 24, 2024


Durban — Disgruntled employees of distribution company Super Group Convenience (SG Convenience) are protesting as they call for a 15% salary increase and a better working environment, on North Coast Road in Mount Edgecombe.

About 600 employees across the country have been protesting since Monday. The branches include Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Nelspruit and Durban.

Workers said that they had been raising the issues with the employer over the years to no avail and that the management also did not recognise any union that they had found to represent them.

Mashudu Raphetha, the general secretary of the Dynamic People’s Union of South Africa (Dypusa) said that the employer did not want to increase workers’ salaries by 15% and did not recognise their union.

“Should the strike continue the business will come to a halt and our customers will be affected as they won’t get their normal deliveries. SG Convenience is the only Super Group that deals with providing retail goods, hence their staff is not earning industry-standard salaries.”

Raphetha said that their demands included a danger allowance of R500, a 13th cheque every November, and an end to forcing workers to work abnormal hours.

One employee, Mandisa Modise, who works as a debrief controller, said she was the breadwinner at home and her salary did not meet her needs.

“My situation is bad because I have two young children and because of the working hours, I have a helper that watches them when I am at work. There is no set time for leaving work. I leave when the truck returns to the premises and that is sometimes very late into the night,” she said.

Modise said workers did not receive proper personal protective equipment and they were not treated equally or earn the same money for the same positions.

Another employee, Sabelo Hlongwane, who is a reach truck driver/ forklift (freezer), said that he earned R31 an hour with no freezer allowance.

“There are a lot of challenges in our working environment, including unfair treatment and unequal pay. They also do not pay us according to the industry standard that says that there should be a freezer allowance for those that work with the freezer,” he said.

Another employee, Marvin Khumalo, who is a truck driver, said drivers faced tough working conditions while on the road.

“We have to sleep inside the trucks along with our crewmen while working long distances. We have no meal or sleeping allowances. We also have to work as part of the crew at no extra pay,” said Khumalo.

In response to the strike action, Wayne Samson, the Super Group Convenience CEO, wrote to employees: “The company gives notice of its intention to lock the Dypusa members with immediate effect from Thursday, May 23, at 10am, until such time as the Dypusa will only be afforded collective bargaining rights when Dypusa represents 50% plus one employees across all the Super Group Trading (Pty) Ltd’s division/operations and that Dypusa will only be granted Section 12 and 14 organisational rights when Dypusa represents 30% plus one of employers across all of Super Group Trading (Pty) Ltd’s divisions/operations. Please note that during the lockout the no work no pay principle applies.”

When the Daily News contacted Durban Depot Manager Heskias de Klerk, he declined to comment.

He also did not respond to a written request for comment by the time of publication.

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