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Last updated: 29 October 2018

FAWU Calls For An End To Victimisation of Merchandisers

The Food and Allied Workers` Union (F.A.W.U.) strongly condemns all incidents of verbal and physical assault of merchandisers by employees of various retailers in South Africa. Incidents in which vulnerable workers such as merchandisers, are frequently abused on the premises of popular retailers are on the increase and it is our obligation to expose these violent acts.

These horrendous incidents often take place at the back of stores in warehouses away from the general public and these poor workers are more often than not , too afraid to speak out against the perpetrators in fear of retaliation by persons who occupy senior positions at these stores.

When these victims do manage to come forward, FAWU has to struggle, even in light of clear evidence, to get the retailers to act against the perpetrators who happen to be employees and is subject to a certain code of conduct while in the work place. A recent case in point is a video of a Shoprite employee abusing a younger merchandiser in Port Shepstone. In many cases, the victims are young people desperate for employment who are willing to tolerate abusive supervisors just so that they can continue earning a lowly wage and supporting their families. It is morally reprehensible that these employees feel the need to abuse their seniority to intimidate merchandisers who are simply busy handling stock that need to go into shelves.

FAWU is making it our personal mission to name and shame all employers who do not act against the perpetrators despite the existence of clear evidence. This kind of abusive behaviour cannot be tolerated in our societies and should not be allowed to go unchallenged. FAWU will hold retailers accountable as they will be complicit in allowing it to flourish if they cannot bring the guilty parties to the book.

Thus far we assisted the various workers to lay charges against these perpetrators and will continue to expose them until the management of these retailers starts acting responsibly and enforce disciplinary procedures. The onus is on these companies to create a safe space for all employees, irrespective of third party employers so that they can continue their work free from fear and victimisation.

Released by FAWU Media Liaison Officer, Dominique Martin- 083 498 5631