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Choppies May Fire More

INNOCENT SELATLHWA
Choppies Hyper West Gate
Retail giant Choppies may fire 15 more employees pending disciplinary hearings slated for tommorrow. The employees were part of a group that downed tools in March and 40 of them were subsequently dismissed from work.

The disgruntled Choppies employees at Wesgate Mall went on strike in protest against poor welfare and conditions of service. Botswana Commercial and General Workers Union organising secretary Kgopolo Tshikare said they were shocked that the employees were not fired immediately after the strike. He vowed they would take Choppies to task. “It is surprising that they did not fire the employees immediately after the strike. They have now suspended them pending disciplinary hearing. It’s not how things are supposed to be done and we will not just sit back,” he said.

Choppies Chief Executive Officer, Ramachandran Ottapathu however told The Monitor that he was not aware of the developments.

Tshikare said the dismissed employees have appealed and they are awaiting a response. “If they do not reinstate them, we will take the matter to the Labour Department. We believe we have a strong case as they had initially allowed their employees back

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to work.” The employees complained, amongst other things, about long working hours, unpaid overtime, unclear procedures of calculating time worked, and refusal by the store management to give workers their signed contracts or employment cards.

The employees chanted songs of protest outside the shop and served their employers with a letter demanding improved wages and working conditions. Following the strike, Choppies management issued a press release in which they condemned the action of the workers and stated that they were operating within the laws of Botswana.

Just last month, South Africa’s Food and Allied Workers Union members went on strike at Choppies supermarkets in five provinces across that country in pursuit of wage demands for the bargaining period of the 2018/19 financial year.

The workers demanded a R4,000 monthly minimum wage or 10% increment, whichever is greater, rationalisation of hours of work to 40 a week and a 13th cheque.



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