Release Date: 2005/10/07
Cape Town – Retail chain Clicks was trading out of all its 290 stores across the country today, despite a strike called by trade union SACCAWU after the parties failed to reach agreement on the annual wage increase.
Clicks has offered a wage increase of R225 per month to its staff within the bargaining unit, which is an increase of 8,8% over last year and well above the current inflation rate of 4,9%. SACCAWU has so far rejected the offer.
Michael Harvey, brand leader of Clicks, said it was unfortunate that the union has chosen to go on strike after five months of wage negotiations. He said Clicks believes the offer is fair and reasonable in the current environment.
The bargaining unit consists of 3 271 members, including 1 655 SACCAWU members. All permanent employees of Clicks also participate in a bonus scheme which is based on the performance of the individual store.
“We would like to apologise to our valued customers for any inconvenience that may have been caused by the strike, and give the assurance that we are doing everything possible to minimise disruption in our stores.”
Harvey said the primary focus for Clicks was to ensure that its stores remained open and fully stocked to provide an uninterrupted service to its customers. “In order to achieve this, Clicks has trained and deployed contract workers and extra security has been arranged to ensure the safety of Clicks customers and staff in its stores throughout the country.”
He estimated that 70% to 80% of staff within the bargaining unit in Gauteng had stayed away from work today, while the number of staff off work in the coastal regions was about 50%.
Clicks reports sporadic labour incidents at about 25 of its stores, which has resulted in these stores being closed for short periods during the day. These stores are mainly in Gauteng. No damage to property has been reported.
Six union members were arrested by the SA Police Services earlier today after an incident at the Clicks distribution centre in Centurion where deliveries were interrupted and a security guard assaulted.
The three Clicks distribution centres in Centurion, Durban and Cape Town are operating normally and continuing with deliveries to stores across the country.
Harvey said it was too early to determine any financial impact on Clicks as a result of the strike.
The parties have not been able to agree on strike rules and this has been referred to the CCMA who are expected to rule today. The main area of disagreement is that the union wants access to company premises for the striking workers while Clicks would like to keep its stores free of striking workers in order not to affect customers. In the interim, the parties will adopt the code of good practice contained in the Labour Relations Act.
The company has adopted a strict policy of “no work, no pay” towards staff during any strike action.
The strike only involves staff of Clicks and does not affect the other brands in the New Clicks stable, such as Discom, Musica and The Body Shop. The strike does not affect the professional pharmacy staff of Clicks.
Issued by Tier 1 Investor Relations on behalf of the Clicks Group
For further information kindly contact
Graeme Lillie, Tier 1 Investor Relations 021 702 3102 / 082 468 1507