Mar 30, 2011

UFCW Stands with South African Workers

Walmart's plans to expand in South Africa have hit another setback after the South African government’s Competition Tribunal ordered a hearing on the proposed merger with Massmart be pushed back for almost two months.

Wal-Mart is currently in the final stages of acquiring a 51 per cent stake in Massmart, whose operations run in Namibia and 13 other African countries. But workers in South Africa are concerned about the impact Walmart will have on their communities and their jobs.

Members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) and of its international ally UNI Global Union, of which the UFCW is a member, have been resisting the merger.

"Wal-Mart employs severe tactics to silence workers and keep them from having a voice on the job,” said UNI deputy general secretary Christy Hoffman. “It also uses its immense market share to make drastic cuts in its supply costs, often pitting local companies in a vicious race to the bottom to provide goods to Wal-Mart at the cheapest prices.”

“We don't want to see the 'Wal-Martisation' of South Africa like we have seen in the US, in Chile, in Argentina, in Mexico and in many other countries around the world,” affirmed head of UNI Commerce Alke Boessiger.

You can follow more news on the merger on the Walmart Watch blog,

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