The statement comes after media reports, styled as an expose, revealed that the US based United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW) contributed about R3.1 million in legal fees to help Saccawu’s course against Walmart.
Saccawau had together with three SA government departments challenged Walmart’s takeover of local retail operation Massmart in a R16.5 billion rands deal. The opposition was escalated to the Competition Appeals Court after the merger had been approved by the competition tribunal and the commission.
Saccawu said “It is incorrect to suggest that the UFCW ‘used SACCAWU to further its mandate abroad or as Mr. Leroni Massmart spokesman claim that the UFCW was taking advantage of the favourable industrial relations environment in SA to advance their agenda in partnership with local unions”.
“Walmart is a global company, the biggest in the world with the largest workforce, bar the Chinese army.
Walmart operates in numerous countries and has consistently demonstrated to have negative effects on local economies and on workers and workers rights, not only within their employ but also that of competitors as well as those of workers employed by their suppliers,” said Saccawu.
“Thus the interests of workers employed by Walmart in the US, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa or any other country in the world are the same and such was the approach of SACCAWU to Walmart entering the South African market”.
The agenda advanced by SACCAWU and supported by a global coalition is that of workers employed by Walmart in South Africa but based on the consequences of allowing Walmart entry into new markets without stringent conditions and this is amply demonstrated from international experience. “Our position thus was both about local concerns, but also about Walmart’s global track record,” said Saccawu.
“In the case of Walmart enterning South Africa, it is precisely from sister unions and workers experiences elsewhere in the world that we turned for solidarity and received this not only from the UFCW but from others as well.
Our relatinship with UFCW as well as other UNI affiliates dates back to the time of our struggle against Apartheid and most clearly illustrated by the refusal of Irish workers to handle Apartheid South African goods. This was a campaign was led by a UNI Global Union affiliate”.