Retailing group Pick ‘n Pay has come under attack from the biggest union in its sector for not following other retailers who have announced that they will not be trading on Sunday to allow employees to honour and observe Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
In a statement released yesterday Pick ‘n Pay said it will trade on Sunday but will allocate profits of that day to charity in honour of former President Mandela. The company said it made the decision after consultation with staff.
However the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union Saccawu characterised Pick ‘n Pay gesture as disappointing.
The union said it was “outraged and disappointed in the decision by Pick ‘n Pay not to close for trading in honour of President Nelson Mandela on Sunday 15th December 2013 as the whole nation and the world will pay respect as President Nelson Mandela is laid to rest in his final resting place.”
Saccawu added that “We wish to put on record that the Company did not communicate with the union in their so-called discussions where this decision was made. It is sad that on the day when all want to honour president Nelson Mandela, Pick ‘n Pay have opted to reduce the celebration and honouring of his life to celebrating profit.”
If they really wanted to honour the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela to donate the profits of one day to charitable causes honouring him, why not Saturday? In taking this decision what they actually do is to deprive workers to honour him, but rather get them to work. In this decision, they telling people to shop instead of honouring in the way that the rest of the country is doing.”
To reduce the honouring of the life and legacy of President Nelson Mandela to consumerism we find cheap and distasteful means of marketing the Company and instead of honouring President Nelson Mandela, we see it as besmirching his image and his legacy.”
We call on Pick ‘n Pay and other retailers who might want to consider a similar stance not to do so, but rather to do the right thing, close all operations for the day and to join us and the rest of the world in accompanying him to his last and final resting place, not disturbed by the noise of cash registers/tills, noisy shoppers and the exchanging of money and goods.”