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City store closed due to Covid

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Union accuses business of not adhering to Covid-19 employment regulations.

Customers queue outside Game on Thursday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

GAME in Kimberley closed its doors to business on Thursday following complaints by the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) that the store does not adhere to Covid-19 employment regulations.

According to the provincial spokesperson of Saccawu, Anthony Kgobi, management at the store in the North Cape Mall had allegedly intimidated employees by threatening not to pay them should they not report for duty, despite one of the managers apparently testing positive for Covid-19.

“One of the managers tested positive for Covid-19. The news about the positive case was reported to employees and other managers on Wednesday, May 19, at about 6pm. The manager is currently in quarantine. The store has had four Covid-19 cases within 20 days. Despite knowing this, management still required employees to continue with business. It cannot be accepted that a store is willing to put the lives of its employees, as well as the public, at risk merely for making profit,” said Kgobi.

“The management at the store told employees that should they not report for work then they will not be paid. They said that the ‘no work, no pay’ policy will be implemented. Employees are now forced to work even though they know that they run the risk of contracting the virus.”

Employees refused to enter Game on Thursday due to fears over Covid-19. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Kgobi also claimed that the store was not disinfected properly after they raised the matter with management.

“There was a person who apparently went to disinfect the store. However, that person was not wearing any protective clothing. Also, they were in the store for about 20 minutes and the entire disinfection process was said to be over. We did not believe that the entire store could be disinfected in such a short period of time.”

He claimed further that the provincial Department of Labour instructed management to close the store and also hit the business with a penalty.

“We had a meeting with management and the Labour Department. We were informed that the store had a health and safety committee, however, the union is not part of that committee. The committee is also not covering all regulations and Covid-19 protocols as required by labour. The Labour Department said the committee must be re-established within 16-days and the union must be part of that committee,” said Kgobi.

He added that the union was pleased that a decision had been taken to close the store.

“We are glad that the department saw fit to close the store. We are not certain how long the store will be closed, but it will be reopened once the department is satisfied.

“We will now fight for the payment of workers for missed work. Employees cannot be punished for matters that are beyond their control.”

Customers lined up in front of the store on Thursday while management and employees held a meeting behind closed doors.

Numerous attempts to get comment from Game and the provincial Department of Labour were unsuccessful.

Employees refused to enter Game on Thursday due to fears over Covid-19. Picture: Soraya Crowie