The South African Federation of Trade Unions is angered at the report of an employee at an Ocean Basket restaurant being violently assaulted by his boss, the franchise holder of the company’s Benoni Lakefield branch.
The assault was captured on CCTV footage which showed a white man slapping one of his black male staff members in the face several times and also using his knee in the assault.
The federation welcomes the swift action of the company in removing the alleged offender from its franchise with immediate effect. Its spokesperson said: “We are appalled and took action immediately after we found out,” and added that the worker has opted to continue working at the restaurant and they have offered him support and counselling.
SAFTU insists that in addition a criminal case must be opened and the offender brought to book. There must be zero tolerance for employers who assault workers.
It is fortunate that this incident was videoed, as otherwise it would probably never come to light. This begs the question of how many more such cases remain unrecorded and unreported in sectors like catering where very few workers are organized in trade unions, and are therefore reluctant to report such attacks for fear of losing their job.
It has come to the intention of SAFTU through our recruitment campaign that thousands of workers have their rights trampled on by employers every day. In the current climate employers feel emboldened to abuse and mistreat workers knowing that there are millions of the long-term unemployed ready to step in and take whatever employers throw at them.
As SAFTU we have to ask why the Department of Labour inspectorate is so woefully incapacitated to address these exploitative and abusive actions properly, and workers are left to be ravaged by bosses who victimize and punish workers when they try to assert their most basic rights at work. No wonder then that SAFTU is inundated with requests for help.
The federation has made it a priority to recruit the most vulnerable workers in sectors such as franchised catering establishments. The relevant affiliated union is the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU). Their website is http://www.fawu.org.za/show.php?ID=217 <http://www.fawu.org.za/show.php?ID=217>