Whites actually under-represented at Woolworths – Solidarity

Dirk Hermann says company’s claims it is trying to ‘rectify’ representation doesn’t hold water

Woolworths: Too many coloured and Indian people, too few whitesAbsurd implications of Woolworths’s racial policy

If Woolworths applies its racial policy to make its labour force representative of the country’s racial demographics, as stated in a letter from the group to Solidarity, then more than 3 000 coloured people and 400 Indian people will have to leave the company. Furthermore, according to this policy the group currently has too few white employees.

Dirk Hermann, Deputy Chief Executive of Solidarity, says Woolworths claims that certain groups are seriously under-represented in certain areas in the company and job adverts targeting particular racial groups are placed in respect of those areas. “Woolworths, among other things, advertised a managerial position that was open to ‘Africans, coloureds and Indians’ only. According to Woolworths’s current racial  composition and approach there is currently an over-representation of coloureds and Indians at all managerial levels in Woolworths. The company’s argument that it wants to ‘rectify’ representation at all levels therefore does not hold water.”

Hermann says that according to Woolworths’s current racial composition (attached), both coloured en Indian people are, in reality, over-represented at all levels: from top management to unskilled job levels. “Woolworths’s approach to the implementation of the Employment Equity Act is nothing less than absurd, as it will have to dismiss 3 420 coloured and 402 Indian employees in order to be consistent in its application of its policy. According to this approach the group will also have to employ an additional 935 white people. Solidarity disagrees with Woolworths’s approach.”

Hermann stressed that Solidarity maintains that this obsession with race must be dispensed with and that no one should lose his or her job as a result of race-based policies, or be deprived of the opportunity to apply for a position. “It is clear that Woolworths believes that the entire labour force of the private sector must mirror the racial composition of the economically active population. It seems that large private companies are simply following the state’s example regarding the application of affirmative action by implementing quota policies with respect to vacancies.”

Solidarity has already started to take the root of the problem, namely, the principle of absolute racial representation, to court in its case against the South African Police Service (SAPS). In July of this year the trade union filed papers in the Johannesburg Labour Court, in which it requests the court to declare the police’s affirmative action plan invalid in its entirety.

Statistics on Solidarity’s campaign against Woolworths that was launched on 5 September:

 

  • By 11:00 this morning, 266 488 people had been reached by means of entries about the Woolworths campaign on the Solidarity Movement’s Facebook page and the entries had already been actively shared more than 19 400 times on Facebook.
  • The tweets about ‘Woolworths’ and ‘Woolies’ were in excess of 25 965.
  • These tweets had, by this morning, appeared about 16,8 million times on Twitter.
  • Moreover, more than 2 800 people had expressed their dissatisfaction with Woolworths by means of letters and SMS’s by this morning.

 

Woolworths: Racial breakdown

  African Coloured Indian White Foreigner Total
Top management

1

1

1

4

4

11

Senior management

7

12

15

63

14

111

Middle management

199

402

139

588

51

1379

Junior management

945

974

219

431

14

2583

Semi-skilled

1749

886

125

103

6

2869

Unskilled

9353

3337

502

214

74

13480

TOTAL PERMANENT

12254

5612

1001

1403

163

20433

% of total

60.0%

27.5%

4.9%

6.9%

0.8%

100.0%

 

Statement issued by Dirk HermannDeputy Chief Executive: Solidarity, September 11 2012

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