A Spar shop owner has been ordered to pay R12m to staff for labour law breaches. PIcture: SUPPLIED
A Spar shop owner has been ordered to pay R12m to staff for labour law breaches. PIcture: SUPPLIED

A Spar owner has been ordered to pay almost R12m to his staff for making “unlawful” deductions and not complying with national minimum wage laws.

According to the labour department, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) granted eight arbitration awards against eight Spar outlets owned by a person identified only as “Mr Giannacoupolous”.

The awards, the department said in a statement, compel the franchisee to comply with various orders issued — and pay all complainants a total of R11,935,478. He has 14 days to make the payments.

“Failure to comply with the awards will result with the respondent having to pay accrued interest in terms of section 75 of Basic Conditions of Employment Act,” the department said.

The order comes after the department conducted inspections in May 2019 and received a complaints of alleged gross violations of labour laws that were happening at Spar stores across the country.

“On investigation, all the stores which happened to be violating the labour laws were found to be owned by Mr Giannacoupolous,” the department said.

Issues raised in terms of labour laws’ violations included:

  • Failure by the employer to issue employees with contracts;
  • Long working hours without overtime compensation;
  • Sunday pay, public holidays and leave not granted according to the law;
  • The hiring of illegal foreigners; and
  • Illegal deductions.

The department conducted inspections at Spar Orchards, Dely Road, Doornport Spar, Montana Spar, Wierda Spar, Silverton Spar, Zambezi Super Spar, Rietfontein Spar, Silverplace Spar and Safari Spar in Rustenburg. These outlets employ 565 workers.

“The relentless work that is carried out by our inspectors is contributing towards making a difference in the lives of a vulnerable workforce. I exhort employers to make it their business to respect and comply with the labour laws of our country,” said the labour department's inspector-general, Aggy Moiloa.

Spar’s share price ended the day 2.64% lower at R167.50, its biggest one-day fall in nearly two weeks. It is down 12.36% in February to date.

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