NATIONAL NEWS - The Academic and Professional Staff Association (Apsa) has threatened to shut down the Durban July scheduled to take place this weekend at Greyville.
Associated with about 500 workers who face retrenchments, the trade union said it would shut down the event should Phumelela continue with the retrenchment.
This following failed negotiations between the two parties. The trade union accused Phumelela of failing to account for missing provident fund benefits for the employees it was retrenching and said Phumelela was the one in charge of the event.
APSA said in a statement: “We hereby want to put it on record that there is a high possibility of Durban July not taking place this year. Our reason is very simple: where and when workers are about to lose their work and salaries, then the employer must equally lose.
“Phumelela has unilaterally decided to retrench about 500 staff members claiming that it has a financial crisis. As APSA, we are left with no option but to declare that Durban July might not take place this year should the employer continue with retrenchment and with such arrogance.
“Those who have invested in Vodacom Durban July either by betting, buying stalls, marques, entertainment or booked hotels and tickets must be aware that their monies are about to go into the drain…”
Phumelela confirmed meeting with APSA but said the event was staged by Gold Circle. It said it had amended its offer to the betting division staff and sent it to APSA officials for consideration.
“Phumelela is optimistic that an amicable solution will be reached with the trade union. The company recently undertook a Section 189 A retrenchment process, facilitated by the CCMA, because it has no option but to close a number of stores that are not operating profitably. Simultaneously, several duplicated roles have been rationalised.
“Phumelela regrets the loss of jobs, but as is the case with numerous other companies, the current state of the South African economy leaves the company with absolutely no choice but to rationalise its operations,” it said.
Gold Circle Racing and Gaming, which runs Durban July, also responded to the shutdown threats and said the event would go on as planned as it had nothing to do with Phumelela.
“The threatened strike action is against Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, who is currently undergoing a restructuring of their business that affects their employees. It’s all systems go for Saturday,” it said in a statement.