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Cosatu calls on Edcon BRPs to exhaust all avenues before retrenching workers

Ina desperate bid to save one of the country’s largest clothing retailers, 22,000 employees were served with retrenchment notices.

FILE: An Edgars store. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is calling on business rescue practitioners (BRPs) at Edcon to exhaust all avenues before retrenching thousands of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ina desperate bid to save one of the country’s largest clothing retailers, 22,000 employees were served with retrenchment notices.

In 2018, Cosatu put pressure on the Public Investment Cooperation (PIC) to bail out the struggling company, which owns stores including Edgars and Jet.

Cosatu believes the R2.7 billion bailout Edcon received from the PIC, landlords and creditors 18 months ago was put to good use.

The trade union federation said that while job losses were inevitable in the retail industry, 22,000 is too big a number.

The union’s Sizwe Pamla said that the move to cut jobs should be reconsidered: “When companies feel some pain, the first thing they think about is to let go of workers, which is totally unacceptable, it has become a norm in this country. And these companies are still going to come back to government to ask for subsidies and bailouts.”

Edgars, Jet and ThankU employ over 17,000 permanent workers between them and 5,000 more on a seasonal basis.

LISTEN: Edcon CEO Grant Pattison’s interview on Radio 702

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