Today's Labour News

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saccawu thumb100 Business Report writes that the Competition Tribunal on Wednesday ordered retailer Lewis Group to submit an affidavit pertaining to its acquisition of high-end furniture retailer United Furniture Outlets (UFO).  

This followed the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union’s (Saccawu’s) submission at the tribunal hearing in Pretoria, in which it argued that a link existed between Lewis retrenching hundreds of workers and thereafter acquiring UFO.  The Competition Commission (CC) submitted that there were no competition concerns arising from the proposed merger and that it was unlikely that a link existed between Lewis retrenching and then acquiring UFO.  Its recommendation to the Tribunal was that the UFO acquisition should be approved on condition that the merging parties did not retrench employees as a result of the transaction for two years from the date of the merger.  But Saccawu’s Khulekani Ngubane claimed that Lewis had since December 2016 retrenched about 400 employees in anticipation of the UFO transaction and that the retrenchments were meant to “smoothen up” the deal in an attempt to reduce the duplication of functions once the merger was concluded.  Competition Tribunal chairperson Norman Manoim concurred that they did not have information on the Lewis decision to start retrenchments and the timing of the acquisition and whether the two issues were linked.  He ordered Lewis to submit an affidavit in that regard.

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