National 17.9.2016 09:37 am

Manager accused of using the K-word to black workers

A newspaper vendor is seen walking along a walkway where the word "kaffir" has been painted, underneath the Hendrick Potgieter Road bridge on 14th Avenue in Roodepoort, 13 January 2015. The graffiti is new and the photographer first noticed it on Saturday. Another passerby mentioned he had not noticed the graffiti before either, but was surprised by it. Picture: Michel Bega

A newspaper vendor is seen walking along a walkway where the word "kaffir" has been painted, underneath the Hendrick Potgieter Road bridge on 14th Avenue in Roodepoort, 13 January 2015. The graffiti is new and the photographer first noticed it on Saturday. Another passerby mentioned he had not noticed the graffiti before either, but was surprised by it. Picture: Michel Bega

The same manager was alleged to come to work with a gun to intimidate workers.

A white manager of an American poultry company that sells chickens and eggs in more than 120 countries, including South Africa, has been accused of using the K-word to black workers, including members of Economic Freedom Fighters.

A case of crimen injuria against the manager of Hy-Line SA is apparently being investigated by Midrand police and a case of unfair labour practice against the employer is believed to have been referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Speaking on behalf of the workers belonging to the EFF, the party’s Tshwane leader, Godwin Ratikwane, alleged that several workers have been suspended by the employer and that guards pointed guns at them during a disciplinary hearing.

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Ratikwane said the workers were called the K-word. The same manager was alleged to come to work with a gun to intimidate workers. He apparently shoots black rabbits and tells black workers he hates black people.

The company’s managing director, Koos Pretorius said: “HyLine takes allegations of racism and unfair labour practice extremely seriously. As a company, we have stringent systems and processes in place to deal with employee grievances and labour disputes. We do not condone any kind of racist or threatening behaviour towards our staff.

“We assure you that a full internal investigation will be launched, and a disciplinary hearing with [the manager] will be undertaken. We would be happy to inform [Saturday Citizen] of the outcome once this investigation is complete. We will also be using an independent consultant to ensure transparency and fairness.”

Pretorius claimed there had been incidents of alleged gross misconduct in recent months which have been dealt with professionally, by ensuring all due procedures according to SA labour law are closely followed. In one case, three workers faced dismissal for gross misconduct and were suspended with full pay.

“This triggered threats to take the company to the media, which is where we now find ourselves.” “Following a picket and threats of violence, armed guards were deployed to secure the area.

They were in no way used in a threatening way, but rather to keep the peace should the need arise, said Pretorius.

– vicky@citizen.co.za

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