Retail giant Shoprite Group has announced that it will pay its shopfloor and distribution centre employees a R102 million appreciation bonus for their work during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement on Tuesday, Shoprite said the bonus is in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to large businesses to keep supporting their workers during this period.
CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said, “Our employees are crucial players in the task ahead and the Group wants to thank and reward them for their tireless efforts to stock our shelves with food and other essentials for our 29 million shoppers.”
Shoprite said it will pay the bonus by Thursday, 2 April, adding that its employees “are at the forefront of serving and safeguarding customers by implementing the Group’s strict hygiene measures.”
“Distribution centre employees are key players in the retail supply chain to restock stores as quickly as possible,” the Group added.
Engelbrecht urged its customers to “shop responsibly” because its warehouses are well stocked and it is sourcing additional suppliers to avoid shortages.
He said, “We are doing everything in our power to ensure our doors remain open, our stores remain safe and our prices remain low.”
Supermarkets exempted from lockdown
Some members of the public have resorted to panic buying over the past few days and weeks as anxiety about COVID-19’s impact grows.
Supermarkets are among the businesses that are exempted from the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced on Monday by Ramaphosa.
This means that its employees will continue working throughout the lockdown period along with those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods.
During this address to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa said, “We call on larger businesses in particular to take care of their workers during this period.”
Shoprite is the largest retail group in Africa with more than 147,000 employees working in over 2,800 outlets across 15 countries.
On its website, it indicates that it is “the largest private sector employer in South Africa and a leading employer in Africa.”