Former Massmart employee threatened for speaking out on racial pay disparity

Former Massmart employee, Phathuxolo Maqavana, has described how he is being victimised by the company for speaking out against being paid less than his white colleague, who he considered to be on the same job level.

Maqavana's case has gone to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

He says he raised the matter with the Massmart human resources department but his efforts failed.

It's been a very lonely harrowing experience for me. Since the article came out last Sunday people have been sending me messages relating their own experiences but everyone is so scared to come out because you fear career stagnation.

Phathuxolo Maqavana, former Massmart employee

For me at work, colleagues were not greeting me anymore.

Phathuxolo Maqavana, former Massmart employee

I have had no one assisting me, but just the sound of mind telling me that this is wrong. It's systemic. And if I were to continue, just move on, it would continue for so many people.

Phathuxolo Maqavana, former Massmart employee

Analytico managing director, Jaan Beelders, says companies are allowed to fairly discriminate based on certain factors such as such as the number of years experience, qualifications and quality performance.

However, the 30-year-old says he is qualified for the job and his white colleague is five years younger than him.

Commissioner of the Commission for Employment Equity, Dr Annelie Gildenhuys, says there will always be differences in salaries but it has to be established whether the difference is unfair.

The principles that would be used have been long confirmed in the Labour Court as to say what is the test. Am I being unfairly discriminated against ,is there justification for the differentiation in the terms of conditions of employment?

Dr Annelie Gildenhuys, commissioner of the Commission for Employment Equity

Firstly it would be, is the work that I am doing of equal value? We must be comparing apples with apples. And if there is in fact a difference.

Dr Annelie Gildenhuys, commissioner of the Commission for Employment Equity

The second phase would be is the difference because of unfair discrimination?

Dr Annelie Gildenhuys, commissioner of the Commission for Employment Equity

Listen to the audio below for more information on gender and racial salary discrepancies...


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