Shoprite’s payment of over an R100 million to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Whitey Basson in the last financial year has been described as a slap on the face of workers.
President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) S’dumo Dlamini, who apparently felt disheartened by the payment lashed out at the retail chain while speaking on the first day of the 17th World Federation Trade Unions (WFTU) congress in Durban, KwaZuluNatal.
Appalled also, Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla opined that Bosson’s payment will only lead to more economic instability in the country.
“How can we be expected to tell workers to moderate their own salary demands, when business executives are giving themselves such ridiculous amounts of money.
It is actually at the source of the level of instability that we see in our economy because you are not going to convince Shoprite employees that there is no money when one person has just been paid R100 million,” he said.
Shoprite board said Basson’s intimidating payment covers both in salary and bonus. It added that CEO’s basic salary has not been increased since 2013 and that half the pay is a bonus.
It is understood from the Cape Town annual report that an average South African worker earns 149 times less than CEO Basson.
However, Free Market Foundation director Leon Louw, who weighed in on the matter has told Cosatu not to cry itself to grief over the payment because it is none of its business.
According to Louw, the big question should be “Does Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson worth the payment?”.
“The amount is irrelevant, the question ‘Is he worth it?’, and nobody should have an opinion on that if it is not their money and their decision,” he said.
Shoprite shares gained 1.5 percent to R194.18 as of 3.01pm in Johannesburg on Monday, valuing the retailer at R112 billion. However, the stock fell 4.1% during the year through June, compared with a 1.9 percent gain in the FTSE/JSE Africa Food & Drug Retailers Index.