The implementation of halaal regulations in certain KFC branches in KwaZulu-Natal continued to cause conflict this week.
The Mercury reported that Gugu Smamane, 30, a KFC employee in Davenport, Durban resigned after she was disciplined by area manager Nonhle Mgabhi for warming her food in the halaal certified store. Thereafter other workers were warned not to bring food into the store. Mgabhi said she was enforcing company policy but store owner, Joy Dlamini, who said she is a Christian, said her restaurants do not follow halaal rules.
Meanwhile Jabulani Cele, 31, says he is being victimised after he was reinstated by the CCMA last week following his dismissal for bringing uphuthu and bean curry into the takeaway restaurant in Empangeni. Cele says he is being made to eat his home-made and non-halaal lunch in the staff toilet or the storeroom where cleaning chemicals are stored. The United Chemical Industries Mining Electrical State Health and Aligned Workers Union has written to Colefax complaining about Cele’s victimisation.
A final written warning to Sifikile Buthelezi, from another branch of KFC in Empangeni, who was also disciplined for bringing food to work, has been withdrawn. She had also referred her complaint to the CCMA.
In response to questions from Gateway News, a KFC head office spokesman said: “KFC is aware of recent reports relating to employees at its restaurants in KwaZulu Natal. Both KFC and its franchisees are committed to ensuring a fair and productive working environment in all its restaurants. KFC strictly adheres to the requirements of the Labour Relations Act.
“KFC refutes in the strongest possible terms any allegation of victimisation. Should employees feel victimised they are urged to raise this at the highest levels so that it may be investigated and appropriately resolved. It is not KFC’s intention to discriminate against any religious and racial groups and we adhere to all rights as sighted in the South African constitution.”
KFC franchise holders Colefax Trading and Yum Restaurants International follow Islamic practices.