It would take a worker in a Checkers deli about 290 years to earn what Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson was paid in a month this year.
Basson got R49.7m in basic pay and a special performance bonus of R50m in the financial year ending in June. The group said he had not had a pay increase since 2013.
Phumla (not her real name), who works in the deli section at a Checkers store, earns R550 a week. At R28 600 a year, it would take her 3 486 years to earn what Basson, his bonus included, was paid this year.
She works a nine-hour shift. She spends R500 of her salary on rent every month and up to R320 on transport. With the rest she buys food and sends money home to her parents in the Eastern Cape.
She has just had a baby and is worried about how she will support the child.
Phumla has been working for the company since last November. She has been told that as a casual worker, she will not be paid during her maternity leave.
Too many 'bad months' for worker
Nosakhele (not her real name) works for House & Home, also part of the Shoprite group. She earns a basic salary of R2 700 a month and depends on commission from sales.
"Sometimes I make only R500 commission a month, depending on the month, but if I am lucky and it's a busy month I can make more.
"Good months are few and bad months are too many," she says.
Nosakhele would have to work for 256 years to make as much as Basson did in a month in the past financial year, his bonus included.
She has two children and one of them is at university. She too works nine-hour shifts.
She catches two taxis just to get to work, spending R42 daily on the return journey, or R840 a month.
"At the end of the day I am left with nothing," she says.
Mike Tau, national chair of the SA Commercial Catering and Allied Workers' Union for Shoprite, says the union is opposed to executives getting big salaries while employees are paid "peanuts".
The union is consulting members around the country about the best way to respond to the announcement of Basson's pay package.
"We cannot sit and watch while employees are being exploited," Tau said.
Shoprite reported a turnover of more than R130bn for the year to June 2016.
The group includes 577 Shoprite supermarkets and 202 Checkers supermarkets and hypermarkets. It owns Usave, OK, House & Home, Hungry Lion, MediRite and LiquorShops. It employs nearly 138 000 people.
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SA Checkers deli would take 290 years to earn what Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson got in one month