May 3, 2007 / 12:13 AM / 11 years ago

Cashiers claim desperate measures

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Cashiers at Chile’s Santa Isabel supermarket chain say their employer is so stingy with their work breaks that they have had to resort to wearing diapers to make it through shifts without getting fired.

The union at Santa Isabel, owned by Cencosud, one of Chile’s largest chain retailers, said cashiers are not allowed to leave their work stations during their shifts, which last eight hours or longer.

“They are not given permission to go to the bathroom and they can’t last for so many hours; that’s why some have started using diapers or sanitary pads,” Marianela Fernandez, president of the Santa Isabel Supermarket workers union, told Reuters.

Cencosud said any such incidents would have been isolated.

“It is possible that there may have been isolated cases that were not in compliance with the norms and procedures of Santa Isabel,” Cencosud said in a statement. “In these instances company policy has been to immediately adopt the appropriate corrective measures.”

The complaint has been taken up by Chile’s largest labor organization, the Central Workers Union, or CUT, which has requested government action in the case.

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