Today's Labour News

newsThis news aggregator site highlights South African labour news from a wide range of internet and print sources. Each posting has a synopsis of the source article, together with a link or reference to the original. Postings cover the range of labour related matters from industrial relations to generalist human resources.

news shutterstockIn our Friday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Wednesday, 2 November 2016.


MINING LABOUR

Uasa claims wage agreement between Amplats and Amcu is ‘unlawful’

The United Association of SA (Uasa) put out a statement on Wednesday claiming that the recent wage agreement signed between Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was “unlawful”.  Noting that the agreement “completely” excluded Uasa and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Uasa stated that it “flies in the face of the rights that both Uasa and NUM enjoy as equal partners in terms of the Employment Relations Agreement (“ERA”) which binds Anglo Platinum, Uasa, NUM and Amcu.”  Uasa and the NUM have apparently jointly placed Amplats on terms to comply with the ERA, “failing which urgent court action shall follow.”  Uasa wants its annual wage negotiations with Amplats, and that of the NUM, to be continued with in compliance with ERA.

Read Uasa’s press statement at Polity.  Read too, NUM declines to sign wage agreement with Amplats, at eNCA

Lily Mine victims still mourned, even as new investors sought

The New Age reports that it has been nine months since the tragic Lily Mine collapse in Barberton, Mpumalanga, and the lives of three families who lost their loved ones in the collapse have gone from bad to worse.  The mine owned by Vantage Goldfields made a number of attempts to rescue the trapped workers, but all have failed as the ground is fragile, which has put the lives of rescuers in danger.  The mine has failed to secure an investor in the last nine months – but business rescue practitioner Rob Devereux said they have not given up on saving Lily Mine.  “We are engaged with an overseas investor for the full amount required to reopen it and an announcement will be made in due course.  The families still receive the full salary of the deceased employees and grants and support from the government as well as food parcels and free accommodation, as well as counselling and other support.”

Read this report by Batandwa Malingo in full at The New Age

SAHRC inquiry unhappy about lack of responses about mining living conditions

TimesLive reports that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has lambasted municipal and national government officials for not answering key questions in an investigation into socioeconomic conditions in mining communities.  The last of the hearings, on Thursday in Johannesburg, looked into living conditions in mining areas, especially in Mpumalanga.  The commissioners heard submissions from mining companies and representatives of mining-heavy municipalities, but they were unhappy that the questions posed to some of the mining houses, municipalities and the national government were not answered.  Victor Khanye Local Municipality was chastised for sending a junior official to the hearing.  A presentation by Department of Mineral Resources' deputy director-general Joel Raphela drew scathing criticism.

Read this report by Azizzar Mosupi in full at TimesLive

Amplats and Lonmin provide relief to indebted employees

BusinessLive reports that Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Lonmin are saving employees more than R40m annually in debt repayments, after reducing emoluments attachment orders (EAOs) and lowering interest rates on unpaid debt.  Amplats was saving nearly 2,100 employees R33.4m in annual debt repayments, CEO Chris Griffith said on Wednesday.  Lonmin had reduced the debt owed by employees by R7m through its EAO review programme and had stopped 573 EAOs in the past 12 months, HR executive Abey Kgotle said.  Following the Marikana massacre, the mining sector introduced various measures to tackle miners’ employee indebtedness.  Amplats and Lonmin contracted Summit Financial Partners to audit their EAOs, as well as provide debt restructuring services and financial literacy training to employees.

Read this report by Hanna Ziady in full at BusinessLive

Other labour posting(s) in this news category

  • SA platinum sector seals deal with Amcu, without strike action, at Miningmx
  • Lonmin to seek cost-saving measures after wage deal, at Moneyweb
  • Sibanye, NUM still at odds, at The New Age
  • Anglo’s Union mine reports fatality, at Mining Weekly


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

Retail motor industry wage deal with Numsa on track

Business Report writes that an accord between the retail motor industry and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) over a three-year agreement may be imminent.  Irvin Jim, Numsa general secretary, said on Wednesday that the union had met negotiators from the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the parties had exchanged views and clarified their positions.  According to Jim, the RMI had committed to come back to Numsa very soon.  “The meeting was not that bad,” Jim added.  Jakkie Olivier, CE of the RMI, confirmed that they were preparing “a final settlement proposal” that would be submitted to Numsa on Thursday for the union to consider.  Olivier said the RMI had an in-principle agreement with Numsa on some components of the proposed settlement agreement.  “I think we are very close (to reaching agreement),” he stated.

Read this report by Roy Cokayne in full at Business Report


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Employees at East London-based Bacalum set to down tools

DispatchLive reports that East London-based Bacalum Manufacturers is heading for its first legal strike and lockout over wages and conditions on 14 November.  The company is a manufacturer of high-end glass and aluminium fittings.  Numsa is demanding 10% for 120 workers at the Arcadia-based firm, while the company has apparently refused to budge from a 7% offer.  Company owner Douglas Robertson said the firm’s offer was in line with the recommendations of the Master Builders’ Association (MBA) and that their last increase of 7% was, in effect a 9.05% increase when the cost to the company of skills upgrading was factored in.  But Numsa maintains that there is no training path or structure and no money is put into training.”  Numsa has also accused Robertson of running the factory “like a prison”, while Robertson countered that Bacalum operated strictly within the ambit of labour laws.

Read this report by Mike Loewe in full at DispatchLive


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Cosatu has harsh words for the ANC

BusinessLive reports that, in a further sign of the increasingly strained relations between the alliance partners, trade union federation Cosatu issued a statement on Thursday sharply critical of its allay the ANC.  This follows the call earlier this week from the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Cosatu’s biggest affiliate, for President Jacob Zuma to step down.  Cosatu expressed its concern that the ANC was starting to treat workers with disdain and take the loyalty of the federation for granted.  It said it was tired of the ANC government’s many failures and broken promises, and the condescension and arrogance of some ANC leaders.  Cosatu also called on the government “to clean up the mess surrounding its nuclear plans.”

Read this report by BusinessLive.  Read Cosatu’s press statement at Cosatu Today

Stop wasting our tax money on frivolous court cases, Cosatu tells politicians

TMG Digital reports that trade union federation Cosatu on Thursday denounced the “wasteful expenditure of taxpayer’s money by public representatives on frivolous legal challenges”.  This blunt message was sent after recent court challenges involving various government ministers.  Cosatu stated:  “Our public representatives have become vexatious litigants‚ abusing the legal processes to defend the indefensible at times.  We support the sentiments and suggestions that all those‚ who are wasting taxpayers’ money in frivolous legal challenges‚ should be made to pay it back from their own pockets.”  Cosatu said further that legal advisers‚ “who continuously give unsound legal advice‚” should be removed from the state payroll.

Read this report in full at HeraldLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Do the honourable thing and resign, Nehawu urges Zuma, at Daily Maverick
  • Cosatu threatens to withdraw support for 'arrogant' ANC, at News24


RECRUITMENT / STAFFING

Unions reach boiling point in OR Tambo region over shortage of nursing staff

The New Age reports that health practitioners belonging to various unions in the OR Tambo region are threatening to down tools over a crisis caused by a “gross” shortage of staff and issues relating to study leave.  Nurses belonging to the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa), the Public Servants Association of SA (PSA) and the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) said the Eastern Cape had a shortage of nurses to the point that enrolled nurses were taking risks running wards in the absence of registered nurses.  Yet, unions say that nurses are willing to engage with the provincial health department’s superintendent-general, Dr Thobile Mbengashe, before withdrawing their services.  A meeting has been arranged for her to meet with the union leaders on Thursday in East London.

Based on a report by Indie Boyce on page 23 of The New Age of 4 November 2016.  Read an extended summary of the report at SA Labour News

Freezing of vacant public health posts leading to a crisis, say unions

Cape Argus reports that according to unions representing doctors and nurses, a crisis in the public health sector is inevitable due to the Department of Health’s freezing of vacant posts.  The move is meant to cut costs, but unions including the Cape Metro Health Forum say this could result in worsened service delivery in an already ailing public health sector.  The SA Medical Association (Sama), including Junior Doctors Association of SA (Judasa) and National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), said the policy by the department not to automatically fill vacated posts would, in the long term, “hurt the public sector” as many of the affected jobs were crucial clinical posts.  Such a move also added pressure on the existing health workers who often had to take time off and sick leave due to exhaustion and stress-related illnesses.  Department spokesman Mark van der Heever confirmed the department was currently reviewing every vacancy and only filled vacant posts “based on operational requirements”.

Read this report by Sipokazi Fokazi in full at Cape Argus


YOUTH EMPLOYMENT

Cosatu set against employment tax incentive

BusinessLive reports that labour federation Cosatu has intensified its opposition to the employment tax incentive because of the government’s refusal to exclude labour brokers from the scheme.  Matthew Parks, Cosatu’s parliamentary co-ordinator, said on Thursday that the federation was going to support the latest incentive, but rejected it because Cosatu’s demand for the exclusion of labour broking companies and outsourced services providers was ignored.  He said these types of firms did not support decent work and fair labour practices.  The state has initiated a review of the incentive legislation, which expires in December.  Submissions from a range of stakeholders will be heard in Parliament on Wednesday.

Read this report by Asha Speckman in full at BusinessLive


EXECUTIVE PAY

King IV report unlikely to lead to less pay for executives

Business Report writes that the proposals in the King IV Report on Corporate Governance on the disclosure and voting requirements on remuneration are meant to enhance transparency and are unlikely to lead to a decrease in executive pay.  The report was formally launched by the King Committee on Corporate Governance in SA and the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa on Tuesday.  King IV aims to foster enhanced accountability on remuneration and recommended the use of performance measures that took into consideration the financial, social and environmental context in which companies operated.  This is a departure from linking remuneration to financial performance only.  Nastascha Harduth of Werksmans Attorneys commented that the report required boards to set the tone and lead ethically and effectively.  “Ultimately, however, the manner in which these principles are achieved in practice is entirely up to the organisation.”

Read this report by Siseko Njobeni in full at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


QUALIFICATIONS / SKILLS / TRAINING

Treasury report shows that technical college system is broken

BusinessLive reports that a newly published report by the Treasury shows that technical and vocational colleges are deeply dysfunctional.  Only 2% of students completing courses within the minimum time and only 10% completing the three-year course in six years.  The technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system caters for students who opt for a technical education instead of matric and offers tertiary qualifications for matriculants with a diploma pass.  The Department of Higher Education has poured an increasing share of its budget into the colleges rather than the universities in an attempt to place the college system at the heart of post-school training.  But the report shows that much of this has been wasted as few students complete their courses.

Read this report by Carol Paton in full at BusinessLive


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUNDS

Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) in record low investment return

BusinessLive reports that the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has reported its lowest investment return since the financial crisis.  Its annual report released on Wednesday showed it received a 4% return on its investments during the year to March, slightly below its benchmark 4.4%, and a steep fall from last year’s 10.2%.  It is the worst performance since 2009.  "The return is in line with the current local and global economic and market conditions," said fund principal executive officer Abel Sithole.  Contributions received and accrued by the fund rose by R4bn to R60bn during the financial year, in line with an increase in the number of its active members and salary increases.

Read this report by Moyagabo Maake and Linda Ensor at BusinessLive


EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT / CORRUPTION / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Durban firm cracks the whip over racist Facebook posts

The Mercury reports that the decision by an employer to suspend a Durban man who wrote on Facebook that Indians were “low-class rubbish with no morals” has been seen by race experts as a step in the right direction.  Mount Edgecombe-based Interflex Conveyor Belting confirmed that it had suspended Will MacGibbon for social media posts he made over the weekend which insulted Hindus celebrating Diwali.  A legal letter on behalf of the company said MacGibbon’s “immediate” suspension would be followed by a “swift” investigation into the matter.  Distancing itself from the comments, the company added that it “goes without saying that the allegations are seen in an extremely serious light.”  MacGibbon’s role, according to his LinkedIn page, was as chairman of the company.  His Facebook account has been deactivated.  The ANC and SA Hindu Maha Sabha have laid charges of crimen injuria against MacGibbon and Dawie Kriel, another Durban man who had made similar offensive comments on Facebook.

Read this report by Kerushun Pillay in full at The Mercury

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Employees who sold learners’ and drivers’ licences out on bail, at Ridge Times
  • Beware bogus City Power employees, at The Star

 

Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News