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 Wednesday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Tuesday, 29 November 2016.


MINING LABOUR

‘Writing is on the wall for NUM as Amcu eats its rival’s lunch’

In a rather one-sided but interesting opinion piece, columnist Xolisa Phillip writes that the Association of |Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is in league with cold, hard reality in the membership numbers game against its arch rival the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).  An interesting point he makes is that Amcu has emerged as the unlikely force of labour stability in mining with a special mention in Moody’s recent opinion as one of the mitigating factors against any action being taken on SA’s sovereign credit rating.  This was because Amcu concluded three-year wage agreements with leading platinum producers without much fanfare.  Phillip says that what makes this development significant is that Amcu has entrenched its position as the dominant union in platinum, while also making inroads in the coal and gold sectors.  In his view, the NUM is on the losing side of the membership numbers game, which is “reflected in the fact that mine workers are currently abandoning the NUM in their droves.”  According to Phillip, the NUM’s endorsement of Cyril Ramaphosa as the next ANC president may prove to be its undoing and a final nail in its coffin.

Read this column in full at BusinessLive

Lily Gold Mine rescue operations to resume in six to eight months

ANA reports that the search for the remains of three Lily Gold Mine workers, who were trapped underground in Barberton in February, would resume in the next six to eight months, the Vantage Goldfields said on Tuesday.  They were buried when a lamproom container they were working in fell into a massive sinkhole.  The mine’s business rescue practitioner, Rob Devereux, indicated that the company was still looking for funding to complete the operation.  He insisted, however, that Lily Mine’s efforts to secure funding would bear fruit before the end of this year.  Lily mine is still closed and rescue operations will be resumed when the mine is declared safe, which will happen in the next six to eight months, Devereux said.  He advised that the mine has still not paid other workers their outstanding wages for April and May.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other general mining internet posting(s)

  • Mining Charter row brews, at BusinessLive
  • DMR blindsides CoM with new Mining Charter, says Herbert Smith Freehills, at Mining Review
  • Northam’s Dunne adds voice to SA mining distress call, at Miningmx
  • Platinum supply under extreme pressure, says Northam’s Dunne, at Mining Weekly
  • DiamondCorp reopens Lace Mine open pit, starts negotiations with creditors, at The Citizen


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Western Cape cops to undergo more training to fend off attackers

News24 reports that police officers in the Western Cape are being earmarked for advanced tactical training to boost their reactions under criminal fire.  Deputy National Commissioner for Policing, Lieutenant General Sehlahle Masemola, said on Tuesday at the memorial service of three officers killed in Cape Town in the past week:  "It is to teach survival and to always be alert.  Firearm competency is not enough.  Our police members are being killed in big numbers in this province."  Masemola also said police would no longer buy single cab vehicles for patrols in the Western Cape.  They would instead opt for double cabs so that at least three officers are able to travel together at any given time and act as extra backup.  Masemola then claimed to have evidence that specifically female officers were often on social media instead of focusing on their work.  This elicited gasps and dissatisfied grumbling from officers at the memorial.

Read this report by Tammy Petersen in full at News24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Joburg Metrobus drivers’ strike continues, some major routes affected

EWN reports that Metrobus says services along some of its major routes have been disrupted as a strike by its drivers continues on Wednesday.  The bus service says drivers are demanding that management lift the suspension of their colleague and remove the inspector team.  The drivers believe the inspectors are conspiring to get them suspended as opposed to improving the bus services.  Metrobus' Sabata Makoele said they have been in constant talks with the drivers to resolve the issue.

A short report by Victor Magwedze is at EWN.  See too, Metrobus drivers down tools, at eNCA


PROTESTS, MARCHES AND BOYCOTTS

Fawu pushes ahead with rolling mass action over sugar tax and chicken-dumping

ANA reports that the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) on Wednesday vowed to proceed with rolling mass protest action against the imminent “sugar tax” and the so-called dumping of chicken from the European Union (EU).  The government has announced plans to introduce a 1% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages from next year in a bid to curb lifestyle diseases.  However, Fawu said there would be job losses emanating from “sugar tax” and that there was no evidence to suggest that those lost jobs would be created elsewhere in the industry.  The union said it was also determined to prevent job losses in the poultry and manufacturing industries.  Earlier this week, Fawu marched to National Treasury offices in Pretoria to hand in a memorandum of concerns about the sugar tax.  Two more marches were due to be held on Wednesday in Cape Town and Durban.  On Tuesday, Fawu led a delegation to meet with the EU Commission's ambassador and trade counsellor, which followed a protest march and memo of petition on job losses to the EU Embassy in Pretoria last week.

Read this report by Siphelele Dludla in full at Business Report

ANC calls for more research on sugar tax

Fin24 reports the African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament wants more research done before a sugar tax, which is supposed to come into effect in April 2017, is implemented.  Sfiso Buthelezi, ANC MP and a member of the standing committee on finance, said timing was critical and he asked:  “Should we introduce it amid low growth and high unemployment?”  Imam Sheik Mansour of the National Freedom Party, however, welcomed the imminent introduction of a sugar tax, saying it was a false perception that it would lead to job losses.  He accused conglomerates of using the job losses argument to hinder the implementation of such a tax.

Read this report by Liesl Peyper in full at Fin24


RECRUITMENT / STAFFING

Over 8,300 appointments made by Gauteng Department of Health

The Gauteng Health Department indicated in a statement on Tuesday that in a bid to improve the quality of service delivery in the province it recruited 8,371 officials in the period from January to October 2016.  Of these employees, verification of qualifications was not done for about 656 professionals on community service, because this will be the last leg of training to enable registration with the relevant statutory body.  On completion of community service, the officials concerned will receive certificates to practice.  A further 832 Health Professionals and Administration Internship officials’ verifications will be conducted after completion of the community service period by statutory bodies.  About 1,126 student nurses, technologists and therapists and 292 on learnerships have also not been verified yet as they are still undergoing training.  About 3,991 health professionals were all verified through relevant statutory councils.

Read the Department of Health’s press statement in full at SA Govt online

SAA warns work-seekers of re-emergence of cabin crew recruitment scam

South African Airways (SAA) issued a statement on Wednesday warning members of the public of the re-emergence of a recruitment scam inviting young people to apply for cabin crew training programme.  The national carrier said this appeared to be yet another attempt by criminals to prey on unsuspecting members of the public.  “There is neither recruitment nor training programmes for cabin crew positions at SAA at the moment.  We urge the public to exercise caution and take additional measures to satisfy themselves about the authenticity of vacancies before responding to invitations to submit applications for possible employment.  This may be an inconvenient, yet necessary step to take,” warned SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali.  He added that SAA has placed a moratorium on employing additional personnel.

Read SAA’s press statement at Polity


NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

Cosatu to hold meeting with national minimum wage advisory panel

The New Age reports that labour federation Cosatu is to undertake a clarity-seeking mission with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s advisory panel that proposed a R3,500 per month national minimum wage (NMW).  General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the labour constituency at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) will on Thursday get an opportunity to meet with the panel of experts that presented the proposal.  The meeting will be a precursor to a meeting of the Committee of Principals (COP), chaired by Ramaphosa, scheduled for early next month.  Ntshalintshali said they would seek clarity from the panel on a number of issues such as the two-year implementation period, concerns about enforcement and the reasons for the proposal that wages in the domestic and agricultural sectors be set at 75% and 90% of the proposed NMW.

Read this report by Bonolo Selebano in full at The New Age

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • ‘Raising the minimum wage won't reduce inequality’, at The Star
  • How the search for a national minimum wage laid bare SA’s faultlines, at SowetanLive
  • What critics of the minimum wage are missing, at The Citizen
  • Adjustment to national minimum wage needs maximum care and oversight, at BusinessLive


WORKPLACE CONDITIONS

SANDF sends rations to hungry soldiers in three bases after union threatens court action

TMG Digital/Cape Newsroom reports that SA’s defence force has narrowly avoided a potentially embarrassing court case by delivering rations at the eleventh hour to three army bases where soldiers had no food.  The SA National Defence Union (Sandu) had given the military until Wednesday to recant on instructions to send soldiers home from the bases at Zeerust‚ Middleburg and Mafikeng because they had run out of food.  But a last minute meeting between the parties apparently led to the SA National defence Force (SANDF) backtracking on its plans and sending food instead to the affected bases.  Sandu general secretary Pikkie Greeff posted a copy of a letter of demand on his twitter page on Tuesday.  The union said that the SANDF was obliged to provide the affected members with “sufficient rations”.  Greeff could not say how many soldiers were affected, but he said the number would “run to hundreds”.

Read this report by Aphiwe Deklerk in full at TimesLive


SKILLS / TRAINING

Tourism staff being trained in Mandarin head to China

The first group of frontline tourism staff being trained in Mandarin have completed the initial phase of their training and are heading to China for cultural learning experiences.  The trainees received certificates from Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom at a ceremony held in Johannesburg on Tuesday.  The 20 trainees were selected for specialised training from establishments frequented by the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting SA.  Modules for reading, writing and speaking, situational role playing sessions and the three-week visit to China will enable trainees to communicate in Mandarin.  SA has enjoyed spectacular growth in arrivals from China this year, with arrivals between January and August this year being 64% better than the same period last year.  The Department of Tourism is creating a database of the trainees, linked to SA Tourism’s websites, to make it accessible to establishments who need Mandarin speaking staff or guides

Read this report in full at SA Govt News Agency


DISMISSALS / UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES

Dismissal of ‘The Citizen’ editor without a hearing ‘worrying’, says Sanef

ANA reports that the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Tuesday said it was greatly concerned about the dismissal – without a hearing – of Steven Motale the Editor of The Citizen.  The announcement of Motale’s sacking was made by the newspaper on Tuesday.  He had been suspended earlier in November pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary process.  Sanef said it was shocked to learn that Motale was dismissed without a hearing.  Sanef spokesperson Sam Mkokeli said in a statement:  “We are seeking an urgent meeting with the publishers of The Citizen to express our concerns.  Sanef is also deeply concerned about recent reports of a high turnover of editorial staff following allegations of improper management interference in the editorial conduct of newspapers.  Such interference is a threat to the freedom and independence of editors and editorial staff and media values which constitute a vital cornerstone to the country’s democracy.”

Read this report in full at The Citizen.  Read too, Sanef seeking urgent meeting with The Citizen over Motale's dismissal, at News24


COMMUTING

Two of Cape Town's major three commuter train lines running, with some delays

News24 reports that two of Cape Town's three main train lines are back up and running after three days of around the clock repair work to Metrorail's vandalised equipment.  Regional spokesperson Riana Scott on Wednesday confirmed that, while delays of between 20 and 40 minutes were still being experienced, the northern and central lines were running.  "The service is running better than [on Tuesday]," she said.  Metrorail is optimistic that repairs could be completed by the end of Wednesday.  Operations were disabled on Sunday after cable thieves hit one of the communications nerve centres on Saturday.

Read this report by Tammy Petersen in full at News24


WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES ON TUESDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2016

See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 at SA Labour News

 

Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News