news shutterstockIn our Thursday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Wednesday, 30 November 2016.


WORLD AIDS DAY

HIV/Aids stigma still a problem, says Nehawu

ANA that, although SA had made strides in the fight against HIV/Aids through the biggest treatment programme in the world, stigma continued to hold back progress in eliminating the disease.  This was said by the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said on Thursday.  December 1 marks World Aids Day globally.  According to Statistics South Africa, an estimated 6.2 million people were living with HIV in SA in 2015.  Nehawu said prevention programmes at workplaces were important and should enable a non-discriminatory environment for those affected by the disease.  “HIV programmes should address issues of stigma and discrimination against those infected and those who still remain vulnerable of socio-economic and socio-cultural practices such as women, children and other marginalised groups in society.”

Read this report in full at IOL News.  Read Nehawu’s statement at Cosatu Today


HEALTH & SAFETY

Transport union UNTU condemns killing of female member in Cape Town

EWN reports that the United National Transport Union (UNTU) has condemned the killing of one of its members in Cape Town on Thursday morning, calling it a senseless murder.  Akhona Siduka, who was a Metrorail train security guard, was shot in a hijacking while on her way home on Wednesday night.  The union’s general secretary Steve Harris said:  “We’re supposed to be honouring this period of violence against women and here’s a woman that comes back from work and then she’s murdered.”

This short report by Pelane Phakgadi is at EWN.  Read UNTU’s press statement in this regard at SA Labour News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Boer gevonnis oor pepersproei in werker se gesig, at Netwerk24 (limited access)
  • Cape police to be overhauled after ‘mass killing’, at Cape Argus
  • Valke moet vasbyt in gebou, at Netwerk24 (limited access)


MINING LABOUR

Four zama zamas sentenced to a year for illegal mining in Northern Cape

ANA reports that Hawks in Northern Cape said on Wednesday that four men convicted of illegal mining were sentenced in the Port Nolloth Magistrate's Court to 12 months imprisonment or a R6,000 fine.  The four were arrested for trespassing and illegal mining on 24 April in the De Beers mining area in Kleinzee.  Upon the arrest, their mining implements were seized.  Additionally, they were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment or a R2,000 fine suspended for five years on condition that they do not commit similar offences during such period.

Read this report in full at SABC News.  See too, Zama-zamas word vir ’n jaar ondermyn, at Netwerk24 (limited access)

Other general mining internet posting(s)

  • Anglo American to sell stake in Exxaro, at Mining Weekly
  • Implats gives go-ahead for new mine in Zimbabwe, at Fin24
  • Harmony pursues gold acquisitions, at BusinessLive
  • Rockwell survives liquidation court challenge, at BusinessLive
  • DMR aims for 'peace, stability' in Xolobeni, at Business Report


MARIKANA DEATHS / FARLAM INQUIRY REPORT

No trauma, no compensation for Marikana widows

The New Age reports that the Marikana massacre widows and family members have been asked to provide proof that they suffered emotional shock, trauma and grief before they can be compensated.  It has been almost a year since the government agreed on an out-of-court settlement to avoid a lengthy court process, but so far no payments.  Instead, the families of the deceased are being examined by specialists.  Socio-Economic Rights Institute’s (Seri’s) Nomzamo Zondo, representing the families, said they had laid various claims for compensation including that of emotional shock, trauma, loss of support, an apology from the government and more.  She said there had been progress in the negotiations for claims relating to loss of support.  “We’ve been asked to provide proof of emotional shock and trauma.  The process of our clients seeing specialists has started.  Thereafter, we have to produce reports from the specialists detailing the levels of trauma and suffering by our clients,” Zondo said.

Read this report by Dudu Dube in full at The New Age


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Operations at Joburg’s Metrobus back on track following illegal strike

EWN reports that Johannesburg bus service Metrobus said on Thursday morning that all its operations were back on track, following an illegal strike by employees.  Drivers stopped work earlier this week, apparently demanding that the suspension of some of their colleagues be lifted and that external monitoring systems be removed from buses.  The City of Johannesburg obtained an interim court interdict on Wednesday and said it expected all bus drivers to return to their posts on Thursday.  Spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane indicated:  “The services for Metrobus are fully operational this morning.  We’ve just done a quick check and everything is operating at 100%.”

A short report by Thando Kubheka is at EWN

Samwu hopes for a solution after strike costs 200 Msukaligwa workers their jobs

City Press reports that talks are under way to find a solution after the Msukaligwa municipality in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, fired 200 workers who went on an illegal strike.  The members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) had been staging sporadic strikes every pay day over the past five months.  They were complaining about non-payment of overtime and other allowances.  On 21 October they allegedly sabotaged the water and electricity supply to residents and businesses.  Msukaligwa spokesperson Mandla Zwane indicated that the sheriff has this week been serving the workers with dismissal letters.  The municipality and Samwu met on Wednesday in order to find a solution.  However, Samwu also said in a statement that the municipality’s action was “harsh, unfair and illegal” because the workers did not undergo any disciplinary process.  It added that the workers went on strike because the municipality failed to pay third parties, including the workers’ union subscription fees, and also failed to provide them with protective equipment.

Read this report by Sizwe sama Yende in full at City Press.  Read Samwu’s press statement at Samwu online


PROTESTS, MARCHES AND BOYCOTTS

Fawu calls at protest march for summit on sugar, fat and health

SABC News reports that Atwell Nazo, president of the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), has called for a summit on sugar, fat, health and jobs in order to deal with causes of obesity.  Addressing Fawu members in Durban during a march against the impending introduction of a ‘sugar tax’ by government, he indicated that the summit would also discuss the needed health policy measures and the future of jobs before the implementation of the sugar tax next year.  Nazo said:  "The information that we have got is that this sugar tax will affect about 50,000 workers.  herefore, we say we cannot allow that kind of situation to happen.  The unemployment rate is about 27% and if you add on that 27% it will be a problem that this country cannot be able to deal with."

This short report by SABC News


RECRUITMENT / STAFFING

Eastern Cape hospital staff crisis hurts patients

The New Age reports that patients in the Eastern Cape are bearing the brunt of a chronic shortage of health practitioners, including doctors and nurses.  Huge staff shortages and weak primary care are the two most pressing problems for the province.  Unions have voiced their frustrations over the shortages, which they say hampers service delivery and already overburdened staff.  They claim efforts to engage with the health department have drawn a blank, something they say will leave them with no choice but to “down tools”.  Nurses belonging to three trade unions, namely Denosa, the PSA and Hospersa, say the Eastern Cape has a gross shortage of nurses to a point where enrolled nurses even take the risk of running a ward in the absence of a registered nurse.  A union spokesperson said:  “In a country in crisis of gross shortage of hospital staff, we strongly feel that the Eastern Cape is the worst off.”  Eastern Cape health spokesperson Siyanda Manana confirmed the shortage, but said the situation was not peculiar to the Eastern Cape.

Read this report by Indie Boyce in full at The New Age

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Auditor General says ageing workforce in water sector a worry, at News24


REMUNERATION / SALARY ADMINISTRATION

DA wants SmartPurse fired over late payment of Gauteng community health workers

ANA reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for payment provider SmartPurse to be fired following the company’s late payment of community health workers (CHWs) in Gauteng.  DA MPL Jack Bloom reported that the CHWs had been informed that they would not be paid at the end of November and instead would only get their pay on 6 December.  According to the DA, SmartPurse is being paid R87 million to make payouts to about 7,000 CHWs every month for a period of three years.  A Gauteng health department spokesperson said CHWs would be paid by Friday and that they would receive their December stipends before Christmas.  Bloom said the planned late payments were “outrageous” as CHWs only got paid a R2,500 stipend and they had bills to pay like everyone else.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • The average monthly salary in South Africa, before and after bonuses, at BusinessTech
  • How many South Africans earn more than R500,000 a year, at BusinessTech


WORKPLACE CONDITIONS / FRINGE BENEFITS

Food crisis at military bases blamed on new e-procurement system

TimesLive reports that a food supply crisis‚ which potentially affected hundreds of soldiers from military bases across the country‚ was caused by a new government procurement system.  Food to bases in Mpumalanga‚ Gauteng‚ and Limpopo began running low from Sunday‚ with base commanders ordering troops to return home because they could not be fed.  Soldiers‚ who have monies deducted from their salaries for accommodation and food‚ were forced to pay for their own transport home.  Scores who could not afford to go home were left both stranded and hungry.  The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) on Wednesday revealed that a new electronic procurement system had resulted in certain food suppliers being unable to make their deliveries.  Among the bases affected were those situated in Zeerust‚ Doornkop‚ Middelburg and Mafikeng.  The crisis appears for now to have been averted after a meeting was held on Wednesday between the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) and the SANDF.

Read this report by Khanyi Ndabeni‚ Aphiwe Deklerk And Graeme Hosken in full at TimesLive.  See too, Soldiers go hungry due to new electronic procurement system, at News24


RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

RCL Foods to axe half its workforce as cheap poultry imports bite

Reuters reports that RCL Foods will lay off more than half of its workforce after cheaper poultry imports reduced its sales, the producer of poultry and other foods said on Wednesday.  The poultry industry in SA has been battling for survival amid stiff competition from producers in Brazil, the European Union and the United States with industry experts predicting up to 4,000 job losses this year.  RCL Foods, which employs around 2,500 workers at its Hammersdale factory in Kwazulu-Natal, said it will reduce its production by 50% and slash 1,350 jobs.  It was likely to cut even more jobs in the future, the firm said.  The firm’s Scott Pitman commented:  “We are making a big loss as are most of the other big poultry companies in the country at the moment.”

Read this report by Tanisha Heiberg in full at Moneyweb


SKILLS / TRAINING

Porsche to open technician training centre in Cape Town

Engineering News reports that German sports car manufacturer Porsche will, from the middle of next year, train 75 young South Africans from disadvantaged backgrounds as service technicians at its new Porsche Training and Recruitment Centre, in Cape Town.  The course will have a duration of three years.  Those who complete the course may have the opportunity to work at Porsche SA, or at one of its sister brands within the Volkswagen group.  Porsche executive board chair Oliver Blume believes the training centre will provide Porsche SA with the skills it needs to deal with an ever-evolving product portfolio, which now incorporates electric drive and growing digitisation.  SA will be only the second country in the world to open a Porsche Training and Recruitment Centre, with the first located in Manila in the Philippines.

Read this report in full at Engineering News.  See too, Porsche unveils training centre for young Capetonians, at TimesLive


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUNDS

Compulsory contributions to public pension fund will have major implications

Patrick Cairns writes about the new discussion document on social security reform tabled by government at Nedlac last Friday.  The document outlines how the government wants to achieve universal pension fund coverage by implementing compulsory contributions to a “centrally managed public fund” – the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).  Cairns notes that the idea is not new, as a public pension fund was first proposed in 2012, but it now seems to have new impetus.  Ifit is implemented, there could be major implications for the local financial services industry.  The document makes it clear that private vehicles such as pension and provident funds or retirement annuities (RAs) will remain important, but that some things will have to change.  Massive consolidation of pension funds is expected and it is thought that only around 300 of SA’s 3,000-odd funds will survive the introduction of the NSSF.

Read this report in full at Moneyweb

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • FSB ‘went for official who exposed errors’ over deregistration of ‘orphan’ pension funds’, at BusinessLive


MISCONDUCT / CORRUPTION / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Not all of us are corrupt criminals, Sadtu says about ‘jobs-for-cash’ report

News24 reports that teachers' unions appeared before a parliamentary committee on Wednesday and lashed out at the ‘jobs-for-cash’ report, slamming the speed at which it was compiled, the generalisations it contained and some of its recommendations.  They also called for those implicated to be handed over to the police, instead of entire unions being painted with the same brush.  The unions, including Sadtu, Naptosa, Natu, SA Onderwyserunie and the Professional Educations Union, appeared before Parliament's basic education committee on Wednesday.  This was in relation to the ministerial task team's report on the scandal, which stemmed from an investigation into allegations of teacher posts being "sold".  Sadtu has been accused of being involved in the scandal.  The report, Sadtu's Nkosana Dolopi told the committee, painted all of its members as corrupt, as opposed to the ones fingered in the report.  He said the union should not be viewed as corrupt in its entirety.

Read this report by Thulani Gqirana in full at News24.  Read too, Teacher unions not pleased with jobs for cash report, at SABC News.  And also, Cele raak knorrig oor Sadou-verslag, at Netwerk24 (limited access).  As well as, Sadtu: We have not captured the Department of Education, at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • We are no longer garden boys of the DA, says Sadtu, at News24
  • Sadou woedend oor DA se aanmerking, at Netwerk24 (limited access)
  • Senior traffic official arrested De Aar for alleged licensing scam, at News24


COMMUTING

Cape Town train commuters facing major delays on Thursday

eNCA reports that Cape Town train commuters may be facing major delays on Thursday morning.  Vandalism at several Metrorail stations has affected services this week.  In the latest incident, several carriages were torched.  Commuters have been delayed for hours, with only some lines operating.  The organisation is providing buses as a back-up.  Meantime, labour federation Cosatu’s regional secretary for the Western Cape, Tony Ehrenreich, has described Metrorail’s huge train delays as a crisis.

Based on reports at eNCA and EWN


WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES ON WEDNESDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2016

See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at SA Labour News

 

Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News