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 afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Tuesday, 30 January 2018.


TOP STORY

‘Bungled’ minimum wage bill excludes independent contractors and other vulnerable workers

BusinessLive reports that the narrow definition of workers as "employees" used in the National Minimum Wage Bill was not agreed on when the policy was drafted at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).  Labour federations which were part of the negotiations said they were shocked to discover that a broader definition was replaced by a narrower definition of ‘employee’, which would exclude independent contractors among other vulnerable groups of workers.  Cosatu and Fedusa said it appeared the Department of Labour and other government representatives involved in the legislation process had made a blunder by replacing "worker", which was intended to cover those who may fall through the cracks by broadening the definition’s scope, with the narrower "employee", as defined in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.  The federations, along with fellow federation Nactu, have made a joint submission to Parliament arguing that what was reflected in the bill was not what had been decided upon by labour, business and the government at Nedlac.  Cosatu parliamentary leader Matthew Parks said it was "mind-boggling" that a bill which had taken two and half years of Nedlac engagements to conclude, could end up being bungled.

Read this report, by Theto Mahlakoana, which also examines the time pressures to get the bill legislated and implemented by May, at BusinessLive


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Cape Town firefighter killed fighting blaze on Table Mountain slopes

Cape Argus reports that the firefighter who died battling a blaze on the slopes of Table Mountain on Sunday has been identified as 33-year-old Candice Kruger.  She had been stationed at Roeland Street Fire Station and had completed nine years of service.  The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service said she passed away in hospital on Sunday “after collapsing on the fire line on the lower slopes of Table Mountain.  She received medical attention, but efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.  The cause of death has not yet been established.”  In addition to assisting with funeral arrangements and offering trauma counselling to Candice’s relatives and Platoon colleagues, the Service will also be offering the family a full Brigade Funeral as Candice died while serving in the line of duty.

Read this report in full at Cape Argus

Two JMPD traffic officers killed as car of suspected drunk driver crashes into roadblock

Timeslive reports that two Johannesburg metro police officers were killed on Monday night when a suspected drunk driver slammed into the roadblock they were operating.  A paramedic on scene related that the officers had set up a roadblock on the corner of Cambridge and Witkoppen roads, in Sandton, on Monday night.  While the operation was underway, a white Hilux bakkie, travelling at high speed, ploughed through the blockade and slammed into three cars and the two JMPD officers, who were killed instantly.  The driver of the Hilux was reportedly taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving.

Read this report by Alex Patrick in full at Timeslive. Read too, Two JMPD cops killed after alleged drunk driver crashes into roadblock, at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Oudwerker val glo egpaar op plaas aan, at Maroela Media
  • Unprecedented number of MyCiTi buses stoned over the weekend, at News24


MINING LABOUR

Three suspected 'zama zamas' shot dead by police, 14 arrested in Boksburg

News24 reports that three alleged illegal miners, known as zama zamas, were shot dead and 14 others were arrested following a shootout with police in Boksburg on Monday morning.  A fourth man also died, although the circumstances are unclear and he "possibly died of shock".  A post-mortem will be conducted.  Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said police officers and members of the Ekurhuleni Metro Police (EMPD) had been following up information on people who were heavily armed near the Angelo informal settlement in Boksburg.  "On reacting to information, a confrontation between them and the suspects resulted in a shootout.  Police officers were not injured," Dlamini said.  Four rifles, a pistol and explosives suspected to be used by illegal miners were seized.   According to Dlamini, it was the second incident in three months in the same area in which police were involved in a shootout with suspected illegal miners.

Read this report by Iavan Pijoos in full at News24. Read too, Police get into deadly gunfight with zama zamas, at The Star

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Thirteen illegal miners due in court after shootout with police, at EWN


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

Progress shown in ongoing passenger bus sector wage negotiations

Engineering News reports that the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) and four other unions in the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (Sarpbac) on Monday said they would take employers' wage offers to their members for approval.  Last week, the unions met with the two employers’ associations at the bargaining council for the first phase of wage negotiations in the sector.  The minimum basic wage in the sector is currently R6,076.  After little movement initially, the unions made concessions, including reducing the demand for an across the board (ATB) increase from 20% to 16% and cutting the demand for a minimum basic wage from R10,000 to R8,000.  They also undertook to consider payment of yearly bonuses in an employee's birth month rather than December.  In response, employers proposed that the parties sign a three-year wage agreement from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021, with employees initially receiving a 4.7% increase, followed by a 5.2% increase in 2020 and a 5.7% increase in 2021.  Employers also proposed the same ATB increases for the minimum basic wage for the three-year agreement.  They furthermore offered four months maternity at 35% pay for the 2018/19 year, 37% for the 2019/20 year and 40% for the 2020/21 year.  The bargaining council’s second phase of negotiations will be held from 12 to 16 February.

Read this report in full at Engineering News. Read too, Premature to talk about strike action in road passenger sector, says Satawu, at HTSyndication (The New Age)


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Unionised Dis-Chem employees to receive their bonuses by 5 February following protest

SowetanLive reports that the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) has reached an agreement with Dis-Chem after its members downed tools for non-payment of bonuses.  Workers affiliated to Nupsaw picketed last week outside the Dis-Chem warehouse in Midrand‚ claiming employees had been denied recognition and organisational rights.  Nupsaw’s Solly Malema said the union and the company had agreed on the payment of bonuses which were supposed to have been paid in December.  The bonuses will apparently now be paid on or before 5 February.  Malema also reported that the union had been informed that its members were turned away when they reported for work on Monday.  He commented:  “If they dismiss our members for embarking on a legal strike‚ we will take a campaign against them.  They can’t fire workers for being on a legal strike.”  Malema furthermore said the union would be going after Fidelity after reports that the company was exploiting its workers.  “They were busy protecting Dis-Chem‚ now we want to see who will be protecting them when we come after them,” he stated

This report by Nomahlubi Jordaan is at SowetanLive

Rubber bullets fired on Monday during DUT workers' strike

News24 reports that striking Durban University of Technology (DUT) staff members who belong to various unions were met with rubber bullets on Monday when they attempted to disrupt registration processes on campus.  Speaking on behalf of the National Health Education & Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Milton Estrice said the firing of rubber bullets was to be expected.  "This is the third week of the strike and you can expect incidents here and there because of the duration of the strike," he noted, adding that no one had sustained injuries at the scene.  The strike action, which commenced on 15 January, is part of an ongoing salary dispute at the university.  Estrice related that attempts to negotiate with university management on Monday yielded minimal results.  "We are still on strike [and] it has been very silent on management's [side].  Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will be marching through the streets to let the public know what is going on," he indicated.  Yamkela Zamisa, SA Students Congress (Sasco) spokesperson at DUT, said:  Everything is upside down here at DUT and nothing is constructive.  Potential students of DUT are being traumatised by the strike because of the gunshots and things are really bad."

Read this report by Holly Charlton in full at News24. Read too, Day 11 and DUT strike still on, at Daily News. And also, DUT wage strike set to escalate, at The Mercury

Nehawu members down tools at Sol Plaatje University

SABC News reports that members of the National Health Education & Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) have downed tools at Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley.  They are demanding a 10% salary hike and an annual 100% bonus.  The union has accused the university of taking unilateral decisions about bonuses and salaries.  Nehawu’s Mandla Mthembu said:  “The university left us with no choice but to demonstrate through the strike - we received the certificate to strike from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) last year, which for us, that was not the route we wanted to take.  But the university left us with no choice by implementing the so called discretionary bonus and the discretionary increment for this academic year.”

This report by Refilwe Gaeswe is at SABC News

Wits and unions fail a meeting on Monday to clinch deal to end wage strike

GroundUp reports that negotiations between University of Witwatersrand (Wits) management and workers’ unions ended in a stalemate on Monday.  The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the majority union at Wits, and the National Health Education & Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) represented the workers at the meeting.  The strike started on Tuesday last week, with the workers demanding a 12% increase in salaries and Wits offering 8%.  While the negotiations were taking place, about 200 workers waited for Wits management to sign an agreement that had apparently been reached on the weekend.  The agreement was that workers in lower level positions would receive a 9.2% increase while the higher level positions would receive a 7.8% increase.  But, Nehawu’s Sam Mangena reported back to them that there were some “discrepancies” in the agreement Wits management had drafted so it had to be sent to the unions’ lawyers to examine.  One discrepancies was that workers would not be paid for time on strike.  Another related to the union’s demand that salaries be harmonised.   Mangena cautioned workers about the fact that Wits had obtained an interdict prohibiting workers from threatening staff and students and from blocking entrances.  According to Nehawu’s Columbus Ncuthe, the unions and Wits management had indeed agreed on the salary increases, but had not agreed that the entry level workers should earn at least R124,000 per annum.

Read this report by Zoë Postman in full at GroundUp. See too, Universities and staff locked in wage talks, on page 2 of The Star of 30 January 2018

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Wits lecturer suspended after allegedly labelling striking workers 'monkeys', at Timeslive


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Students 'lock in' Unisa staff members in Durban demanding 24 hour work for registrations

The Mercury reports that students at the University of SA (Unisa) “locked in” staff members at the Durban campus on Monday afternoon demanding that they should work for “24 hours” to register the waiting students.  The students allegedly blocked the staff gate to prevent staff members from leaving. Police were reported called.  Unisa has just emerged from a week-long wage strike by staff members led by Nehawu, which led to many students being unable to register.  SRC Treasurer Nkanyiso Zwide distanced the student body from what happened and said:  “We do not agree with a situation where staff members are expected to work for 15 hours because that could lead to staff making mistakes that could also lead to students not being able to graduate.  The agreement we have with the university is that they will increase the staff complement to assist with the registration.”

Read this report by Thami Magubane at The Mercury. Read too, Long queues at Unisa's Sunnyside campus as a result of strike, at Pretoria News


REMUNERATION / SALARY ADMINISTRATION

Denel can pay staff until March, but needs a long-term liquidity solution

BusinessLive reports that state-owned arms manufacturer Denel has managed to pay creditors and employees over the past two months, but still needs to find a long-term solution to its liquidity crunch, the company’s executives said on Tuesday.  Denel, which faced a cash crisis in December when there were reports it would not be able to pay salaries, is engaging with the Department of Public Enterprises and Treasury to address its liquidity problems and, in the short term, is investigating the possibility of selling assets to generate some cash.  On Tuesday, Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe and chief financial officer Odwa Mhlwana replied to questions by members of Parliament’s public enterprises committee on recent developments in the company.  Ntshepe said Denel did not have a problem paying salaries in January and would not have a problem paying them in February and March, "but the issue of liquidity in Denel is a serious matter which has existed for a long time.  Denel has never really made serious money".  "We are focusing on creating solutions to the inability to create sufficient cash flows to sustain the business,” Mhlwana said.

Read this report by Linda Ensor in full at BusinessLive


BASIC EDUCATION

Teachers, principal implicated in Reiger Park High sex scandal removed

ANA reports that Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said on Tuesday that all implicated teachers and officials involved in the Reiger Park High School sex scandal have been removed from the school and an investigation has begun against the principal.  The school was rocked by the alleged sex scandal after videos and pictures of the principal having sex with different girls in his office made the rounds on social media.  Three teachers were also identified on the videos.  "The difficulty is that we need the victims to work with us," the MEC said during a briefing at the school.  Lesufi also advised that the department was working on converting the principal's resignation to dismissal to ensure that he was not able to work for the department again.  The police said no charges had been laid yet as they were still trying to identify victims.  The images and videos were apparently taken three years ago.

Read this report by Lindi Masinga in full at IOL News. See too, Teachers implicated in Reiger Park school sex scandal removed, at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ouers sluit skool se deure oor vakante poste, at Netwerk24 (limit on access)


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION / CORRUPTION

Joburg official fired after swindling Cosmo City community over ‘free’ nursing classes

Timeslive reports that Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba announced on Monday that an employee was dismissed after allegedly being involved in a scam which swindled residents of Cosmo City.  The scam started when Ekhaya Health Centre‚ a training college‚ approached Cosmo City Multipurpose Centre in order to obtain the use of the centre for the provision of nursing classes which were to be offered to the community.  Services offered through the City’s community centres are free to the public, so the agreement with Ekhaya was that their training would also be free.  After a few months it emerged that the now former city employee had colluded with Ekhaya management to demand money from prospective students.  Seven students paid R36,000 for training‚ but never completed their studies after classes were suspended.  The former employee allegedly received R18,000 as part of the deal.  Mashaba has demanded an explanation as to why the employee was allowed to tender a resignation and serve notice rather than face a disciplinary hearing, while the city will seek to open a criminal case.

Read this report by Neo Goba in full at Timeslive


WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES ON MONDAY, 29 JANUARY 2018

See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Monday, 29 January 2018 at SA Labour News

 

Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News