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
Thursday, 15 March 2018.


TOP STORY – RAIL SAFETY

Horrific attack on female train driver, Prasa team in Pretoria on Tuesday

ANA reports that a female train driver was stripped naked, hit with a brick and dragged into the thickets during ongoing attacks on Tuesday on trains along the Pretoria to Pienaarspoort corridor.  The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said:  ““Amongst some of the criminality that took place yesterday [Tuesday] includes the senseless attack of Prasa female train driver who was mobbed, hit on the head with a brick, stripped of her clothing and was being dragged to nearby bushes when they (the attackers) were intercepted by Prasa response teams.  An additional ten Prasa employees were also attacked during this incident.”  The agency went on to express its dismay “at the catastrophic levels of crime against its employees and assets.”  CEO Cromet Molepo said:  “The vandalism and criminality is widespread and demands a higher intervention by all interested parties including the community.”  Prasa indicated it was holding a series of meetings with various stakeholders following the attack.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Two men shot on train on East Rand on Wednesday

Timeslive reports that two men were seriously injured after being shot while on a train in Benoni on Wednesday afternoon.  Werner Vermaak, spokesman for ER24, said both men had been on the train when an altercation broke out between one of them and another train commuter.  The commuter involved in the argument allegedly drew his firearm and fired multiple shots at the person he was arguing with‚ critically injuring him.  Another man was caught in the crossfire.  "He was found with a serious gunshot wound to his abdomen.  Both men were treated and stabilised on scene before they were transported to hospital‚" said Vermaak.  It was not immediately clear whether the shooter had been arrested.

A short report by Naledi Shange is at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Train hijackings ‘concern’ regulator, at HTSyndication (The New Age)
  • No official report of train hijacking, says Rail Safety Regulator, at eNCA


MINING LABOUR

Temptation to draw on retirement monies leaves mine employees wanting

Gideon du Plessis, general secretary of Solidarity, writes that as a trustee of a major mining retirement fund, and as a trade union official who is often involved in retrenchment processes, he often notices that mining employees do not provide sufficiently for retirement.  Given that people have a longer life expectancy nowadays, his message to miners is that retirement planning has become all the more important.  But given that career changes are more common in mining these days, too many employees regard resignation or retrenchment as an opportunity to withdraw retirement savings to provide solutions for other financial problems.  Offering voluntary severance packages to employees who are close to retirement has also become the norm in the mining industry.  A severance package paid out as a lump sum often appears very appealing if combined with a pension pay-out.  But, premature withdrawals are most certainly the main destroyer of retirement provisions and the necessity of preservation must be emphasised.  Du Plessis says that it is also not the time to take out all the money and invest it blindly in a business undertaking without seeking expert financial advice because the tendency is for the business to be managed into the ground.

Read this article in full at Miningmx

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Nationalising mines a no-no, Cyril insists, at The Citizen
  • Mining production grew 2.4% in January, more than double the figure expected, at BusinessLive
  • Confusion over two court orders freezing Gupta-linked mine rehabilitation trusts, at Fin24


MARIKANA MASSACRE

Former top cop Mpembe among six men facing Marikana murder charges

Timeslive reports that former North West Deputy Police Commissioner William Mpembe is one of six men facing charges of murder in connection with the 2012 Marikana murders.  Mpembe has been charged with the murders of Thembelakhe Mati‚ Semi Jokanisi‚ Hendrick Monene and Sello Lepaaku on 13 August 2012‚ while the other five have been charged with the murder of Phumzile Sokhanyile.  Mpembe‚ along with three others, Gideon van Zyl‚ Dingaan Madoda‚ and Oupa Pule‚ has also been charged with defeating the ends of justice after they failed to report the death in custody of Modisaotsile Sagalala on 16 August 2012.  They allegedly attempted to pass on Sagala's death as that of Andrew Saffey‚ who died in hospital on 16 August 2012.  Mpembe‚ along with the other five charged with murder, has submitted a formal bail application.  Their matter is in connection with an incident on 13 August 2012‚ in which striking miners were stopped by police while making their way from the Lonmin mine to the Marikana koppie.  The matter against Van Zyl‚ Madoda and Pule has been postponed to 18 June.  Joseph Mathunjwa‚ president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu)‚ on Wednesday said he was disappointed that only nine officers have been arrested.

Read this report by Tankiso Makhetha in full at Timeslive. Read too, More Marikana cops must be charged, says Amcu, at SowetanLive. And also, Marikana cops and guards charged with murder, at Diamond Fields Advertiser


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Gauteng on the brink of mortuary crisis, health department warns in court papers

Sowetan reports that the Gauteng department of health warned in papers filed at the Johannesburg Labour Court on Monday that mortuaries would be plunged into a crisis should workers continue to refuse to dissect corpses.  The department was due to go to court on Thursday in a bid to have the industrial action by forensic officers at 11 mortuaries in Gauteng declared illegal.  Since 7 March, workers have been refusing to dissect bodies, their complaint being that the work was not in their job descriptions and they did not have the necessary training.  The SA Liberated Public Sector Workers Union (Salipswu) accused the department of reneging on a June 2017 agreement to train the workers.  Chief executive for forensic pathology services, Dr Medupe Modisane, said in court papers that the strike could drive mortuaries into crisis mode.  There was a backlog of about 65 bodies on Tuesday, said Modisane, and he expected the numbers to escalate as new bodies were brought in.  Moses Tsotetsi of Salipswu said on Wednesday that workers were not on strike, but were refusing to do work for which they were not trained.  He said workers were performing other duties such as picking up bodies and attending court proceedings.

Read more of this Sowetan report by Zoë Mahopo at SA Labour News

Deal ends water and sanitation strike, even as MPs endorse commission of inquiry

Timeslive reports the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will be subject to a commission of inquiry‚ with officials to face consequences for any negative findings‚ it was announced on Wednesday.  This came even as the department announced that a deal had been struck to end a workers’ strike.  The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) last week announced an indefinite strike at the DWS offices and facilities nationwide over corruption‚ maladministration and unfavourable working conditions.  Demands included that the DWS should cease using contractors in its projects since they were allegedly the gateway to “corruption and looting” in the department.  On Wednesday, the DWS said it had reached an agreement with Nehawu to end the three-day strike.  The deal apparently included agreement to pay outstanding bonuses‚ implementation of new conditions of employment for construction employees‚ a move towards insourcing and setting of deadlines for improved working conditions.  Nehawu confirmed that its members would return to work and indicated that the department had agreed that members would not be docked any pay for the days they were on strike.

Read this report in full at Timeslive. Read too, Move to set up inquiry into collapse of water department, at IOL News


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Health unions to stage protest in Joburg on Friday over unpaid bonuses

Timeslive reports that health trade unions in Gauteng will take to the streets on Friday after the provincial department failed to pay performance bonuses to the workers in the province.  The march‚ to be held in the Johannesburg city centre‚ will go to the provincial premier’s office and the offices of the Gauteng department of health.  The unions‚ which include the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa)‚ the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu)‚ the Public Servants Association (PSA) and the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw)‚ this week staged a sit-in at the office of health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa‚ demanding payment for their members.  The Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) issued a statement on Thursday urging its members “not to participate in the illegal strike” and called for further engagement with the employer regarding the dispute.  Following long discussions with Ramokgopa on Wednesday around the outstanding performance bonuses for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, the unions said in a statement “it became clear that we can't find each other on both items…  Put simply‚ the employer is adamant that they are not going to pay PMDS for last year and this year.”  The unions have threatened that if their demands are not met‚ they will ultimately go on a strike, which could have a catastrophic implication for public health in the province.

Read this report by Penwell Dlamini in full at Timeslive


LABOUR MARKET / JOBS

More unions line up to block Eskom’s deals with IPPs over job concerns

BusinessLive reports that more trade unions have vowed to fight the agreements set to be entered into between Eskom and 27 Independent Power Producers (IPPs).  On Tuesday, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe postponed the signing of contracts with 27 power producers due to a court action brought by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and nongovernmental organisation Transform RSA.  On Wednesday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it would not allow Radebe to go ahead with the plan as it would "perpetuate the stealing of money from SOEs".  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Wednesday that its national protest action scheduled for 20 March would also stand against any potential job losses incurred as a result of IPPs.  At the heart of the disagreements over the IPP contracts is the potential loss of up to 30,000 jobs in coal mining, despite government assurances that the agreements would probably create more than 60,000 jobs.  The contracts are set to offer consumers the choice of using clean and renewable energy instead of coal as a power source.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Greenpeace hammers Numsa over IPP interdict, at News24. And also, NUM welcomes delay in signing of agreements with IPPs, at Mining Weekly

Numsa supports renewable energy, but wants job security

Engineering News reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) on Thursday said its opposition to Eskom’s power purchase agreements with independent power producers (IPPs) was because the State had not consulted workers on the impact of the deal.  Numsa and Transform RSA used the courts on Monday to block the long-awaited signing of agreements with 27 renewable IPPs.  Spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi commented that the union supported the country ending its dependence on fossil fuels, however it was seeking a “just transition”.   She said the union would not sacrifice its member’s livelihoods for the sake of renewable energy.  “The government agreed to these principles and signed the Paris Agreement, which speaks about these principles, but is blatantly ignoring them.  The just transition speaks about social dialogue, social protection, rights at work and employment as indispensable building blocks of sustainability,” Hlubi pointed out.  But, Numsa is of the view that there has been no social dialogue and that government is trying to “bully workers into accepting a decision which is detrimental to their wellbeing”.  Hlubi also said Numsa was not convinced that 61,000 jobs would be created through renewable energy projects, as promised by government, and that those who did not find work would join the ranks of the unemployed, deepening the crisis of unemployment and poverty.

Read this report in full at Engineering News

Townships poised to become major job creators, government adviser reckons

BusinessLive reports that according to Thamsanqa Mazwai, special adviser to the minister of small business, townships have the potential to drive economic growth in SA.  He said at a seminar on the Department of Trade and Industry’s rural and township industrial economic development programme on Wednesday:  "Most people live in townships so the jobs and opportunities must go to where the people are."  Twenty-two million South Africans live in townships and informal settlements, accounting for 38% of working-age citizens, but these areas also account for 60% of the unemployed.  Unemployment in SA reached historical highs of 27.7% in 2017, although the government is confident that with support, townships and informal settlements are poised to become major job creators.  The biggest challenge for economic development in rural and township economies is said to be transforming them from markets to active economies.

Read this report by Sunita Menon in full at BusinessLive


MISCONDUCT / DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Joburg suspends three development planning employees for maladministration

Timeslive reports that the City of Johannesburg’s Department of Development Planning has suspended three officials for alleged maladministration.  The city said this was pending further investigation for refusal to co-operate with the city’s Group Risk and Assurance Services (GRAS) as part of the audits being conducted following the storms which ravaged parts of the city on 30 December last year.  More than 3‚000 houses were damaged in the storms‚ which left two people dead.  Following the storms‚ Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba committed to launching an investigation to determine whether construction at the worst affected homes was up to the appropriate standard.  He said on Wednesday:  “Unfortunately‚ a few seemingly corrupt officials from the Department in Region D were refusing to provide the necessary files with information about damaged houses to the auditors.  They were subsequently suspended.”  He added that a preliminary report indicated that irregular building approvals‚ missing files for various developments‚ a complete breakdown of governance processes and maladministration took place while the suspended officials were in office.

Read this report in full at Timeslive. See too, City of Joburg suspends three development planning employees, at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Double trouble for home affairs official on social media, at The Citizen


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Wheels come off again for Durban’s bus service as diesel runs out

Timeslive reports that the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has slammed the eThekwini municipality for not acting in the interests of residents after the city announced that the private operator running the municipal bus service had run out of diesel again.  The city issued a statement on Wednesday advising commuters of the disruption to the bus service and asking them to make alternative transport arrangements.  They were not able to say when the service would resume.  The outsourced company Tansnat‚ which has a fleet of 450 buses‚ is headed by Jacob Zuma’s nephew Mandla Gcaba.  The relationship between Gcaba and the municipality has at times been acrimonious and hallmarked by court challenges back and forth.  The bus service has been disrupted several times since 2015 with the operator not receiving diesel from its supplier due to alleged financial issues.

Read this report by Jeff Wicks and Yasantha Naidoo in full at Timeslive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page