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 morning roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared on Tuesday, 20 March
and Wednesday, 21  March 2018.


TOP STORY – NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

Minimum wage bill ‘requires more time’ for consideration, could be challenged if rushed through

BusinessLive reports that the implementation of the national minimum wage (NMW) could be postponed after interested parties warned that the process to give effect to the policy was in danger of not passing constitutional muster.  They have cautioned that if the legislation was rushed through Parliament, it risked being sent back by the Constitutional Court.  Now, they have requested that implementation be postponed by at least two months to avoid "humiliation".  The government was planning to enact the bill, giving effect to the NMW in April, with 1 May earmarked for its implementation.  However, indications are that the outstanding legislative processes to be covered in the weeks remaining before the deadline require more time.  MPs and trade unionists have said it would be "madness" if the portfolio committee on labour did not allocate more time for the consideration of public submissions made on the bill, which was discussed in Parliament earlier this week.  The EFF has written to the labour committee chairperson asking that more time be allocated for the process.  The Presidency did not answer questions about a possible postponement.  The Department of Labour could not guarantee the deadline would be met, saying the process was now up to Parliament.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive

Numsa marches on Wednesday against national minimum wage ‘slavery’

ANA reports that hundreds of members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) marched on Wednesday to the Gauteng Legislature in Johannesburg to hand over a memorandum demanding that government should end “slavery” labour laws.  President Cyril Ramaphosa last year signed an agreement to change labour law for the introduction of a national minimum wage for workers – excluding farm workers and domestic workers – of R20 per hour, effective from 1 May 2018.  Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said:  “We will not allow workers to earn R20 and hour while President Cyril Ramaphosa earns over R3 million a year.  If you are a domestic worker, Ramaphosa says you deserve to earn R15 an hour.  If you are a farmworker, he says you deserve to earn R18 per hour.  This is all happening while CEO’s are earning R8,625 per hour.  They are rich because of these workers, yet workers are being told that they deserve to earn slave wages.”  Additionally, Numsa was protesting against proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act that it believes would make it impossible for workers to go on strike.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Companies that can’t afford National Minimum Wage encouraged to apply for exemption

With the implementation date for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) looming, companies and businesses that cannot afford the prescribed R20 minimum wage have urged to apply for exemption with the Department of Labour via the soon to be launched online system.  Addressing employers on the exemption process in Pretoria on Tuesday, the department’s Mathilda Bergmann, Deputy Director: Employment Standards, told employers that exemptions could only be granted if every representative trade union/workers had been meaningfully consulted and all the required information by the system had been provided.  Bergmann emphasised to employers that employees should be provided with a copy of the application and a copy must be displayed at the workplace where it could be read by employees.  The exemption application process did not make provision for manual submissions and the process could only be accessed via the NMW website <www.nmw.dol.gov.za> which would be running in due course.

Read more at SA Govt online


MINING LABOUR

Mantashe not willing to simply scrap revised ‘pro-black’ Mining Charter

ANA reports that new Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that government would not go back to the drawing board on Mining Charter 3, which sets ambitious targets for black ownership of SA’s mines, but was open to amendments.  Addressing journalists, Mantashe was reporting back on a meeting with the mining industry, unions and MPs at the weekend.  “Our view as a department was that we cannot start if there is nothing that has happened.  Here’s Mining Charter 3.  Yes, there’s disagreement.  Here it is, let’s discuss it.  If we must amend or correct certain aspects we’ll do so….”  The meeting with the industry came after the Chamber of Mines put on ice a high court challenge of the third iteration of the Mining Charter at the request of President Cyril Ramaphosa.  Mantashe described the meeting as “constructive”, saying that the meeting had been robust and open and recognised there had been a lack of consultation between the ministry and the partners in the past.  This had contributed to a trust deficit, he said.  Mantashe indicated that two task teams had been set up – one to focus on transformation in the sector and another to “engage on issues of growth and competitiveness”.  The teams have been given three weeks to report back on a “vision for the industry”.  In addition, said Mantashe, the Mining Industry Growth Development and Employment Task Team (MIGDETT) would be revived.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read too, Mantashe briefs media on mining charter, at Business Report. And also, Mantashe not intent on scrapping Mining Charter 3, at Mining Weekly. As well as, Chamber of Mines looks forward to departure from Charter “template”, at Miningmx

Mantashe vague on black mine ownership in mining charter beyond 30%

BusinessLive writes that new Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has muddied the waters around ownership levels in mining at a time when he is setting out to create certainty after years of instability under his predecessor.  At a media conference this week, Mantashe did not give a clear answer on whether the government would push required black ownership of mining companies beyond the 30% that is under negotiation with the industry, labour and communities, and which has increased from the 14-year-old level of 26%.  Mantashe singled out regulatory and policy certainty as a priority task for the start of his tenure.  He was, however, vague when asked whether the 30% target would be nudged up.  The target set out in the controversial, and now suspended, third iteration of the charter that the Chamber of Mines took to court to be reviewed and scrapped was not an issue at weekend talks between the industry and labour, he said.  "There is no problem around the 30%.  That’s it.  Whether we will ever revise that issue is an issue that is ongoing.  My argument is [for] 30% [black ownership].  People were arguing 30% is not substantial and I said to them [at the weekend] 30% is not substantial if it’s against 100%, but if you move to 30% from zero, that is a substantial move,” Mantashe told journalists.  He also said the department was "not married" to the third iteration of the charter, which Zwane suspended after the Chamber of Mines’ legal challenge.  The Chamber broke its silence over the weekend’s talks, conceding they had been "robust".

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive

Solidarity says in-principle agreement reached on some changes to Mining Charter 3

Mining Weekly reports that according to trade union Solidarity, in-principle agreements have already been reached regarding certain changes to the third iteration of the Mining Charter during negotiations held last weekend.  New Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and his deputy Godfrey Oliphant met with industry representatives to discuss the Charter.  Solidarity general secretary Gideon du Plessis indicated:  “During the negotiations, Solidarity emphasised, among other things, the retrenchments that may arise from the charter, as well as the unconstitutionality of the charter’s provisions that appointments must be made on the basis of national demographics and white employees be excluded from employee stock ownership plans (Esops).  In reaction to this, the government representatives acknowledged that the Esop clause was problematic and that it would have a divisive effect among employees.”  He highlighted that, as a result of the weekend’s negotiations, a mining charter task team and a competitiveness task team had been established.  The mining charter task team, comprising representatives of all interested parties, would try to settle as many as possible of the differences between the parties and to produce its first report by 10 April.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly. Read Solidarity’s press statement at Solidarity online


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Four booth operators injured in violent KZN toll worker strike

News24 reports that four toll booth operators were injured on Tuesday in violent attacks at the Mvoti Toll Plaza in KwaDukuza, north of Durban.  According to the police, the operators' protesting colleagues assaulted them.  Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said 50 protesting toll workers, believed to be members of the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), used tyres, tree logs and rocks to barricade the part of the N2 freeway where the plaza is situated.  A structure at the plaza was also burnt, which resulted in a case of malicious damage to property being opened.  The protesters were apparently demanding an increase in salaries.  Police managed to disperse the unruly mob.  There were no arrests and a case of public violence is being investigated.  Satawu members also shut down several toll plazas between Mthunzini and Marianhill on Monday, as part of their protest.

Read this report by Kaveel Singh in full at News24. See too, Four injured in toll booth attack as strike enters day two, at TimesLive

Sanral condemns violence at KZN tollgate

eNCA reports that the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has condemned the use of violence by striking workers at a tollgate in northern KwaZulu-Natal.  In a statement released on Tuesday, the agency said it was saddened by the injury of four temporary workers at the uMvoti toll plaza.  Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said:  “We are deeply disappointed and very concerned about the use of violence by striking workers.  While it is a right to engage in protest action in our constitutional democracy - violence, intimidation and property damage can never be condoned.”  The police are investigating charges of wilful damage to property and Sanral called for stronger law enforcement agencies in the affected area.  The agency also called on employer Intertoll and the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) to find a speedy and amicable solution to their dispute.

Read this report in full at eNCA

Santaco threatens to launch violent Ekurhuleni strike if demands not met in 30 days

EWN reports that the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has given the Ekurhuleni Municipality 30 days to meet its demands, failing which it will launch a violent strike.  Santaco stopped taxi operations in Ekurhuleni, including some parts of Germiston, on Tuesday calling for the resignation of Mayor Mzwandile Masina and his city manager.  Santaco claimed the mayor was the reason the municipality has delayed implementing the Bus Rapid Transit system, which was expected to incorporate taxi drivers.  Santaco’s BJ Mahlangu said:  “We know that there’s a process that the city council must take, hence the 30 days.  Failure to do that we’ll go back to the streets and in this case, we don’t promise peaceful protests.”  The municipality’s MMC for Transport Petrus Mabunda promised a speedy resolution.

Read this report by Hitekani Magwedze at EWN. See too, Santaco taxi strike peaceful, according to Ekurhuleni Metro Police, at News24. And also, Ekurhuleni bosses to meet angry taxi drivers following strike, at Timeslive


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Nehawu in North West marches in Mahikeng on Tuesday against corruption, for better pay

EWN reports that on Tuesday the National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) in the North West marched in Mahikeng against corruption and to call on Premier Supra Mahumapelo to take their demands seriously.  Union members have been staging a go-slow, resulting in little to no work being done in the social development and health departments for several weeks.  The North West government has been plagued by growing complaints of corruption and its head, Mahumapelo, is seemingly at the centre of these allegations.  Nehawu said workers marched in the provincial capital to demand the end of corruption, better pay, performance management payments and improved working conditions.  Other organisations participating in Tuesday’s march included the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) and the Young Communist League.

Read this report by Masechaba Sefularo in full at EWN

Public servants in North West demand to see the back of ‘corrupt’ premier Supra Mahumapelo

ANA reports that public servants from the North West health department demanded on Tuesday that the provincial premier, Supra Mahumapelo, must go.  Hundreds of National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) and Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) members marched to the provincial legislature demanding that Mahumapelo must resign from his position as a premier within 14 days.  In a memorandum they said Mahumapelo ran a corruption-infested administration.  Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) deputy secretary general Solly Phetoe said the workers had taken a resolution that Mahumapelo must go and that Cosatu supported them.  Issues raised included that companies were awarded tenders under dubious circumstances. The SA Communist Party and SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) supported the protest.  But a group of youths dressed in ANC Youth League (ANCYL) T-shirts and wielding sticks tried to block the public servants when they arrived at the entrance to the legislature.  The police managed to isolate the group and used smoke grenades to disperse them.

Read this report in full at The Citizen


PRICES / TARIFFS

Positive surprise as consumer inflation eases to 4% in February

BusinessLive reports that Statistics SA reported on Tuesday that consumer inflation slowed to 4% in February — from 4.4% in January — beating economists’ consensus of 4.2%.  At 4%, inflation is well contained within the SA Reserve Bank’s target range of keeping inflation above 3% but below 6%.  Investec economist Lara Hodes correctly forecast that February’s inflation would moderate to 4%, saying:  "The key influencing factors for the February outcome are expected to be the food and fuel price components.  Fuel price pressures subsided in February, with petrol and diesel prices dipping by 30c and 17c a litre respectively."  The better than expected inflation figure raises hope that the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee will cut interest rates on 28 March.

Read this report by Sunita Menon in full at BusinessLive


RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Productivity SA may be forced to retrench staff amid cash crunch

BusinessLive reports that Productivity SA, the Department of Labour entity responsible for helping struggling companies reverse their fortunes, has found itself in a financial crisis that could force it to retrench staff.  The agency, whose mandate is to promote employment growth and productivity, says its turnaround solutions programme initiative for job retention faces collapse should its cash crunch persist.  Staff have already approached the SA Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union (Saptu) amid indications that the entity will not be able to pay March salaries.  The financial crisis stems from the failure by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), which is a major financial contributor, to transfer R59m it had committed to Productivity SA.  The reason the UIF decided to withhold funds is apparently that the agency had misspent money allocated to it in the past.  This week the Department of Labour transferred R9.7m to help Productivity SA cover its operational costs.  The labour minister’s spokesman, Sthembele Tshwete, said the department would ensure no retrenchments took place at the agency.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

Gender pay gap means women in SA unable to retire comfortably

ANA reports that a report by investment firm 10X Investment shows that enduring pay disparities between males and females mean that many women in South Africa were not able to retire comfortably.  In a report released last week, 10X Investments said 32% of female South Africans were uncertain about their retirement plan, while men were almost 10% more clear on their long-term investment and savings plan.  “The wage gap may go some way to explaining why so many South African women are not prepared for retirement when the time comes around,” Emma Heap of 10X Investments said.  Gender pay gaps between men and women have been commonplace for decades in most countries around the world including SA, for various socio-economic reasons including the fact that women traditionally take time off from their jobs to take care of families.  The 2017 Pulse of the People report run by market research firm Ipsos found that, on average, women in SA earned 27% less than their male counterparts.  The report, which surveyed more than 3,500 employed South Africans across various occupations and regions, found that this gap was even wider among top earners.

Read this report in full at Business Report. Read too, No logic justifies why SA women are paid 23% less than men, at BusinessLIve (paywall access)


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Trade unions welcome Moyane’s suspension at SARS, calling it long overdue

Fin24 reports that trade unions have broadly welcomed the suspension on Tuesday of SA Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Tom Moyane, saying that his tenure directly affected the “economy and the people as a whole”.  “This action was long overdue, after 42-months in which this vital public institution was captured by people milking the [state] of billions of rand and dodging paying tax”, the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said in a statement.  The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) commented that the revenue shortfall this financial year, estimated to be approximately R48bn, should be blamed on Moyane.  The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) welcomed Moyane being placed on suspension, pending a disciplinary process, saying the action ”is what we needed, we hope that this man knows he is dealing with the money of the people of South Africa.”  Moyane was suspended in a scathing letter by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday night in which Moyane was accused of bringing SARS and the entire government into disrepute.  In an earlier letter to Ramaphosa, Moyane had threatened to take legal action against his suspension or dismissal.

Read this report by Tehillah Niselow in full at Fin24. Read too, How Ramaphosa disregarded Moyane’s threats, and suspended him anyway, at BusinessLive

Mashaba sacks senior official in City of Johannesburg

Timeslive reports that City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday that a manager who helped a company without relevant experience land a lucrative contract has been dismissed.  He indicated that the official was a Section 56 Manager and as such an extensive disciplinary process had had to be followed.  A forensic investigation was initiated into the official's conduct after "the discovery of the highly problematic process during the capacitation of the Office of the Ombudsman"‚ the mayor said in a statement.  Arising from the disciplinary hearing‚ the official was found guilty of all charges which included fraud; contravention of Supply Management Policy and of the Municipal Finance Management Act; gross dereliction of duties; and gross negligence in the course of his duties.  Mashaba outlined the circumstances behind the charges which related to the establishment of the call centre for the Office of the Ombudsman.  He said he had instructed the city's group forensics unit to lay criminal charges against the now-dismissed official.

Read this report in full at Timeslive

 


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