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, 27 March 2018.


Solidarity’s Labour Market Index continued its slow climb higher in fourth quarter of 2017

Engineering News reports that trade union Solidarity on Monday released its Labour Market Index (LMI) for the fourth quarter of 2017 (Q4 2017).  The LMI, which forms part of the SA Labour Market Report compiled in collaboration with ETM Macro Advisors, is an indicator of job and wage security in the SA labour market.  At an almost neutral level of 49 (up from 48 in Q3 2017) the index for Q4 2017 indicated that both positive and negative forces were impacting on the SA labour market.  It was based on data compiled before the major political events – the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as President, a Cabinet reshuffle and the controversial Parliamentary motion on land expropriation without compensation – of the first quarter of this year.  The index for the first quarter of this year will take into account recent political developments and may give a better reading on how political trends are impacting on job and wage security, as well as business confidence.  According to Solidarity Research Institute’s senior economics researcher Gerhard van Onselen, the bottom line was that SA was currently experiencing a moderate economic recovery, supported by better global economic growth and improving political sentiment, but weighed down by structural policy impediments.  He added that while business cycle conditions stood somewhat firmer in the fourth quarter of last year compared with 2016, recent business cycle scores still indicated tough business conditions.

Read this report in full at Engineering News. Access the Labour Market Report in full at Solidarity online


Ramaphosa launches YES initiative to provide work experience for over a million in next three years The Citizen reports that on Tuesday President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched the Youth Employment Service (YES), an initiative that aims to see more than one million young South Africans being offered paid work experience over the next three years.  Ramaphosa said 330,000 jobs would be created a year for young people as a way to address youth unemployment in the country.  The initiative takes the form of a partnership – led by Ramaphosa – between government, business, labour and civil society and it has three channels through which employment opportunities can occur.  It will be spread throughout the country and will not be confined to urban areas.  Gauteng Premier David Makhura welcomed the decision to use his province as the testing ground for the initiative.  He said YES would partner with the provincial government’s Tshepo 1 million initiative, which has given opportunities to youth in the province by providing training in areas demanding specific jobs.  The service’s CEO, Tashmia Ismail-Saville, called on small, medium and large companies to offer work experience even if it was for one young person or a thousand of them.  She added that several businesses have made pledges to actively take part in the initiative.

Read this report by Makhosandile Zulu in full at The Citizen. Read too, Youth Employment Service will improve youths prospects of employment, says Ramaphosa, Business Report. And also, Cyril Ramaphosa says Yes initiative could create 500,000 jobs for youth, at BusinessLive

US steel and aluminium tariffs a risk for local jobs, Rob Davies warns

Fin24 reports that Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has warned that recently announced US tariffs on steel and aluminium products could present a risk to local jobs.  He was briefing the media on Monday about the country’s position on the African Continent Free Trade Area, and the US metal tariffs.  The duties, which came into effect last Friday, include a 10% tariff on the imports of aluminium, and a 25% tariff on imports of steel into the US.  The Department of Trade and Industry said on Friday that SA would be requesting to be exempted from the tariffs.  Davies noted that SA steel and aluminium products accounted for less than 2% of US imports.  “We are a small part of US markets.  Our products are not a major part of the overall export market,” he pointed out.  However, a few SA companies will be significantly impacted by the tariffs, putting jobs at risk.  In the case of steel companies, the tariffs will affect niche jobs, while the biggest risk of job losses will be in the local aluminium sector.  The US government will consider whether SA companies would be willing to negotiate a quota for steel exports to the US.  A decision will be taken before the end of April on whether SA can be exempted.

Read this report by Lameez Omarjee and Jan Cronje in full at Fin24. Read too, Davies hopes quotas will help SA avoid Trump duties, at BusinessLive. And also, SA steel and aluminium producers move to counter effects of Trump’s import tariffs, at Daily Maverick

Stats SA reports economy added 81,000 jobs between September and December 2017

Fin24 reports that according to Statistics SA's latest Quarterly Employment Statistics survey (QES survey), South Africa added some 81,000 non-agricultural jobs between September and December 2017.  Employment increased by 81,000, from 9,716,000 in September 2017 to 9,797,000 in December 2017.  This corresponds favourably to a year-on-year increase of 18,000 or 0.2% between December 2016 and December 2017.  The most notable quarterly increases were seen in trade (56,000), business services (29,000), community services (21,000) and manufacturing (4,000).  Jobs decreased in construction (-19,000), mining and quarrying (-7,000) and transport (-3,000).  As in previous years, the economic sector employing the most South Africans was "community, social and personal services" where 2,626,000 people worked.  This sector includes government departments, defence and police, education, health, religious organisations, film and the arts.  Stats SA indicated that as of November 2017 average monthly earnings were R20,004.

Read this report in full at Fin24

Growing tourism industry vital to SA economy

The New Age reports that tourism directly employed 686,596 people in 2016, an increase of 2.7% or 17,945 employees compared with 2015, a Statistics SA report indicated on Monday.  Tourism’s share of total employment increased from 4.2% in 2015 to 4.4% in 2016.  Its direct gross value added increased from R99,348m in 2015 to R114,850m in 2016, a 156% increase.  Direct gross domestic product increased from R108,683m in 2015 to R125,136m in 2016, a 15.1% increase.  At the 2018 International Travel Trade Show in Berlin this month, SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona said tourism was vital to the SA economy, and that the sector should be nurtured for sustained and inclusive growth.  “Despite the challenges that tourism has endured over the last few years, it outperformed other key industries in terms of job creation, adding just over 40,000 net new jobs to the economy over the five-year period from 2012 to 2016,” Stats SA indicated.  The tourism sector’s 686,596 employees outnumber the respective work forces of utilities (118,000 employees) and mining (444,000 employees).  The growing number of people employed in tourism is said to provide some backing to Ntshona’s comment in Berlin that youngsters should consider the sector when exploring career opportunities.

Read the original this report by The New Age in full at SA Labour News. See too, ‘Tourism has a big role to play in creating jobs’, on page 8 of The New Age of 27 march 2018


Labour Minister confirms that national minimum wage law will miss 1 May deadline

BusinessLive reports that Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant confirmed on Monday evening that it would not be possible to implement the new national minimum wage legislation on the envisaged date of 1 May because the parliamentary process will not be completed by then.  The minister updated media on progress on the National Minimum Wage Bill, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill being considered by Parliament’s portfolio committee on labour.  She said the bills were highly contested and “it has become apparent that the ambition for the National Minimum Wage Bill to become law by May 1 2018 may not be practical given the high volumes of public submissions.”  The bills, the minister said, were now under the authority of Parliament and the executive no longer had any control of these processes.  The department is due to give its response to public submissions on the bill on Wednesday and then the committee will consider the proposals received.  The bill also has to be processed by the National Council of Provinces.  Regulations to the bill would also still have to be prepared and then promulgated.

Read this report by Linda Ensor in full at BusinessLive. Read too, No minimum wage deal by Workers' Day, Oliphant tells reporters, at Fin24

Labour Ministry unsure of new date for implementation of national minimum wage

EWN reports that the Labour Ministry is unsure about when the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) will be implemented.  Minister Mildred Oliphant indicated at a press conference on Monday that it would not be possible to introduce the NMW on 1 May as announced by then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa last year and again in his State of the Nation Address as president in February.  She indicated that a new time frame for the introduction of the minimum wage was now totally dependent on Parliament.  Parliament goes into recess this week and is still considering public submissions on three interrelated bills that will give effect to the NMW of R20 an hour.  The Minister indicated that, even when the bills were passed by both houses of Parliament, it might be necessary to review the regulations drafted by Nedlac depending on any changes to the bills made during the Parliamentary process.

Read this report by Lindsay Dentlinger in full at EWN

Cosatu disappointed after national minimum wage implementation date is pushed back

ANA reports that labour federation Cosatu said on Tuesday it was disappointed that Parliament and the government would not be ready to implement the long-delayed national minimum wage (NMW) by 1 May.  Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Monday her department would not be able to implement the NMW on the set date because parliamentary processes had not been finalised due to the high volumes of both written and oral public submissions.  Cosatu said it had repeatedly raised its concerns that the delays in negotiations at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and at Parliament were putting the 1 May implementation date at risk.  The National Minimum Wage Bill, together with the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendments Bill, were referred by the cabinet to Parliament in November 2017 and are currently being considered by Parliament’s portfolio committee on labour.  Cosatu said it had always felt that insufficient time was given to Parliament to pass these three critical bills.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Saftu’s Vavi slams proposed R20 per hour national minimum wage

The Citizen reports that general secretary of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), Zwelinzima Vavi, said on Tuesday that it was an indictment for unions and formations representing marginalised people that half of the country’s workforce earned below R3,400.  Speaking on Radio 702, Vavi said Saftu did not agree with rival federation Cosatu that the proposed R20 per hour national minimum wage (NMW) was a good start and a step in the right direction.  Cosatu said on Tuesday it was disappointed that parliament and the government would not be ready to implement the long-delayed NMW by 1 May.  The NMW envisages that farmworkers and domestic workers would get a rate of R18 an hour and R15 an hour respectively and that this would be raised to R20 an hour within two years of implementation.  Vavi said the fact that so many workers in the country earned a pittance was the reason why SA had become the most unequal society in the world.  He said the fact that Cosatu welcomed the NMW meant the federation was captured and had abandoned the interests of farm and domestic workers.  “We are happy that the implementation of this minimum wage has been postponed,” Vavi said.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Parliament: The Unravelling of the National Minimum Wage Bill, at Daily Maverick


Mine worker dies after falling onto conveyor belt at De Beers’ Venetia mine

ANA reports that a female employee was crushed to death after she fell onto a conveyer belt at De Beers’ Venetia diamond mine in Limpopo.  Police spokesperson Brigadier Motjafela Mojapelo said the incident happened on Sunday.  ”The conveyer belt ultimately dragged her into a stone scrubber where her body was found trapped between the rocks with multiple wounds.  A case of culpable homicide has since been opened,” Mojapelo indicated.  The employee has been identified as 31-year-old Maggie Dimakatso Semata.  Venetia mine is in Alldays, 80kms outside the town of Musina.

This short report is at The Citizen

Postings on Mining Charter

  • Department of Mineral Resources moving swiftly to finalise Mining Charter, says Mantashe, at EWN

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Platinum mines in SA — the world’s top producer — are shrinking, at BusinessLive


ANC Youth League supports strike by toll plaza workers in KZN

ANA reports that the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the Greater KwaDukuza region in KwaZulu-Natal province said on Tuesday it supported a protracted strike at tolling company Intertoll.  Workers affiliated to the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) downed tools at the firm last Monday, demanding salary increases from R2,900 to R6,000 a month, and also that the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) take over management.  Intertoll is contracted to Sanral to manage four of its toll plazas, including the Mvoti Toll Plaza on the N2 in Groutville.  During the strike that turned violent last week, workers burned down the Mvoti toll office.  On Monday, the strike caused major traffic delays during peak-hours at the toll plazas on the N2 between Mtunzini and Tongaat as well as on the N3 at Mariannhill, near Pinetown.  The ANCYL said it stood in solidarity with the workers, and condemned what it called the exploitation of young black locals who only occupied junior positions at the company.  It added that workers should only resume work once an amicable solution was reached.

Read this report in full at The Citizen


Anxious staff at former Gupta-owned media outlets consider go-slow over pay delays

ANA reports that journalists at former Gupta-owned ANN7 news channel and The New Age newspaper were on Tuesday considering a go-slow because they had not been paid.  Affected staffers said management repeated the same ”excuse” they received last month about a “technical glitch” when the payment of salaries were delayed.  In February, employees faced the possibility of not receiving salaries, but were later paid in “batches” between the 26th and 27th of the month.  ”Jimmy [Mzwanele] Manyi hides in his office away from staff.  It is the same painful experience as last month when we waited to get paid … meanwhile unpaid debit orders pile up, and will cost us more money in penalties … we are demoralised and just tired of these episodes,” said one employee at the Midrand head office.  The fugitive Gupta brothers sold the media house to Manyi’s Lodidox last year through vendor financing.  This suggested the Guptas loaned Manyi the money to buy their media entities.

Read this report in full at The Citizen


SA Qualification Authority goes digital for faster processing of foreign qualifications

BusinessLive reports that the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on Monday launched a digital certificate of evaluation as a pilot to benefit holders of qualifications obtained in other countries.  The digital certificate reduces the lead time it takes to reach the qualification holder because it can be shared in real-time and can be verified in real-time as evidence to support applications for further studies, visas, employment, registration or professional licensing in SA.  SAQA is responsible for evaluating foreign educational qualifications to determine their South African equivalence.  Professionals including doctors who obtained their qualifications from outside the country have often expressed frustration at the red tape and time involved in having their certificates verified.  The digital certificate will come together with a digital seal, which can be embedded in e-mail signatures, social media profiles and websites so that holders can showcase their qualifications.

Read this report by Bekezela Phakathi in full at BusinessLive


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page