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, 24 April 2018.


TOP STORY – SAFTU NATIONAL STRIKE ON WEDNESDAY

Saftu takes aim at Cyril over national minimum wage, changes to labour law

The Citizen reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa is in the firing line of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), which has accused him of using his old Marikana-style anti-strike tactics as he introduces the national minimum wage (NMW) and amendments to labour law.  Saftu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said the proposed NMW and the rules governing strikes, secret ballots and picketing by workers smacked of Ramaphosa’s attitude as then director at Lonmin Platinum mine.  The president had been associated with having influenced the 2012 Marikana massacre in which at least 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead by police.  Vavi said Ramaphosa’s government was hell-bent on suppressing any strike of the same magnitude as the Marikana action in his pursuit of labour market stabilisation.  Saftu and its affiliates will embark on a general strike on Wednesday to protest the NMW and the amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA).  Vavi described the proposed NMW of R20 per hour and the strike-related amendments as a “most frontal attack” on workers.  The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is among unions strongly supporting Wednesday’s national action.  Saftu has invited all the unions affiliated to Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu federations to join the strike on Wednesday.

Read this report by Eric Naki in full at The Citizen

Cosatu won’t be joining Saftu’s general strike on Wednesday, supports minimum wage

ANA reports that labour federation Cosatu on Tuesday distanced itself from a planned national strike against the proposed national minimum wage (NMW) and strike-related amendments to labour laws.  Cosatu’s rival, the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) will be embarking on a general strike on Wednesday over what it termed “the biggest attacks on working-class people, trade unions and the poor” since the end of apartheid.  Saftu has urged unions aligned to Cosatu to also join.  But Cosatu said it was concerned by “misleading statements” from some Saftu leaders over its participation.  “We want to make it clear that … Cosatu is not part of the planed strike.  We condemn the mischievous attempt to confuse our members by Saftu.  Cosatu supports the national minimum wage and we have no reason to strike over something that will benefit the workers,” it said in a statement.  It went on to say:  “The minimum wage will be a huge achievement that will see wages rise for the 47 percent of workers, or six million, who earn less than R20 an hour currently.  This represents the foundation that will help us build towards the goal of a living wage.”

Read this report in full at The Citizen. See too, Cosatu happy with labour changes, at SowetanLive

Fedusa rejects Saftu’s call to join ‘self-serving’ nationwide strike

The Citizen reports that the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) has rejected calls by the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to join a nationwide strike on Wednesday, which Fedusa has described as self-serving.  Saftu called for the strike action in all major cities against the introduction of the national minimum wage and certain amendments to the labour laws.  “It can never be legitimate to allow highly irresponsible grandstanding to undermine lot of hard work that was put in by organised labour represented by Fedusa, Cosatu and Nactu and the social partners of business and government at Nedlac over a two year period in negotiating a minimum floor of wages in order to lift millions of vulnerable South African workers out of abject poverty,” Fedusa said in a statement.  It added that the planned strike would counter efforts that had been made to address challenges such as the high unemployment rate, low economic growth and country’s economy being downgraded junk status or sub-investment grade.  Saftu members are expected to take to the streets on Wednesday morning in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, Durban, and East London, to march to department of labour offices.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Free State bus company calls off services on Wednesday due to Saftu general strike

ANA reports that Interstate Bus Lines, which operates from Bloemfontein, said on Tuesday it had taken a decision to temporarily stop all bus operations on Wednesday due to the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) national general strike.  In a statement, Inter State said one of the main Saftu events was planned for Bloemfontein and that due to safety considerations it was decided to suspend services on Wednesday.  The company will, however, resume operations on Thursday, as commuters in the greater Bloemfontein area have limited alternative transport options.  The call for a Saftu strike comes amid a national strike by bus drivers that had caused chaos in cities across the country since last week.  Government has urged stakeholders involved in the bus industry to speedily find a solution and resolve the wage negotiations impasse.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Saftu strike aims to bring country to standstill, at EWN
  • Wednesday’s mega strike is a ‘battle for survival’ for workers and their families, at City Press
  • How Saftu's strike will affect Durbanites, at Daily News
  • Saftu: National strike will be peaceful, at EWN
  • Numsa joins Saftu for Wednesday strike, at eNCA

INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Talks expected to restart as national bus strike enters its seventh day on Tuesday

News24 reports that with the country seven days into the crippling nationwide bus strike, government was expected to intervene on Tuesday hoping to break the wage negotiation deadlock.  The SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) confirmed that parties would re-enter negotiations, this time facilitated by the Department of Labour.  Negotiations were expected to resume at 15:00.  Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabelo said that, while unions were optimistic, reaching an agreement would be a difficult task.  Bus employers and unions failed to resolve a deadlock last week during a two-day meeting under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).  Bus workers have been engaged in a nationwide strike since last Wednesday.  Workers are demanding a 9.5% salary increase in the first year and 9% in the second year of a two-year deal.  They were initially demanding 12%.  Commuters have been hard hit, with thousands flocking to jam-packed taxi ranks.  Meanwhile, technical issues with Metrorail's northern train services in Cape Town were resolved following their suspension, the rail company said on Tuesday morning.

Read this report by Kaveel Singh in full at News24

End to seven-month strike by municipal workers leaves Port St Johns strewn with garbage

GroundUp reports that municipal workers returned to work in Port St Johns on Monday after an on-off strike that lasted seven months‚ leaving the town strewn with garbage.  They had been on an intermittent strike since last year‚ demanding the dismissal of the municipal manager and the implementation of wage promises they said were not kept.  SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) spokesperson Andile Bara said the problems started in 2013 when seven Samwu shop stewards were fired after a strike over wages.  The workers returned to work after a meeting between Samwu‚ representatives of the Department of Cooperative Governance‚ the municipality and the tourism industry.  The workers were promised that their grievances would be investigated.  The strike had left the scenic coastal tourist town looking like a rubbish dump.  Businesses in the town have complained about the condition of the streets, with one owner saying:  “Tourists just drive through and you cannot blame them.  Who wants to stay in this filthy town?”  Another manager said it would take the town a long time to recover.

Read this report by Asanda Maliwa and Wara Fana in full at GroundUp

'This could be worse than Life Esidimeni', say 73 concerned doctors on North West health crisis

Timeslive reports that the health crisis in the North West could end up being worse than the Life Esidimeni tragedy‚ according to a group of doctors.  The 73 doctors have penned an emotional plea for urgent action in the province‚ which has been crippled by protests and a nurses’ strike.  “This cannot go on as we are concerned about methods used which include closure of health care facilities that affect the health of our society…  The grievances of the striking employees are valid and supported‚ however the modus operandi is condemned‚ particularly the shutting down of health service provision,” the letter reads.  The doctors said the crisis had been fuelled by a number of factors‚ including corruption‚ job freezes‚ skills shortages and outsourcing.  They noted that the striking workers had shut the main medical depot‚ leading to a shortage of medication and other supplies.  Furthermore‚ some hospitals and clinics had been closed‚ while striking staff had also intimidated their colleagues and forced them to abandon patients.  The doctors called for the immediate reopening of healthcare facilities‚ including main medical stores‚ the unfreezing of posts‚ employing adequate numbers of qualified staff‚ and paying the outstanding bills of suppliers.  At least 144 psychiatric patients died after 1‚711 mentally ill people were moved from Life Esidimeni homes to ill-equipped and underfunded NGOs in 2016 in Gauteng.

Read this report by Kgaugelo Masweneng in full at Timeslive

QUALIFICATIONS / STANDARDS

Soccer clubs must use qualified security staff, says PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza

The Citizen reports that Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairperson Irvin Khoza on Monday emphasised the need for clubs to hire properly qualified personnel to deal with security during matches.  He was responding to Saturday’s riot by Kaizer Chiefs supporters at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, where 18 people were injured, television equipment damaged and seats in the stands set on fire.  A security guard was beaten unconscious, with Khoza confirming that this was a man – 32-year-old Sabela Maziba – and not a woman, as initially reported.  “It is very important to know what kind of security, and category, qualification and training you must employ.  All those are part of the compliance of the PSL, which require a certain level of qualification.  So we are going through all of that to make sure that everybody is ready,” Khoza said.  He added that it was important to hire a risk manager who had proper qualifications and who knew about risk, safety and security.  Meanwhile, the South African Football Association (Safa) released a statement on Monday condemning Saturday’s violence.

Read this report by Tshepo Ntsoelengoe in full at The Citizen. Read too, Probe launched into police conduct at Moses Mabhida Stadium, at eNCA

RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

Public Servants Association hails 'productive' meeting with PIC

Business Report writes that a meeting on Monday between the Public Servants Association (PSA) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) reportedly yielded numerous positive results for public servants.  The meeting followed requests by the PSA for PIC disclosure of information related to investments made on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and resulted in the PIC indicating its willingness to disclose information related to unlisted investments in due course.  The corporation further indicated its willingness to research possibilities for products that would benefit public servants, which might include housing and education support at market-related rates.  PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks hailed the productive meeting between the two, saying:  "The PSA has appreciation for the PIC’s willingness to address our concerns to allay public servants’ fear related to their pension investments".  Fredericks also welcomed the PIC’s stance on the possible amendment of the PIC Act to include union representatives on its board of directors.

Read this report in full at Business Report

PIC and GEPF reject legislative proposals that would ensure more disclosure

BusinessLive reports that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) are resisting proposed amendments to the Public Investment Act that would ensure greater transparency, including the annual compulsory disclosure of all the corporation’s listed and unlisted investments.  The PIC is the asset manager of the GEPF and the largest investor in SA.  For the past few years, the PIC has agreed under pressure to disclose its unlisted investments.  The bills proposed by Parliament’s finance committee and by DA finance spokesman David Maynier include clauses providing for the compulsory annual submission of all listed and unlisted investments to the minister of finance for tabling in Parliament.  But, a Treasury response to the proposals, which incorporated the views of the PIC and the GEPF, was distributed on Monday and indicated as follows:  "The PIC as asset manager should not be compelled to disclose information about another entity [that is its clients] and that are also the assets owners [for example, the GEPF] without consent."  Maynier found it "absolutely staggering" that the PIC and the GEPF had done an about turn and were now opposing greater transparency.  The Treasury-PIC-GEPF response also opposed an amendment that would give Parliament a say in the appointment of the PIC’s chairman and opposed trade union representation on the PIC board.

Read this report by Linda Ensor and Nick Hedley in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Benefits to keeping retirement savings in a preservation fund, at BusinessLive

MISCONDUCT / CORRUPTION / CRIME

Gauteng Hawks arrest five workers of cash delivery company for R30m heist

News24 reports that five employees of a cash delivery company have been arrested in connection with a cash-in-transit heist earlier this month.  The men, aged between 30 and 48, were arrested for their role in a heist on 13 April during which R30m was stolen.  The gang targeted an armoured cash vehicle which had left a depot in Spartan, east of Johannesburg, en route to Selby.  But before it got to its destination, the vehicle stopped in Kensington.  The armoured vehicle was opened from the back and three men took money bags from it and fled with about R30m in cash.  The guards then drove away only to alert the employer about the 'robbery' a few kilometres away from the scene.  They were subsequently found unconscious and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment where it was established that they had apparently drunken soft drinks spiked with an unknown substance.  Police are still looking for four other suspects, one of whom was the driver of the armoured vehicle.

Read this report by Jan Bornman in full at News24

 


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