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
Monday, 7 May 2018.


MINING LABOUR

NUM to engage Sibanye-Stillwater as SA mine deaths soar to 31 this year

News24 reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Sunday said it would engage the management of Sibanye-Stillwater following the recent deadly incidents at its mines, which have pushed the national toll to 31 fatalities so far this year.  The union’s Health and Safety Secretary, Eric Gcilitshana, said:  “We have noted the increasingly poor safety record at the mines, particularly at Sibanye.  As the union we will be calling for discussions with the mine to raise our concerns.  There have been far too many fatalities at Sibanye mines, notably this year alone.”  Last Thursday’s incident was caused by a seismic event at Sibanye’s Masakhane mine and claimed the lives of seven workers.  It followed the killing of two mineworkers at Sibanye’s Kloof mine in February after a fall-of-ground.  Early this year, 955 miners were temporarily trapped at another Sibanye mine in Welkom, after an electric cable outage during a storm.  All the workers were safely rescued.  Trade union Solidarity has also expressed "grave concern" about safety in SA mines in the wake of the Sibanye tragedy.  "Solidarity reminds employees of their legal right to withdraw from unsafe working conditions, and urges them to do so should it be necessary," the union said in a statement.

Read this report by Sibongile Khumalo in full at Fin24. Read Solidarity’s statement at Solidarity News

Memorial service to be held on Thursday as operations resume at Sibanye mine

Timeslive reports that precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater said on Monday that a memorial service would be held on Thursday at the mine where seven workers died last week.  On Thursday 13 workers were trapped underground at the Driefontein operations’ Masakhane mine, close to Carletonville, after three seismic events.  Six miners were rescued alive and were currently recovering in hospital in a stable condition.  Thursday has been declared a day of mourning at Driefontein‚ which will coincide with a memorial service.  Employees will also observe a day of mourning on Friday.  Funeral services will be held on Saturday.  Operations at Driefontein resumed on Saturday.  CEO Neal Froneman said that, together with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and other stakeholders‚ they would be conducting a comprehensive investigation into the incident‚ in order to establish the cause and to determine what actions needed to be taken to ensure it never happened again.

Read this report in full at Timeslive. See too, Parliament sends condolences to families of Sibanye mineworkers, at News24. And also, Operations resume at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein mine after fatalities, at eNCA

Amcu says Driefontein's Masakhane shaft should be closed after miners' deaths

EWN reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has demanded the closure of the Masakhane shaft at Sibanye-Stillwater's Driefontein operations where seven workers died last week after seismic events.  Thirteen miners were trapped underground following a rockfall on Thursday, seven of whom subsequently died.  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said that the shaft should not be operating.  "No worker should be allowed to enter that mine shaft until all the safety issues have been addressed,” he indicated.  He also claimed that mining companies did not care about the lives of the workers and he urged government to take more action against the owners.  Meanwhile, the families of the seven miners who died in the rockfall are demanding answers.  Several other workers were injured in the fall of ground last Thursday.  The mine's James Wellsted said:  "We do provide significant support and ongoing counselling to all of the families and their loved ones and over the course of the next week or so, we'll be discussing how the mourning will take place, the burial and the ongoing support for the families."

This report by Masego Rahlaga is at EWN


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Truck driver critical after crash into another truck on N3 near Marianhill Toll Plaza

Daily News reports that a crash early on Monday morning involving two trucks on the N3 just before the Marianhill Toll Plaza left one person in a critical condition.  Rescue Care paramedics indicated that two other people also sustained injuries.  The roadway was closed to allow a rescue helicopter to land to transport the critically injured patient to the closest hospital for emergency attention.  It is believed a truck collided into the back of another truck.  The exact cause of the collision is still being investigated by police and traffic officials, who were also at the scene looking into the incident as well directing traffic.

A short report is at Daily News


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

As bus strike goes on, Satawu to consult on new wage offer, with possible response by Wednesday

ANA reports that bus commuters will have to find alternative transport until at least Wednesday when the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) will announce whether striking drivers have accepted an improved salary offer.  Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabele said the union would consult workers on Monday and that they were hoping “maybe by Wednesday will have an idea of what’s happening.”  The SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) have proposed an offer of 8.75% for the first year (backdated to 1 April) and 8.25% for the second year of a two-year deal.  It has been almost a month since drivers went on strike.  Initially, they were demanding 12%, which they then dropped to 9%.  Employers had previously been holding firm on their offer of an 8% in the first year and 8.5% in the second year.

Read this short report in full at The Citizen

North West’s fatal strike resulting in ‘innocent people being denied healthcare’

City Press reports that distressed and disillusioned doctors in the North West have called the province’s current crisis in healthcare a silent killer.  Last week, the strike action that has affected the province’s hospitals and clinics reached fever pitch as protesters stormed into the theatre at Klerksdorp’s Tshepong Hospital, forcing staff out.  The theatre had to be shut down, despite there being three cases listed for operations.  The kitchen was closed down and clinical managers had to scramble to find a way to feed patients in the wards.  In Taung District Hospital, doctors reported that there were no staff to help feed the patients, while Zeerust Hospital was completely shut down last week due to the volatility.  On Friday, all work at Potchefstroom Hospital ground to a halt after protesters burned tyres at the entrance, threatening to burn the doctors as well.  “It is horrendous … innocent people are being denied their basic right to [heathcare].  People are being killed,” said Dr Ebrahim Variava, a Wits professor and internal medicine specialist at Tshepong hospital.  For two months, some patients have not been able to access their chronic medication, which could lead to complications in their conditions.  The inter-ministerial task team assigned to resolve the crisis, which has lasted more than two months, arrived in the province on Friday.  Meanwhile, the union said it was not its fault that things had escalated to this point, and that blame should lie squarely with the provincial government.  The union’s deputy secretary, December Mavuso, indicated they would meet with the task team on Monday.

Read this report by Vuyo Mkize in full at City Press

Strike at Luxor Paints enters tenth week amid claims and counterclaims of violence

Afro Voice reports that, as the strike at Luxor Paints in Boksburg, Gauteng, enters its tenth week, workers said that the company had issued them with a court interdict based on accusations of violence on their part.  However, Joshua Hlungwani, a worker, said it was the workers who had had suffered at the hands of the company and had lodged claims against Luxor.  “Now the company is coming with accusations that the workers are the violent ones,” Hlungwani said.  He claimed that the private security service provider on the premises had shot workers and that another worker, Ngosingiphile Zwane, had been shot in the side of his head and his eye was removed as a result.  Zwane was apparently still receiving medical treatment.  According to Hlungwani, the police had to be called to the premises on two occasions to protect the workers from their employer and the security company.  While the employees of the security company were still stationed at the company, the last time they were violent towards workers was apparently on 5 March.  A Luxor Paints spokesperson declined to respond to questions.

Read more of this Afro Voice report at SA Labour News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • National bus strike keeps Cape Town’s MyCiTi out of service, at Cape Times


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Workers stage sit-in at Prasa’s Park Station offices over outsourcing and salaries

Timeslive reports that around 150 cleaners and security guards on Monday occupied the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) offices at Park Station in Johannesburg‚ calling for an end to outsourcing and for better salaries.  Mametlwe Sebei of the General Industrial Workers Union of SA (Giwusa) said the workers were tired of job uncertainty.  He explained:  "For the past few months‚ Prasa has been renewing contracts to service providers on a month-to-month basis so workers do not even know whether they will have a job the following month.  They also want a minimum wage of R10‚000."  Sebei said they had engaged management on wages and outsourcing in the past and management had said they would eventually absorb these workers, but that has not happened.

This short report by Naledi Shange on a developing story is at Timeslive


APPOINTMENTS / STAFFING / PROMOTIONS

New top cop under fire from DA for ‘bloating’ his office with promotions

ANA reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday that a reply to a parliamentary question showed that National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole was seemingly promoting individuals to "bloat" his office at a rapid rate.  "More worryingly, this is being done in a manner that is not transparent at all and underscores the DA's position that the professionalisation of the police service will only be possible when there are transparent, competitive, and merit-based appointment and promotion processes in the South African Police Service (SAPS) as a matter of course," DA spokesman Zakhele Mbhele said.  He pointed out that the DA had previously requested that Police Minister Bheki Cele should urgently repeal regulation 45(1)(n) of the SAPS employment regulations due to the continued abuse which had seen successive national police commissioners promoting individuals who might not be fit-for-purpose.  The regulation provides that the national commissioner, with the concurrence of the minister, may promote an employee into a post without advertising the post and without following the prescribed selection process, if there were exceptional circumstances.  “Since Sitole took office, he has used regulation 45 to promote 16 SAPS members.  At this rapid rate, it would mean that Sitole is promoting four members per month," Mbhele noted.

Read this report in full at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Former Netflix talent chief shares her secrets for hiring successfully, at BusinessLive


HIGHER EDUCATION / QUALIFICATIONS

South Africa downsizes, but doesn’t suspend, Cuba doctors’ training programme

Sunday Tribune reports that after 22 years, the national Department of Health (DOH) has taken a decision to downsize its Cuba-South Africa doctor training programme.  Although it had been reported that the programme would be suspended for a three-year period, the DOH’s Gavin Steele said it would continue, but the number of students sent to Cuba for training each year would decrease.  “The programme will still be carried out, especially to promote primary health care, which has shown to have great successes when the students return,” said Steele.  The programme had faced criticism over the years with some calling for its termination.  The lack of facilities and places available at local institutions led to students being sent to study in Cuba.  They spend five years in medical school in Cuba before returning to SA to finish their training, which takes between 12 and 18 months.  The decision to downsize the programme was welcomed by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Patricia Kopane, who said it was a “waste of money”.

Read this report by Nabeelah Shaikh in full at Sunday Tribune


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION / DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

SABC licence collections department drama

City Press reports that the department that collects licence fees at the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has been severely impacted after 26 staff members received notice that they had apparently been fired on Wednesday.  Several of the staff members confirmed the reports to City Press as did their union representative, Tuwani Gumani of the Media Workers Association of SA (Mwasa).  Disgraced former SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng put the licence collection agents, originally outsourced from a global company called Teleresources, onto three year contracts.  But seemingly the contracts did not comply with labour regulations or the SABC’s own guidelines and were for only three years with no benefits or bonuses.  The 26 workers went on what Gumani described as a legal go slow, underscored by a CCMA certificate enabling industrial action.  “Then suddenly, after months of go slow, we got letters saying we’ve been suspended and were informed, on 6 March, of a disciplinary hearing to be held two days later.  We arrived at the hearing but there was no chairperson so it was postponed,” said one of the workers.  Last week the staffers received letters that read:  “You are hereby notified you are relieved from your duties.  You will be dully [sic] notified of the date to attend a disciplinary inquiry…”  Gumani is angry and confused and asked:  “Are they dismissed? Suspended? We don’t even know.”  But SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo disputed Gumani’s claims, adding that “this matter is still in progress internally.”

Read this report by Charl Blignaut in full at City Press

Disciplinary charge sheet claims SARS commissioner Moyane tried to thwart investigation

BusinessLive reports that the charge sheet presented to suspended SA Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane indicates that he actively impeded the investigation into unusual and suspicious transactions in the bank account of his second in charge.  This had been identified in a Financial Intelligence Centre report.  It revealed that Jonas Makwakwa was permitted to return to SARS despite unanswered questions in the findings of the investigation conducted by audit firm PwC into the specific unusual and suspicious transactions.  President Cyril Ramaphosa, who suspended Moyane in March, indicated that he had lost confidence in the commissioner over his handling of the Makwakwa matter.  Moyane faces charges of misconduct in violation of his duties and responsibilities linked to his handling of the allegations against Makwakwa, making unauthorised bonus payments, misleading Parliament and instructing a SARS official not to co-operate with an inquiry by audit firm KPMG.  His legal team is preparing a possible approach to the courts to challenge the disciplinary inquiry, his attorney indicated on Sunday.  Before his suspension, Moyane wrote to Ramaphosa threatening court action.  He also requested that the president "urgently" set up an inquiry into the running of SARS.

Read this report by Natasha Marrian in full at BusinessLive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page