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
Wednesday, 9 May 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Security guard shot dead in Joburg CBD robbery

AfroVoice reports that another security guard has been killed in the Johannesburg CBD during an armed robbery.  Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said:  “The security guard van was collecting money from a butchery on Commissioner and Von Wielligh streets when the guard was attacked.”  The suspect who shot at the security guard took an undisclosed amount of money.  No other injuries were reported.  Some three suspects were seen fleeing on foot.  This was the second incident in less than a week where security guards were shot at.  Two security guards were shot on Saturday in a cash-in-transit incident in Cosmo City, north of Johannesburg.  One of the guards was treated for a gunshot wound to his foot and another received advanced life support treatment for a gunshot wound to his chest.

This short report by Keitumetsi Motlhale appeared on page 2 of AfroVoice of 9 may 2018

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • On-duty intern doctor in Bushbuckridge survives attempted murder during burglary at hospital, at Timeslive
  • Numsa 'deeply concerned' over disappearance of activist member, at Timeslive


MINING LABOUR

NUM wants 37% pay hike from gold producers over the next two years

Reuters reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has submitted wage increase demands in the gold sector of up to 37% over a two-year period, according to a document submitted to the Chamber of Mines.  The demands far exceed the current inflation rate of 3.8% and suggest potentially tough negotiations with companies.  The document, dated 23 April, indicates the NUM wants the basic monthly pay for entry-level underground workers to rise to R10,500 over the next two years, which translates into annual increases of between 15% and 18.5%, depending on the company.  This is less than opening demands of up to 75% by the NUM in previous negotiations, a sign that lower inflation and food prices may be moderating expectations.  The three-year agreements reached in 2015 saw basic wage hikes of between 10% and 13% a year.  The Chamber negotiates in the gold sector on behalf of Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater, AngloGold Ashanti and a smaller producer.  Negotiations should kick off in June and other unions still have to submit their demands.  The NUM wants the talks to be completed by 1 July, when the next agreements are supposed to kick in.

Read this report by Ed Stoddard in full at BusinessLive

Cosatu and NUM to picket at Chamber of Mines on Thursday against industry fatalities

ANA reports that labour federation Cosatu and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will picket at the Chamber of Mines building in the Joburg CBD on Thursday to demand action against what they call deteriorating safety standards in the mining industry.  In a statement, NUM pointed out that more than 33 people had been killed in the mining sector since the start of the year.  “The NUM invites all workers to join this picket and make it clear to the chamber of mines that their insatiable greed creates widows and orphans,” it stated.  The Chamber of Mines is a registered employers’ association and represents producers in the industry.  In a separate statement, the NUM said it would hold a mass meeting at Evander gold mine in Mpumalanga on Wednesday after the company decided to retrench 1,722 mineworkers.

A short report is at The Citizen. Read the Cosatu/NUM press statement at Cosatu News

Radebe asserts that IPPs didn’t cause job losses in coal sector

Fin24 reports that Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has asserted that Independent Power Producers (IPPs) were not the reason for job losses in the coal sector.  Briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy on Tuesday, he spoke about the benefits of the recent signing of the 27 outstanding renewable IPP deals.  Radebe said the IPPs would create 58,000 jobs in the communities where the projects were based and that young people would especially benefit from the programme.  However, unions have raised concerns that the IPPs would lead to almost 30,000 job losses in the coal sector.  Radebe said that perception was wrong.  He explained that renewables were established because it was “the right thing to do” to introduce renewables in SA, adding that the real reason for the job losses in the coal sector was that some of the mines had reached the end of their lives.

Read this report by Lameez Omarjee in full at Fin24

EFF march on Tuesday to businessman Joe Singh's office over miners’ unpaid wages

ANA reports that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Tuesday marched to the office of billionaire businessman Ramesh Joe Singh where they demanded that he immediately paid outstanding wages to his workers at the Just Coal’s Bankfontein Mine.  For more than four weeks about 120 workers have been protesting at the mine to press for payment.  An Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) shop steward at the mine, Bontjies Makua, said:  "Our problems started when the mine was placed under Section 54. After the closure of the mine we decided to go and demand our money from the employer ... since October we have been receiving short pay”.  Last month Singh secured an interdict against the workers.  Singh’s lawyer received the memorandum on behalf of Just Coal and promised to get a response from the mine.  The EFF’s Solly Kekana said the party was asked to intervene by workers after their demands to be paid outstanding wages were ignored.  The EFF said it would march to Mines Minister Gwede Mantashe's office in Pretoria on Wednesday to demand that government enforce the payment of outstanding wages for the workers at Just Coal.

Read this report in full at IOL News

Zama zama gold processing hub in Limpopo shut down by police

Timeslive reports that the Hawks said on Wednesday that 12 suspects had been arrested for operating illegal gold processing laboratories at Mapuve village outside Giyani‚ Limpopo.  This was brought about following a "disruptive operation" by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit and Crime Intelligence.  "Almost 10 illegal gold processing laboratories‚ gold mining equipment which amongst others include gas cylinders‚ generators‚ gold bearing materials‚ mercury‚ automatic and manual operating pendukas‚ industrial hammers‚ gold bearing material grinders‚ industrial torches/flash lights were seized" in the operation on Monday‚ police said.  All the suspects‚ mostly illegal immigrants, were due to appear in the Giyani Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of contravening the Precious Metal Act.  Limpopo Hawks Provincial Head Major General Thobeka Jozi warned people involved in illegal mining that they should expect more operations in the province.

Read this report in full at Timeslive

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • How to ensure communities living near mining activities get a better deal, at Mail & Guardian
  • AfriForum’s considers possible legal action against Ivanplats on behalf of local tribe, at Mining Weekly


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Unions in bus strike edge closer to employers with counter offer

Fin24 reports that the five transport unions involved in the protracted national bus strike have resolved on a counter offer, which brings them closer to the latest offer tabled by employers.  The unions resolved to demand 9% wage increases for bus drivers in the first year of a two-year deal and 8% in the second year, backdated to 1 April.  The remaining demands - including improved working conditions for long distance drivers and insourcing of technical workers - remain the same, according to Zanele Sabela, spokesperson for the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu).  Bus drivers downed tools on 18 April.  The SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Sunday made a proposal to the parties of a 8.75% increase for the first year and 8.25% for the second year.

Read this report by Tehillah Niselow in full at Fin24. See too, Unions make counter-offer to end bus drivers' strike, at eNCA

National bus strike continues as unions await response to their counter-offer

EWN reports that unions representing striking bus drivers were on Wednesday awaiting a response from employers on whether the workers’ revised wage demands would be accepted.  On Tuesday, the labour caucus came up with a counter-offer to end the four-week-long bus strike following earlier rejection of a compromise proposal put forward by the bargaining council and the CCMA.  The unions are now asking for a 9% increase in the first year and 8% in the second year of a two-year deal, as opposed to the 8.75% increase for the first year and 8.25% for the second year, which employers had put forward.  The SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union’s (Satawu’s) Zanele Sabela said:  "We came up with a counter offer of 9% in the first year and 8% in the second year.  We've already sent it to the bargaining council and they will send it to the employers to see if they agree. The strike will not be over until an agreement has been signed."

This short report by Kaylynn Palm is at EWN. Read too, Bus driver strike set to drag on as compromise proposal rejected by unions, at BusinessLive

Silent deaths as protests at Klerksdorp and other North West hospitals drag on

Times Select reports that the National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) has been striking for two months against alleged corruption in the North West health department.  The action is also over the shortages of doctors and nurses, constant medicine shortages and complaints about the low wages of community health workers.  On Tuesday, Tshepong Hospital Klerksdorp was almost shut down as strikers once again burst into the hospital and forced nurses and doctors out of their wards.  About 700 patients have apparently not come to collect their medication in the past two weeks at the hospital as they were turned away by protesters or were too scared to walk through demonstrators.  Specialist Professor Ebrahim Variava stated:  “People not getting medication is a silent killer.”  And what is happening at Tshepong is probably happening across the province as patients avoid health facilities, he predicted, with potentially thousands not receiving the necessary treatment.  Variava said doctors had written a letter asking Nehawu to issue a statement telling strikers to stop disrupting the hospitals.  A letter has also been sent to the minister of health, who has yet to respond.  General secretary of Nehawu, Zola Sapheta, said the union knew nothing of hospitals being disrupted.  “This is the first I have heard [of it],” he said, adding that the union condemned hospital disruptions.

Read this report by Katharine Child in full at Times Select (paywall access). Read too, Doctors unable to enter Tshepong Hospital as protest action continues in North West, at News24

Allow those who are sick to receive medical attention, North West health department begs protesters

News24 reports that patients at Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp, North West, have been left stranded after angry protesters stormed in and forced doctors and nurses out of the wards on Wednesday morning.  “Those who were coming to perform their duties in the morning were barred from entering the hospital," said the hospital's public relations officer, Nico Masiu.  Health services in the province have been affected since the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) embarked on a strike two months ago.  Masiu said in the past two weeks the hospital had been forced to send patients home.  Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane described the situation at Tshepong Hospital as tense, saying skeleton staff was being used.  He added that only critically ill patients and emergencies were being attended to.  "We are appealing to people that they can protest, but they must allow those who are sick to receive medical attention," he begged.

Read this report by Jeanette Chabalala in full at News24


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Entrance to Durban Harbour blocked by disgruntled workers on Tuesday

Daily News reports that a group of about 200 protesters blocked the entrance to the Durban harbour on Tuesday morning, resulting in trucks not being able to get into the port and staff not being able to enter at N-Shed.  The strikers work for various companies that are contracted by Transnet.  Chief among their complaints was that they work long hours with little pay, and that they wanted to be made permanent employees of Transnet.  Ndoni Magwaza, one of the strikers, said they did not have any medical aid or cover for injuries on duty.  The mother of three said she earned about R3,000 in a good month.  Sibusiso Zondo, another worker at the port, said the long hours were also a problem.  He claimed they could work for two to three weeks without getting a break.  Zondo, who has been working as a driver at the port for the past seven years, said there was also a lack of proper equipment for them to work with.

Read this report by Mphathi Nxumalo in full at Daily News


APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT / VACANCIES

Thousands of Tshwane jobless left disappointed after fake SMS to come for jobs

The Citizen reports that a fake SMS promising Tshwane residents jobs resulted in over 4,000 people showing up yesterday at the Akasia Community Hall, north of Pretoria, with the hope of being employed by the end of the day.  Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga was also at the centre, but to conduct an extended public works programme (EPWP) lottery and select more beneficiaries for work opportunities in various projects across the city.  The lottery will select 1,250 beneficiaries who are all registered with the EPWP.  Msimanga said they only sent an SMS to people who were registered, but did not say people must come to the hall.  But, a fake SMS “was sent out to people afterwards to get transport and come here to get employed.”  People from all over Tshwane – including Soshanguve, GaRankuwa and Mabopane – arrived in private and public transport from early Tuesday morning.  At 3pm more people were still arriving at the venue.  Mayoral spokesperson Sam Mgobozi implied the SMS was sent by the DA city government’s opposition and said it was “disgusting”.

Read this report by Virginia Keppler in full at The Citizen


NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

Proposed national minimum wage ‘too high for construction industry’

Business Report writes that a construction industry stakeholder has warned of a looming crisis in the sector if the proposed R20 an hour national minimum wage (NMW) is implemented.  Gerald Ndlovu, founder and executive director of Black Suppliers, which focuses on the development of emerging building service providers, argued that the R20 an hour NMW was too high for the construction industry.  He also warned that the contentious NMW might cause further unrest among the country’s workforce, with labour relations already at an all-time low.  According to Ndlovu, emerging contractors were beneficiaries of sub-contracting work and should be exempt from paying the NMW.  “Their prices are largely fixed and the work is ad hoc, because there is no steady stream of projects,” he pointed out.  Ndlovu claimed that if the NMW was “forced across the industry” it would have a detrimental effect on those seeking employment as it would decrease the number of job seekers the sector could employ.

Read this report by Luyolo Mkentane in full at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Minimum wage is likely to cause a reduction of welfare services, at BusinessLive


WORKPLACE ABUSE / ASSAULT

Unisa director accused of bullying, treating her subordinates like maids

ANA reports that an employee at the University of SA (Unisa) on Tuesday told the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that her director bullied her, made her run her personal errands during office hours and also shouted at her about where she bought cake.  Masello Moekoa, administrative assistant to the director of academic planning accreditation and registration, Alice Mkuzangwe, was making her written submissions to an investigation panel.  This was part of the final leg of the hearing that commenced on 20 February, following a request from Unisa’s vice chancellor to investigate allegations of unfair discrimination, racism, sexism, and harassment at the Unisa College of Law.  Moekoa described Mkuzangwe as a heartless bully who made unreasonable demands and created difficult working conditions for her subordinates.  In her defence, Mkuzangwe has accused the executive director in academic planning at Unisa, Professor Peter Havenga, of making the working environment intolerable for black women in his department.  Moekoa dismissed Mkuzangwe's claims and said this was an attempt to cover her misconduct.

Read this report by Brenda Masilela in full at IOL News. Read too, ‘Inhumane’ treatment by Unisa boss laid bare, at SowetanLive

“I withdrew Manana charges in fear for my life”, says MP’s former domestic worker

SowetanLive reports that ANC MP Mduduzi Manana is not off the hook yet, as the National Prosecuting Authority has refused to withdraw charges of assault brought against him by his former domestic worker and then later dropped by her.  This came amid the emergence of an audio in which Manana could be heard making a monetary offer to Christine Wiro, allegedly in an effort to have the charges dropped.  A Gauteng police spokesman said police were investigating the allegations.  But on Monday, Manana accused Wiro, his domestic worker for just over two weeks, of attempting to extort R100,000 from him.  He said his lawyers were preparing court papers to sue Wiro.  She denied the extortion allegation and said that on Monday Manana had repeatedly offered her family R100,000 and a job for her.  He allegedly even promised to build her a house and take care of her son financially.  Later on Monday evening, Manana issued a media statement denying all charges and threatening to sue Wiro.  Wiro on Tuesday said she had feared for her life when Manana arrived at her house on Monday morning, accompanied by a man and two women.  "I had not given him my address but he managed to find out where I lived, that made me scared and I decided to withdraw the charges for my own safety," she stated.  Wiro indicated that she and her family had refused to accept Manana’s offer.

Read this report by Isaac Mahlangu in full at SowetanLive. Read too, Manana’s former domestic worker stands by allegations, at The Citizen. Listen to the audio referred to above at The Citizen

Randburg domestic worker relates to court alleged assault by boss

Timeslive reports that a domestic worker has laid a charge of assault against her former employer after he allegedly repeatedly beat her in front of her four-year-old daughter last year.  Kobus de Klerk is on trial in the Randburg Magistrate's Court‚ where he faces a charge of assault for allegedly attacking his employee Siyamthanda Dube.  He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.  According to Dube's statement, on 28 November 2017 she was at her workplace in Randpark Ridge with her daughter‚ whom she discovered was ill.  She took her daughter to the pharmacy and while waiting there received numerous calls from her employer's wife.  However‚ she could not answer as her phone screen was broken.  When she got back to work, Dube said she kept apologizing for being absent, but De Klerk was fuming with anger and he started poking her forehead.  According to Dube's statement‚ De Klerk later on started punching her.  "Then he pushed me again.  This was the fourth time he pushed me...  I fell onto my back on the step.  I don't know what happened then‚ if I collapsed or I fainted‚" the statement reads.  After the incident‚ Dube said she texted a friend and asked her to call the police or complex security.  When the security guards arrived‚ Dube said her former boss apologised and asked her not to lay a criminal charge against him.  De Klerk's counsel accused Dube of changing her story as she went along.  The case continues.

Read this report by Nomahlubi Jordaan in full at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Manana should face party processes over abuse allegations, says Cyril, at The Citizen
  • Parliament considering Manana complaint, at eNCA
  • ANC Youth League calls on Manana to resign, at The Citizen

 


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