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
Thursday, 10 May 2018.


TOP STORY – PUBLIC SECTOR WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Government, unions to meet on Friday to try avert public sector wage strike

eNCA reports that the government and public sector unions will meet on Friday to try and resolve their almost eight-month-long wage negotiations and avert a looming public sector strike.  Expectations had been that by 1 April civil servants would get their increases, which did not eventuate.  Public sector unions are lobbying for above-inflation wage increases of about 12%, while the government has tabled offers linked to consumer inflation, currently at 3.8%.  In addition to the wage issue, the unions have made various other demands, including that vacant posts in government be filled.  The Treasury commented the government would struggle to cut spending as promised if it failed to get unions to agree to inflation-linked wage increases.  In March, ratings agency Moody’s decided against downgrading the country to junk status after the government committed to reducing public spending.  “If our members are not happy with what they’re offering, we’re going to the CCMA on the 14th (May).  If things are not going our way we have no choice but to adhere to the demands and concerns of our members,” said Ivan Fredericks of the Public Servants Association (PSA).

Read this report in full at eNCA


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Policeman wounded in shootout with suspected cash-in-transit robbers in Morningside

Timeslive reports that a policeman was wounded in a shootout between suspected cash-in-transit robbers in Morningside‚ Johannesburg‚ on Wednesday afternoon.  The suspects were spotted by police while attempting to make a getaway after allegedly having carried out a cash-in-transit heist in Kempton Park.  “The suspects got away with an Audi and a Ford vehicle and when they reached Alexandra‚ police spotted them.  The police gave a chase and towards Sandton there was crossfire between the police and the suspects‚” said Kay Makhubela‚ Gauteng police spokesperson.  Makhubela said one of the suspects was believed to have been shot‚ while one police officer was wounded in the arm.  “The officer was taken to hospital. He is stable‚” Makhubela said.  No arrests have been made yet.

A short report by Kgaugelo Masweneng is at Timeslive


MINING LABOUR

EFF and miners march to IDC to get new investors found for Shiva Uranium mine

ANA reports that about 600 members of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party on Wednesday converged outside the Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC’s) Sandton offices, demanding that business rescue practitioners at Shiva Uranium Mine urgently find new investors.  The IDC last month launched a court bid to remove Louis Klopper and Kurt Knoop as rescue practitioners of the underperforming Shiva Uranium, previously owned by the Gupta family.  The EFF, whose members and mineworkers travelled in six buses from Mpumalanga, said delays in resolving the situation at Shiva were undermining the rights of workers to earn a living.  The group included mine workers from Shiva Mine, Berge Mine Witbank, Just Coal Bankfontein Middleburg, Optimum Coal and Kusile power station.  Some Shiva workers are apparently owed wages dating back to October last year.  Mpumalanga EFF chairperson Collen Sedibe said:  “The IDC is the one which funded the Guptas and now with their lawyers have stalled or stopped some payments and the process of the buying of the mine by new investors.  We are here to submit a memorandum that they must allow the business practitioners to do their work and find new investors.”  Sedibe also said:  Today they are here to support workers from Shiva but we will be going to all the mines with problems in Mpumalanga”.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Families, friends to pay tribute to deceased Driefontein miners on Thursday, at EWN

Postings on Mining Charter

  • Opinion: Stricter transformation requirements a fair price to pay for mining policy certainty, at BusinessLive


FARMING LABOUR

Blitz labour inspections at Bothaville farms yield surprising but encouraging results

The Department of Labour reported on Wednesday that recent blitz inspections conducted in the agricultural sector in Free State yielded surprising but encouraging results.  The provincial department conducted inspections at Green Park Farm, Yukon Farms and Stols Farm in Bothaville as part of this year’s Workers Month campaign.  Inspectors represented all competencies within the Inspection and Enforcement Services Directorate of the Department.  The department said the results painted “a positive picture as cases of non-compliance are not as bad as anticipated.”  Only Yukon Farms was found to be in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failure to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its employees.  Contravention notices were served on the employer, who will be required to rectify all the non-compliances within 60 days.  The other two companies were found to be in compliant with all provisions of labour laws.  “We would really like to commend those employers who are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that they comply with our labour legislations.  On the same token, we call on those who are still lagging behind to follow suit or face the full might of the law,” said Nomfundo Douw-Jack, head of the provincial department.  Coupled with the inspections were advocacy sessions where workers were taken through different pieces of labour legislation.

Read the Department of Labour’s press statement at SA Govt News


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

MPs call on North West protestors to halt hospital blockades

Timeslive reports that the blockading of two hospitals in the North West by protesters was decried by parliament's Select Committee on Social Services on Wednesday.  Chairperson Cathy Dlamini said “provision of life-saving services to patients should always take priority above any discontent”.  It was reported on Wednesday morning that doctors were being prevented from entering the Tshepong and Klerksdorp hospitals.  Dlamini said ambulances were also being prevented from entering the hospital grounds at Tshepong.  Staff are protesting against a shortage of healthcare workers and alleged corruption in the department.  Community workers and counsellors have also joined them in protest against low remuneration.  The committee called for intervention from the departments of health at national and province level‚ as well as the police.

A short report is at Timeslive. Read the Select Committee’s press statement at Parliament Onlive. See too, 'Robbing patients of life-saving care can never be justified', at News24. And also, Public healthcare services in disarray in North West and Gauteng, at BusinessLive

Hospersa calls on North West members to return to work

ANA reports that the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) on Wednesday called on its members to return to work in North West.  “Hospersa encourages its members to report to work if it is safe to do so.  We will continue engaging government within the confines of the law in addressing the pertinent issues that have led to a collapse of health care services in the province,” spokesperson Kevin Halama said.  The healthcare system has been brought to its knees as a result of a strike by National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) members that commenced on 19 February.  Nehawu on Tuesday said it was engaging its members about the possibility of allowing a skeleton staff to begin with the distribution of medicine pending the outcomes of a progress report to be tabled.  Following a provincial shop steward council convened to assess the strike action, general secretary Zola Saphetha said:  “Our view is that this strike action has been protracted unnecessarily and lasting solutions would have to be found as soon as possible to return everything to normalcy.”

Read this report in full at The Citizen


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Gauteng community health workers demand back pay and insourcing

SABC News reports that around 100 community health workers affiliated to the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) held a night vigil at the Gauteng Department of Health in Johannesburg.  They were demanding their outstanding salaries since 2016 and insourcing so that they could be employed on a permanent basis.  Nupsaw national organiser Solly Malema indicated that in 2016 there had been an agreement that the workers would be contracted and back paid.  He said:  “The provincial Department of Health conducted verification.  They started a process of verification and back paying.  However plus or minus 300 community health workers were not verified to have worked and as a result they were not contracted and back paid…”  Malema added that then the dispute was about the verification process.

This report by Ditaba Tsotetsi Is at SABC News

Dismissed Steve Biko Academic Hospital security guards protest to get jobs back

News24 reports that former private security guards at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, who were dismissed following allegations of misconduct in 2017, protested outside the health facility on Wednesday.  Acting CEO of the hospital, Dr Mathabo Mathebula, said the employees returned on Wednesday and demanded to be reinstated.  She indicated that, despite some tyres being set alight, hospital operations were not disrupted.  "It stopped as soon as it started... The police came and dispersed the protesters," Mathebula indicated.  She added that the hospital was planning on getting a court interdict against the former security guards to prevent them from "coming back to do what they did today".

This short report by Jan Bornman and video footage is at News24. Read too, Pretoria hospital blockaded with burning tyres, at Timeslive


PRICES / TARIFFS

South Africa to continue lobbying US for exemption on steel, aluminium tariffs

ANA reports that South Africa would continue talks with the United States in a bid to get concessions on import tariffs on aluminium and steel, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday.  Briefing journalists on the outcomes of Wednesday's fortnightly cabinet meeting, Mokonyane said government was disappointed at the US decision to not exempt SA from the 10% tariffs on imports of aluminium and 25% on steel imports.  "The South African government will continue to engage with the US authorities to find a mutually acceptable outcome.  Cabinet also encourages domestic exporters to continue to lobby US buyers to apply for product exemptions, as South African companies export niche products and semi-processed products for further processing in the US," Mokonyane said.  In March, US President Donald Trump announced the tariffs to protect producers in America.  SA applied for an exemption, but was turned down.  It has been estimated that at least 7,500 workers in the local steel and aluminium industries could lose their jobs as a result of the tariffs.

This short report is at Engineering News


NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE / LIVING WAGE

Why the World Bank and ILO are at odds over SA’s national minimum wage

BusinessLive reports that labour experts have criticised a World Bank report that, among other things, suggests that the introduction of a national minimum wage (NMW) in SA would shift labour demand towards skilled labour.  The conclusions are contained in the 11th edition of the South Africa Economic Update released in April.  The bank writes that the implementation of the NMW, to be set at R20 an hour, would also deepen the intensity of capital at the expense of unskilled labour and disproportionally affect the price of goods consumed by the poor.  Regarding inequality, the analysis suggests that “the introduction of the national minimum wage would have a positive, but marginal, impact on reducing inequalities, depending on its negative effect on employment".  Joni Musabayana, director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Pretoria, disagreed with the World Bank report, mainly over its assertions that the implementation of the minimum wage would have a "less favourable conclusion".”  It is going to positively impact on millions of workers; how can that possibly not have a good effect," he asked.  Labour analyst Tony Healy said the different outlooks expressed by the ILO and the World Bank were not surprising given their different perspectives.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Lawyer for suspended SARS chief Tom Moyane say disciplinary process 'deeply flawed'

EWN reports that lawyers representing suspended SA Revenue Services (SARS) Commissioner Tom Moyane want amendments made to his disciplinary process before it begins.  President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended Moyane in March, saying that developments under his leadership resulted in the deterioration of public confidence in SARS.  The Presidency served Moyane with disciplinary charges last week, indicating that they related to allegations of misconduct, in violation to his duties and responsibilities in terms of applicable legislation.  Retired constitutional judge Kate O'Regan will chair the process, which will be conducted in writing, subject to her discretion to hear oral evidence.  Moyane's lawyer Eric Mabuza claimed this was unfair, saying:  “Once the process is fixed then we’re happy to attend the inquiry.  But if the president refuses to fix the process to be fair, we’ll have no option but to take him to court.  It’s deeply, deeply flawed because he’s not allowed the opportunity to cross-examine his accusers, to put his side of the story.  Why is the president destined to have this inquiry on paper?  What do they have to hide?  Why can't they come and say the charges against Moyane out in the open."  No date has yet been set for the disciplinary hearing.

Read this report by Gia Nicolaides in full at EWN


WORKPLACE ABUSE / WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Self-defence expert to testify for defence in Randburg domestic worker assault case

Timeslive reports that a police officer‚ a medical doctor and self-defence expert are among the witnesses lined up for the defence in a matter of a man accused of assaulting his domestic worker.  On Wednesday‚ defence advocate Lize Nel tore apart statements made by Siyamthanda Dube‚ who has accused Kobus de Klerk of having assaulted her in November 2017 at his home where she worked in Randpark Ridge‚ Johannesburg.  The details of the circumstances according to Dube which led to the alleged assault are detailed in this report.  According to one Dube’s statement‚ De Klerk started punching her but she blocked the blows with her arms.  “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.  Nel poked holes in the two statements that Dube had made and accused her of making statements that varied as matters suited her.  Dube told the court that she remembered speaking to the police officer, but could not recall every detail of what she had asked her.  The defence indicated that it would also call De Klerk and his wife as witnesses.  The matter was postponed to 23 May.

Read this comprehensive report by Penwell Dlamini in full at Timeslive

Women's groups reach out to Manana’s former employee after alleged assault

EWN reports that various women rights organisations have reached out to Mduduzi Manana's former domestic worker who has accused the ANC Member of Parliament of assault.  The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is still considering whether a common assault case opened by Christine Wiro should head to court after she tried to withdraw the matter, apparently for fear of her life.  The Zimbabwean woman claims that Manana pushed her down the stairs at his Fourways home at the weekend and threatened to have her deported.  Manana has denied these allegations and in turn accused the Wiro family of trying to extort R100,000 out of him.  The Commission for Gender Equality's Jabu Baloyi said they met with Wiro on Wednesday and would be “monitoring the unfolding of this case”.  Meanwhile, labour federation Cosatu has offered Wiro safe accommodation as she is in fear for her life.

Read this report by Mia Lindeque in full at EWN. See too, ANCWL backs Manana’s former domestic worker, at EWN. And also, Mbete to ask Parliament’s ethics committee to probe Manana assault accusations, at The Citizen. As well as, Not in our name, ANC’s Zizi Kodwa tells Manana, at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • I was instructed to stop bullying probe, says Unisa HR employee, at The Citizen


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Train service in Mamelodi to be reinstated from Saturday next week

Timeslive reports that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) will be reinstating the train service in the Mamelodi corridor‚ more than a month after the service was suspended.  On 13 March‚ 10 employees were attacked and R6-million worth of damage was caused when six new trains were vandalised and the Eerste Fabrieke station was damaged extensively.  The following day Prasa decided to indefinitely suspend train services in the Mamelodi corridor‚ leaving thousands of commuters without transport to get to school‚ work and other destinations.  The agency said the decision to suspend the service had been taken to protect employees‚ assets and commuters from harm.  The agency’s acting CEO Lindikhaya Zide now said they were confident that they would be able to reintroduce the train service, starting next week on Saturday.  “We hope that the commuting public and communities will work closely with us to protect these valuable assets‚” he said.  The reinstatement of the service comes after extensive engagements between the rail agency and various organisations‚ including rail commuter organisations and community policing forums.

Read this report by Sipho Mabena in full at Timeslive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page