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, 17 May 2018.


TOP STORY – NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

Portfolio Committee meeting in Parliament on national minimum wage turns violent

BusinessLive reports that a fight broke out in Parliament on Wednesday during a labour portfolio committee meeting to discuss the National Minimum Wage Bill in detail.  The chairwoman Sharome van Schalkwyk described the incident as "unfortunate".  The committee blamed members of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) for the disruption, but the federation has put the blame on parliamentary security.  Van Schalkwyk said in a statement:  “The Portfolio Committee on Labour is disappointed with the conduct of alleged Saftu activists who sought to disrupt a committee meeting meant to discuss the National Minimum Wage Bill, clause by clause.”  She added:  “The committee will not be distracted and derailed in trying to improve the conditions many of our poor working South Africans find themselves in.  The processes on the National Minimum Wage are unfolding, and this drastic and chaotic stance is not warranted.”  Van Schalkwyk claimed that a handful of activists "donning Saftu regalia" disrupted the meeting.  A video shows a violent fight breaking out.  Saftu‚ however‚ has told a different story‚ saying that 15 of its leaders were "forcefully evicted" from the meeting.  In a statement, Saftu contended that its demonstration over the non-tabling of its letter had been peaceful — "[but] we were met with forceful security, who had no regard for our rights to peaceful demonstration".

Read this report by Matthew Savides in full at BusinessLive. See too, Saftu leaders kicked out of parliament meeting considering minimum wage, at The Citizen. Read Parliament’s press statement at Parliament Online

ANC calls for parliamentary national minimum wage meetings to be held behind closed doors

ANA reports that African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Jackson Mthembu on Thursday urged the parliamentary portfolio committee on labour to conduct its deliberations on the proposed national minimum wage (NMW) and labour law bills in closed meetings in a bid to protect its members from intimidation.  A scuffle broke out on Wednesday when about 15 leaders of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) were evicted from a committee meeting after they staged a demonstration.  “The office of the ANC chief whip strongly condemns the actions of a group purported to have been members of the Saftu who disrupted a portfolio committee meeting in Parliament yesterday.  The thuggish behaviour of these protesters was deplorable, and must be treated with the disdain it deserves,” Mthembu said in a statement.  Saftu was due on Thursday to announce planned action to intensify its fight against the proposed NMW of R20 an hour.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Labour DG says government will press ahead with changes to the national minimum wage bill

BusinessLive reports that according to labour department director general Thobile Lamati, objections to the draft national minimum wage (NMW) bill by the Wits University National Minimum Wage Research Initiative were "bordering on delusion".  Lamati dismissed concerns raised by the research group in a detailed media statement on Wednesday, saying they undermined the "intelligence" of the parliamentary portfolio committee on labour and implied the department acted "insolently".  On Monday, the Wits think tank said the department has undermined and weakened some sections of the bill by not correctly reflecting the resolutions of the portfolio committee.  It claimed, among other issues, that the drafting of the sections on the retention of sectoral determinations was weak.  The department said that contrary to what the research group said, it had worked fairly with all social partners to craft the bill.  Lamati said the group had misunderstood the legal provisions for sectoral determinations and additional functions "now given to the NMW commission"."  There is nothing weak about the retention of sectoral determinations nor in the way in which the NMW Commission is empowered to engage with the process of making sectoral determinations," he stated.  Cosatu’s parliamentary officer Matthew Parks said the labour federation was "happy" with the draft bill and considered the legislation as a "major victory".

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Worker crushed to death by bricks at Corobrik plant in Joburg

ANA reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday that one of its members died in an accident at Corobrik Construction’s Rietvlei operations in Johannesburg.  The 29-year-old worker, who was on night duty, was crushed by bricks early on Thursday morning, NUM regional chairperson Ndlela Radebe said.  He went on to say:  “What is more disturbing is the fact that none of the other workers who were on shift appear to have witnessed the incident when it occurred, and the circumstances surrounding this incident are themselves very confusing and leaves more questions than answers to us.”  Radebe said the NUM would track developments around the incident very closely and participate in uncovering the truth about the death.

A short report is at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Police station commander shot dead as he arrived at home, at Timeslive


MINING LABOUR

Mineworker falls to his death at Harmony Gold’s Moab Khotsong mine

ANA reports that a mineworker died after he fell into a deep reef tip at Harmony Gold’s Moab Khotsong mine in North West on Thursday morning, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said in a statement.  NUM health and safety chairperson Peter Bailey said the employee died immediately after the incident.  He called on employers to put the lives of workers first to minimise harm in the mining industry, saying:  “It is unacceptable that mineworkers are denied their basic human right to work in an environment that guarantees their safety and that instead they are expected to go to work to die.  We are selling our labour for the survival of our families, not our limbs and lives.”  Harmony acquired Moab Khotsong from AngloGold Ashanti on 1 March 2018.

A short report is at The Citizen. See too, Harmony Gold miner killed in underground accident, at News24


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Central collective bargaining is toxic, says CCCI president

In a letter to the editor, Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), writes that the lesson evident from the bus strike is that central bargaining is poisoning industrial relations.  She continues:  “It does not take into account that conditions vary from province to province.  Workers have a right to take industrial action against bad employers who pay the lowest possible wages and fail to provide basic benefits.  But good employers should be respected by unions.  Instead they are dragged into the national strike and suffer serious economic damage.  Their well-paid workers also suffer due to the no work, no pay rule.  They have been abused in the power struggles of the union bosses.  More workplace democracy is needed, especially secret ballots before industrial action.”

This letter to the editor of Business Day is at BusinessLive


PROTESTS / MARCHES / STAY-AWAYS

Nehawu gives North West inter-ministerial task team 24 hours to respond positively to demands

News24 reports that the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Wednesday gave the inter-ministerial task team for the North West 24 hours to respond to demands contained in a memorandum.  National spokesperson Khaya Xaba said if the task team failed to positively respond to the union's list of grievances, “we will embark on a two-day stay-away in the entire public service in the province."  Should that not change the situation, members would engage other provinces to down tools in solidarity with the North West province.  "Some of the issues that we want them to deal with are outsourcing, corruption, unpaid bonuses, overtime as well as occupational health and safety issues in the work place," Xaba indicated.  Health services in the province have been disrupted since Nehawu members embarked on a strike two months ago.  President Cyril Ramaphosa, who placed the provincial health department under the administration of the national government in the wake of the protests, appointed a task team to get to the bottom of the crisis.

Read this report by Amanda Khoza in full at News24


UNION NEWS / STRUCTURES / ORGANISATIONAL REPORTS

We’re not broke or in a state of paralysis, says Samwu leadership

News24 reports that the leadership of the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) on Wednesday said claims that the union was in a "state of paralysis" were propaganda.  "What is said is far from the truth," said Simon Mathe, the union's general secretary.  He was responding to a report published by News24 on Tuesday in which the former Gauteng chairperson of Samwu alleged that rent had not been paid, the telephone lines at the union's offices were down and the organisation had failed to keep its website running because it had not paid the media company managing the site.  Mathe advised that in December 2015 he had issued a letter of appointment for financial services firm Ernst & Young to conduct a forensic investigation into the union's finances and the report would be made public at the end of May.  On Wednesday the website was operating again.  Mathe denied that the phone lines had ever been down.  All outstanding rent has apparently been paid.  He commented that:  "People are trying to create havoc and are embarking on a propaganda mission just to destabilise the leadership."

Read this report by Amanda Khoza in full at News24. Read Samwu’s press statement in this regard at SA Labour News. Read the original News24 report at News24


INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Rosslyn Hub development, launched on Wednesday, to create 160,000 jobs

Engineering News reports that the R3-billion mixed-use Rosslyn Hub development was launched at the African Smart Cities Summit at the Gallagher Convention Centre on Wednesday.  The Summit was co-located with the African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo.  The Rosslyn Hub is a crucial step towards the creation of the Tshwane Auto City (TAC), a collaboration between government and the automotive industry to transform the area into the leading automotive investment destination in Africa.  Big Cedar Properties MD and Rosslyn Hub director Brendan Falkson noted that it was envisioned that Rosslyn, which is already home to four automotive manufacturers – BMW, Nissan, Iveco and Tata – along with an array of automotive suppliers, will emulate well-established automotive cities like those in Spain, China, Germany and Japan.  In addition to the automotive plants already established in Rosslyn, the hub will comprise a development logistics park and vehicle distribution centre, a truck staging area and truck stop, motor showrooms, a motor retail area and an outdoor automotive pavilion.  The Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) developed the TAC concept and, as an implementing agency of government, is the project manager for the hub's development.  The project is expected to create 160,000 jobs.

Read this report in full at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Government releases its tenth Industrial Policy Action Plan, at Engineering News
  • Rob Davies upbeat on prospects for SA’s industrial policy, at BusinessLive
  • DTI to launch R500m incentive scheme for metal and engineering industry, at Fin24
  • Sefisa says electricity price increases will stifle growth in industry, at Business Report


APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT / STAFFING

Tshwane’s chief of staff on special leave after alleged improper appointment

BusinessLive reports that the City of Tshwane has put its chief of staff, Marietha Aucamp, on special leave‚ following media reports that she was appointed improperly.  Aucamp allegedly landed the R1.2m-a-year job despite not having the required qualifications, it was reported on Wednesday.  The city said Aucamp applied and was short-listed for the vacant position of chief of staff in October 2016 and was selected as the most suitable candidate for appointment as she came out highest on the panel members’ scores.  It commented further:  "Information has since surfaced in the media purporting to show that Aucamp indicated in the assessment form that she was in possession of a BTech degree.  Neither in her application form for the position nor in her CV did she state that she was in possession of any post-matric qualification.”  The city went on to indicate that, while it was advantageous for a candidate to be in possession of the required qualification‚ that did not “preclude a candidate in the political office to be considered for the position without having the relevant qualification‚ as what is required is experience and grasp of local government.”  The executive mayor has requested the city manager to conduct an urgent investigation into the matter.

Read this report by Penwell Dlamini in full at BusinessLive. Read too, EFF demands Tshwane chief of staff must pay back the money and be sacked, at JacarandaFM. And also, Tshwane’s chief of staff placed on special leave as qualifications scandal deepens, at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Samwu demands answers on Msimanga’s chief of staff’s qualifications, at The Citizen


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

FF Plus takes heart from Gordhan’s statement on Transnet pensioners’ case

BusinessLive reports that the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) said on Tuesday that it was encouraged by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s response to its question on the plight of thousands of Transnet pensioners.  The estimated 40‚000 pensioners achieved victory at the Constitutional Court in April when the court granted permission for their class-action suit to recover billions owed to them by the Transport Pension Fund‚ the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund and Transnet.  The FF Plus had asked Gordhan to discuss a possible settlement of the class action by the pensioners‚ following the Constitutional Court judgment.  Speaking during the Department of Public Enterprises’ budget vote‚ Gordhan said Transnet appeared willing to settle‚ but added that the matter was still with the courts.  He went on to comment:  "But I think what’s blocking the two sides from getting together is possibly an extravagant evaluation of what pensioners are entitled to, as opposed to what might really be the case.  If all of us can encourage a realistic amount in this particular case‚ we are quite willing to bring parties together and see how we can deal with this particular story."  The pensioners had calculated that the debt owed stood at R80bn by March 2013.

Read this report by Ernest Mabuza in full at BusinessLive. Read the press statement from the FF Plus at Politicsweb


MEDICAL SCHEMES / NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE / SOCIAL SECURITY

Major shake-up of medical aid industry will see new rules on benefits, prices and governance

BusinessLive reports that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is planning a major shake-up of the medical-scheme industry, with new rules on benefits, prices and governance in the pipeline.  The changes are contained in the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill as presented to a cabinet committee on Tuesday.  The most crucial aspect of the bill is a proposal to introduce uniform tariffs for services and prohibit co-payments on the part of members.  At present, each scheme negotiates its own rates with service providers such as hospitals and doctors, while members face varying degrees of co-payments for their healthcare bills, depending on which medical-scheme options they belong to and the nature of their conditions.  "There must be a uniform tariff, the same rate for all and they [providers] must ask for nothing from members," the minister said on Wednesday.  The uniform tariff would be to assist medical schemes, which had varying degrees of negotiating power depending on their size.  Guidance on how the uniform tariffs would be determined is expected to come from the Competition Commission’s health-market inquiry.  The minister said medical schemes would continue to exist as National Health Insurance (NHI) was rolled out, but they required a new regulatory framework to provide greater protection for members.  A key proposal in the bill is replacing prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs) with a new set of benefits with a greater emphasis on primary healthcare.  The bill contained measures to strengthen board appointments and ensure that they had the appropriate skills for the job.

Read this report by Tamar Kahn in full at BLPremium (paywall access)


WORKPLACE CONDITIONS

Nurses lament appalling working conditions in North West hospitals

Timeslive reports that the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) in North West has described the crippling effects of maladministration in the North West province.  Among the problems nurses were encountering according to the union were decomposing bodies, electricity blackouts and water shortages.  "The situation has reached a point of no return for nurses who have been abused‚ exploited‚ neglected and deserted.  The poor working conditions have seriously rendered the profession sub- standard service due to system failures aggravated by the corrupt government officials in the province‚" the union said in a statement.  It asserted that patients shared beds because of congestion; the nutritional needs of patients were not being met; there was no water in some of the sub districts‚ which affected maternity patients severely; there was a lack of medication supplies for chronic patients; and backup generators were non-functional when electricity went off.  Smelling mortuaries with bodies of more than 150 days in some district hospitals has become the norm.  Denosa said nurses had had enough and were no longer willing to tolerate such treatment.  It said it was exploring all legal options “to put a stop to this situation."

Read this report in full at Timeslive. Read too, SAHRC finds Tembisa hospital in critical condition, at SowetanLive


WORKPLACE ABUSE / WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Manana takes aim at former domestic worker with perjury charges

The Citizen reports that ANC MP and former deputy minister of higher education, Mduduzi Manan,a has laid perjury charges against his former domestic worker, Christine Wiro.  Manana was accused of pushing Wiro downstairs a week ago, but Wiro dropped charges that she had initially laid against him.  The National Prosecuting Authority reportedly received Wiro’s complaint docket from the Douglasdale police station and apparently refused to withdraw the charge, telling the police to continue investigations into the matter.  According to reports, Manana has now claimed that the audio that surfaced recently, in which he is heard to be offering Wiro R100,000 to drop the case, was further proof that Wiro had attempted to use the assault allegation to extort money from him.  The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it planned this week to lay a complaint with the police against Manana for extortion and corruption.  This was followed by head of the office of the Presidency, Zizi Kodwa, committing the ANC to instituting an internal hearing on the allegation of assault against the MP.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

 


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