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, 22 May 2018.


SA’s hardest working employees are in mining and retail, says OECD

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) reports that of the almost 50 countries it sampled‚ SA was the fifth hardest working country with workers spending an average of 43.3 hours a week on the job.  Looking only at jobs in the formal sector‚ the OECD found the mining industry to be in the lead with workers putting in an average of 45.3 hours a week.  Wholesale and retail came in second with an average of 44.7 hours‚ followed by finance and business services at 43.7, and transport and communication at 43.6 hours.  Nearly 12% of the SA workforce spent more than 60 hours a week on the job, despite labour laws prohibiting more than 45 hours a week.  Quoting research from the Bureau for Economic Research‚ the OECD said men worked the hardest.  "SA’s hardest workers are black men younger than 45 in a semi-skilled occupation and lucky enough to have a permanent job in a country with high unemployment."  The study indicated that women were more likely to work shorter hours because they "tend to be more educated and work in the professional sector".  For many women‚ leaving work means the beginning of another task, namely housekeeping.  Working hours were shorter in more economically thriving provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape, where there was a high concentration of highly skilled workers.  The Eastern Cape also had some of the lowest working hours‚ but that was because so few people had permanent employment in the impoverished province.

Read this interesting report in full at BusinessLive


Business rescue practitioners put up fight for Optimum Coal and other Gupta-linked firms

BusinessLive reports that the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) of eight Gupta-linked companies, including Optimum Coal, are fending off another attempt to remove them.  In just one of many legal challenges, they are in court again to rebuff attempts to dislodge them from saving the eight companies, an exercise that has uncovered the woeful financial situation at Optimum Coal, dodgy tax dealings and the attempted sale of the company.  There have been 13 urgent applications bought by Optimum’s former management to disrupt the business rescue process.  Meantime, executives, managers and lawyers, including George van der Merwe, a director of Shiva Uranium and Tegeta Exploration and Resources, will have to explain on Tuesday why they considered themselves not to be in contempt of a court ruling giving the BRPs unfettered access to company records.  In the latest development, Van der Merwe, who "claims to be the CEO and creditor" of Optimum Coal and its highly sought-after Optimum Coal Terminal, is seeking the removal of the four BRPs from these two of the eight Gupta companies in business rescue.  The four respondent BRPs claimed the application sought “to derail the business rescue process by removing the respondents as business rescue practitioners.  Their true purpose is to prevent the sale of the company assets (i.e. the mine) in a manner that does not benefit the Gupta family."  The BRPs suggested the court not base a decision on the application from Van der Merwe but on oral arguments and interrogation of Optimum’s former management of their behaviour at the company.

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive


Global ban by clothing retailers puts SA’s mohair industry at risk

Bloomberg reports that a ban on mohair by dozens of global clothing retailers is threatening a R1.5bn industry in SA, the world’s biggest producer.  Almost 70 clothing companies worldwide have announced that they will stop using mohair following the release earlier in May of video footage from 12 Angora goat farms in the Karoo region.  The footage showed goats being dragged by the legs or horns and sustaining injuries from shearing.  A worker decapitating a goat also featured.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which produced the video, alleges that abuse in the mohair industry is "rampant and routine" and inflicts "unspeakable suffering".  While industry organisation Mohair SA announced earlier in May it would immediately suspend mohair from the farms implicated in the video, it said it considered much of the report to have been incorrect and misrepresenting the industry.  There are about 1,000 Angora goat farms in SA, employing an estimated 30,000 people.  It is too early to determine the long-term impact of the ban, said Deon Saayman, MD of Mohair SA.

Read this report in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Mohair intensifies probe into animal abuse, at City Press


Another union rejects government’s public sector wage offer

ANA reports that the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) said on Tuesday that it would not sign the public sector salary agreement because it discriminated against members.  The deal on the table as signed by the state affords 7% increases for junior employees for 2018/2019, backdated to 1 April, while mid-level employees would receive 6.5% and senior staff 6%.  At least four public sector unions have so far refused to sign the three-year agreement finalised in the Public Sector Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) on Friday.  On Tuesday, Nupsaw’s Success Mataitsane said that his union had “serious concerns” with the draft agreement as it made no provision for any additional compensation should the consumer price index (CPI) rise in the second and third years of the agreement at a higher rate than expected.  “We are also rejecting the review of the comprehensive danger insurance.  Our members need danger allowance as we believe that the insurance cover will invariably result in the withdrawal of danger allowance,” Mataitsane said.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read too, Public sector wage offer rejected by four unions, at BusinessLive. And also, Fedusa denies government’s claim it agreed 'in principle' to wage deal, at EWN


Adcock Ingram workers picket outside Bidvest under #Scraplabourbills banner

Timeslive writes that members of the General Industries Workers Union of SA (Giwusa) were due on Tuesday to picket outside the offices of the Bidvest Group in Midrand.  The workers concerned are employed by Adcock Ingram‚ in which Bidvest has a controlling stake.  Union president Mametlwe Sebei said:  “In our view‚ this strike is part of our on-going #Scraplabourbills campaign we initiated‚ with our federation SAFTU and other progressive working class and left organisations to fight against the attacks on the trade union movement and working class by President Ramaphosa.”  He went on to state:  “Since Bidvest acquired the controlling stake in the company in 2014‚ it imposed a draconian and highly repressive anti-worker and anti-union industrial relations and disciplinary policies.  They have ceased cooperative approach towards the union and dismiss workers for every minor violation.”  Sebei claimed that this approach was “part of the despotic labour regime the President seeks to impose on the whole country‚ which is characterised by poverty wages‚ emasculated trade unions and industrial relations based on collective beggary of workers‚ instead of meaningful bargaining.”

This short report by Nomahlubi Jordaan is at Timeslive


New team at recruitment group Adcorp cleaning ‘mess’ left by former CEO

BusinessLive writes that recruitment group Adcorp had a mountain to climb to realise its 2022 target of R1bn in earnings, announced alongside its results on Monday.  The company, under the new leadership of CEO Innocent Dutiro, recorded a headline loss per share for the year ended February, partly on a R478m goodwill write-off, and one-offs of a further R251m.  Dutiro’s team, including new chief financial officer Cheryl-Jane Kujenga, has spent the past few months cleaning a "mess" left by former CEO Richard Pike, which Adcorp catalogues as underperforming acquisitions, an over-geared balance sheet, over-generous pay to executives, governance lapses and an adverse legislative environment.  Though its professional services arm grew earnings 15%, profit from support services plunged 30%, training services was more than 100% weaker and industrial services — Adcorp’s largest profit contributor at 55% of earnings — fell 9%.  Like its peers, Adcorp has been hobbled by SA’s stagnant economy and unemployment.  Adcorp’s opportunity would be in addressing SA’s skills gap and it says:  "It’s a travesty that our training business is underscale in terms of its performance."

Read this report by Giulietta Talevi in full at BusinessLive

Msimanga wants full audit of qualifications of top staff in City of Tshwane

News24 reports that Tshwane Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga has asked for a full audit of qualifications held by management officials, following a qualifications scandal involving the city’s chief of staff.  It was reported last week that former chief of staff Marietha Aucamp was appointed to the position even though she did not have the required qualifications.  Shortly after the news broke, Aucamp was placed on special leave and an investigation was instituted to probe her appointment and the qualifications listed on her assessment form for the position.  Aucamp then resigned on Thursday at the behest of Msimanga.  The mayor said that revelations and prima facie evidence had come to the fore, leaving him no option but to ask Aucamp to resign.  The investigation into Aucamp's qualifications and subsequent appointment is ongoing, however Msimanga has now officially written to the city manager to institute an audit of qualifications for all officials in the City who currently hold management positions.  He said the audit would include managers, directors and group heads hired during his time as mayor and those hired before the DA-led administration took over Tshwane.  Msimanga added that he would not allow the investigation into Aucamp's qualifications to fizzle out and that he wanted to find out where HR processes had been flouted.

Read this report by Alex Mitchley and Jan Bornman in full at News24


Plan for uniform medical tariffs could see exodus of doctors from profession

BusinessLive writes that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s plans for a uniform tariff for healthcare services might prompt doctors to quit the profession or seek jobs overseas.  Last Tuesday the minister presented to a cabinet committee the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, which contains proposals that would introduce a uniform tariff for healthcare providers and put an end to copayments.  At present there are no regulations governing the rates that doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers charge.  If patients are presented with a bill for a consultation or procedure that is more than their medical scheme is willing to pay, they are liable for the balance.  The SA Private Practitioners Forum, which represents doctors in private practice, said it was not opposed to a tariff guideline provided it was based on the cost of running a practice.  But, doctors should be permitted to charge higher rates if they had good reason to do so.  Forum CEO Chris Archer said:  "What are they going to use to inform the process [of determining tariffs]?  If it is just a thumb-suck, it will cause untold damage to the private sector and a lot of young doctors will be forced into some other form of enterprise or to emigrate.  You cannot provide a service below cost."  The pricing free-for-all in the private healthcare sector is partly due to a decision by the Competition Commission in 2003 that banned collective bargaining between medical schemes and service providers.

Read this informative report by Tamar Kahn in full at BusinessLive

Funding issue still the biggest stumbling block to NHI, says legal expert

Fin24 reports that the successful implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme hinges on its funding model, according to Ian Jacobsberg, partner at law firm Hogan Lovells.  He stated on Friday that the objectives of the programme to improve general primary healthcare and access to all citizens could not be faulted and the ideas behind it were good, but there were questions about its successful implementation, particularly in respect of the enablement of finances.  The NHI white paper suggested that medical tax credits, which are meant to “reimburse” those making use of private healthcare, be removed and in turn fund the NHI.  But Jacobsberg said this option could end up being a “vicious circle”.  “A lot of people who currently finance their own medical aid are only able to do so because they receive the tax credit.  If taking away the tax credit is the only way to fund NHI, then NHI would have to be fully operational for people to be able to afford to lose their tax credits.  It’s a bit of a chicken and egg (situation),”Jacobsberg observed.  Another option for funding could see government incorporate state-owned medical aids into the NHI.  “That is probably the starting point before they look at private sector medical aids,” Jacobsberg noted.

Read this report by Lameez Omarjee in full at Fin24


Ramaphosa replaces Kate O’Regan as chair in Tom Moyane’s SARS disciplinary inquiry

BusinessLive reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a new chairperson for the disciplinary inquiry into suspended SA Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane.  Former Constitutional Court justice Kate O’Regan was removed as chairperson of the inquiry after Moyane’s attorney, Eric Mabuza, highlighted O’Regan’s unsuitability for overseeing the matter due to her long-standing position on the board of civil society organisation Corruption Watch.  The organisation has been agitating for Moyane to face criminal charges over his handling of a disciplinary case of his de facto second-in-command, Jonas Makwakwa.  In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said Ramaphosa had appointed Azhar Bham SC as the presiding officer in the inquiry.  "While the President is certain that Judge O’Regan would have adjudicated the matter objectively and that her position did not present a conflict, he decided that it would nevertheless be important to remove any possible perception of bias," the Presidency indicated.  Ramaphosa suspended Moyane in March for his handling of the Makwakwa matter and for allegedly misleading Parliament, making unauthorised bonus payments to executive members and instructing a SARS official not to co-operate with a KPMG inquiry.

Read this report by Natasha Marrian in full at BusinessLive


Three Nedbank employees and five other persons nabbed for Klerksdorp bank robbery

ANA reports that three employees were among a total of eight people arrested in connection with a robbery at a Klerksdorp bank where more than R3 million was stolen, the Hawks said on Tuesday.  The Priority Violent Crimes Unit arrested the latest six people in Klerksdorp and Upington after a bank robbery that took place in April this year.  Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said:  "The suspects allegedly colluded and stole more than R3 million at the local Nedbank branch.  Two suspects allegedly posed as security officers to do a routine pickup.  They produced fake documents and were handed money by the bank staff."  Following the robbery, an intelligence-driven Hawks operation led to the arrest of two suspects two weeks ago, while six more people were arrested at the weekend.  All eight people were expected to appear in the Klerksdorp Magistrate on Tuesday, facing charges of theft.

Read this report by Molaole Montsho in full at IOL News


Equal Education banned from Western Cape schools amid sexual harassment allegations

GroundUp reports that Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer has instructed Equal Education (EE) to stop operating in the province's schools by 22 May, until such time as her department holds a meeting with the organisation.  This followed allegations of sexual misconduct against former general secretary Tshepo Motsepe, former head of organising Luyolo Mazwembe, and former treasurer Doron Isaacs.  Although Schäfer suggested that some of the allegations might be from school children, the organisation said that was not true.  "None of the allegations relate to school children.  Once we receive a letter from the MEC, we will be in a position to consider her requests.  We look forward to receiving it and will answer any questions posed to us in detail," said EE.  In a statement on Monday, Schäfer said EE worked in schools across the province, and while at least some of the allegations appeared to be from people within the organisation's staff, it was not clear whether any pupils were involved.  "If the allegations are correct, this is hardly the type of person we need working in our schools,” she observed.  Schäfer also wanted to know whether EE conducted background checks on staff and if so, whether Motsepe, Mazwembe and Isaacs had passed the checks.  The organisation said, like the MEC, they took sexual harassment seriously.

Read this report by Tariro Washinyira in full at GroundUp. Read the Western Cape Education department’s press statement at SA Govt News


Burning Metrorail commuter train pulls in at Retreat station in Cape Town on Tuesday

News24 reports that a Metrorail train pulled into Retreat station in Cape Town on Tuesday morning with at least two of its carriages on fire.  Passengers waiting for the train to arrive at the station were greeted by raging flames and plumes of black smoke coming from its carriages.  The train was en route to Fish Hoek.  Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott indicated that all commuters on board were evacuated and no injuries were reported.  In a later statement, Metrorail said that four carriages in total were damaged.  The initial two carriages that were on fire were completely gutted, while the adjoining two carriages suffered minor damage.  Scott said it was "far too early" to determine the cause of the fire and that the cost of the damage would only be known once Prasa's loss adjusters had inspected the carriages.

A short report by Kaveel Singh is at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Our priority is to provide safe rail travel, Blade Nzimande tells parliament, at Daily Maverick
  • Women and children may get their own train carriages, at News24


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page