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 roundup of weekend news, see summaries of our
selection of South African labour-related stories
that appeared since Friday, 25 May 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Auditor-General’s eThekwini staff to get security after 'death threats'

ANA reports that eThekwini Metro on Friday said it would be supplying the Auditor-General's (AG’s) team with municipal security after one of the auditors received death threats while auditing the city’s books.  The alleged threats, received on Tuesday via phone, saw the AG’s provincial office deciding to cease audits and withdraw its team on Wednesday.  At a media briefing on Friday, city manager Sipho Nzuza said the metro would be supplying municipal security for the auditors and confirmed that the AG would also be supplying private security.  He stressed that the audit would continue.  Speaking at the same briefing, Mayor Zandile Gumede said:  “We will not allow this situation to be left unattended.  This issue must be dealt with and must not repeat itself.  Organs of state, chapter nine and independent institutions, should be allowed to do their work without fear or favour.”  "She added that they were in constant communication with the AG’s office and “we hope that by next week they will be back on site.”  Chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on the Auditor-General, Vincent Smith, said on Friday that he was “extremely concerned” at reports of the death threats.  The revelations about the threats were made public just a day after AG Kimi Makwetu released the 2016/2017 consolidated audit outcomes for municipalities, which showed serious regressions countrywide.  

Read this report in full at eNCA. Read too, AG staff death threats: eThekwini mayor pledges full support for investigation, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Hawks condemn killing of officer attending to a complaint, at News24
  • Union wants powerful guns for cash-in-transit employees, at eNCA


MINING LABOUR

Bitter NUM factions to face-off at elective conference next month

Mail & Guardian writes that a bitter feud between rival groups in the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will come to a head at its elective conference next month.  Supporters of general secretary David Sipunzi and president Piet Matosa will go head to head over the union’s top positions.  Sipunzi’s faction represents the new NUM leadership, whereas Matosa represents the old guard.  Matosa’s supporters are largely based in the mining town of Klerksdorp, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and North West.  Sipunzi enjoys majority support from the union’s biggest regions in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State.  Sipunzi narrowly defeated Frans Baleni, former general secretary and Matosa’s ally, in 2015 in an election that threatened to split the union.  Matosa’s faction is now pushing for Carletonville regional secretary Mbuyiseli Hibana to take over from Sipunzi as general secretary.  But, Sipunzi’s supporters said last week he stood a good chance to retain his position.  Sipunzi’s faction wants Matosa to be replaced by NUM deputy president Joseph Montisetsi, but last week the Kopanong branch in Klerksdorp marched to the NUM’s regional office calling for Matosa to be re-elected unopposed.  Meantime, the union continues to lose members.

Read more of this story by Govan Whittles at SA Labour News

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Illegal miners cause chaos in Roodepoort community, at The Citizen

Postings on Mining Charter and mining legislation

  • Junior miners anxious for sensible laws, mining charter amendments, at BusinessLive
  • Mantashe: Use mining right or lose it, at Fin24


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

‘Public sector wages need to be negotiated along sectoral lines in separate structures’

In a letter to the editor, Johann Maree, UCT Emeritus Professor of Sociology, writes about the protracted negotiations over public-sector wages and working conditions.  He agrees with Theto Mahlakoana’s point in her recent article Public sector wage bill out of control that there is a real danger that the high wage bill crowds out expenditure on services to the public.  Maree notes that good wages being afforded for civil servants can’t be begrudged, but there has been no similar increase in the quality of services they provide.  If anything, there has been a decline in services, most noticeably in state-owned enterprises.  A second key issue according to Maree is that the collective bargaining process in the public sector needs to be restructured along sectoral lines.  “It does not make sense that one over-arching bargaining council, the PSCBC, negotiates, in one forum, the wages of immensely diverse occupations, such as teachers, nurses, policemen and policewomen, and many more.”  Moreover, the structures already exist for sector-based bargaining, such as the Education Labour Relations Council and others.  The many advantages to bargaining public sector wages and working conditions sectorally are said to include that it would allow for more nuanced agreements that take the circumstances of each sector’s employees and working conditions into consideration and it would enable differentiated wage settlements so that underpaid public servants, such as police and teachers, could obtain greater increases

Read Prof Maree’s letter in full at BusinessLive

Saftu says its public sector unions have rejected state wage agreement

EWN reports that according to the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), its public sector affiliates have collectively rejected the state wage agreement with its current conditions.  This followed back and forth discussions with the Public Service Association (PSA) over the disputed salary increase for government workers.  While the PSA has apparently agreed to an increase of between 6% and 7%, Saftu maintains that this amount is not enough.  Saftu's Moleko Phakedi said:  “Our unions have rejected the settlement because they believe it does not present any meaningful change in the lives of the public servants and those who depend on them.”

A short report by Tendani Mulaudzi is at EWN


ECONOMIC POLICY / JOB CREATION

Cosatu warns of strike over IPPs, claiming government lied about creation of 58,000 jobs

BusinessLive reports that Cosatu has threatened to intensify its opposition to the government’s recently concluded procurement contracts with 27 independent power producers (IPPs) by going on strike.  According to the labour federation, the government lied when it announced that the procurement would lead to the creation of 58,000 jobs.  Mining unions have taken Energy Minister Jeff Radebe to court, claiming the implementation of the IPP contracts would lead to more than 40,000 job losses in coal mines and other secondary industries.  Cosatu said it was during consultations with the government over its section 77 protest action application at Nedlac that it discovered there was no proof that 58,000 jobs would arise.  "It’s a fallacy … it is a lie.  It’s used to blackmail us into buying into the IPPs, which are expensive … and you have politicians linked to the same IPPs," Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said.  The issue will be discussed at a meeting of the ANC, SA Communist Party and Cosatu alliance, as the federation felt "sidelined" in the consultations that had led to the decision on IPPs.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Jobs issue plagues green energy, at Mail & Guardian

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Mahindra begins building bakkies in SA, at Fin24


RETRENCHMENTS / JOBS SUMMIT

Cosatu wants moratorium on all retrenchments until jobs summit held

BusinessLive reports that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on the government and business to place a moratorium on all retrenchments until a jobs summit is held.  The union federation said on Thursday that its central executive committee (CEC) made the resolution following announcements that close to 12,000 jobs were at stake in the mining industry over the next three years.  On Wednesday, AngloGold Ashanti said it intended to cut 2,000 jobs to shrink its support structure.  President Cyril Ramaphosa made a commitment during his maiden state of the nation address that his administration would convene a jobs summit to explore how the country could save existing jobs and create new ones.  Cosatu's deputy general secretary Solly Phetoe said:  "We need an urgent moratorium on retrenchments or the job summit itself will become redundant and useless."  Cosatu’s second deputy president Zingiswa Losi commented:  "It is a contradiction to call for the summit when there are already plans in some sectors to retrench 15,000 workers in less than three years."

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


RESTRUCTURING / BUSINESS RESCUE

Solidarity against merger of national carriers, wants SAA placed in business rescue

Fin24 reports that proposed merger between SA Airways (SAA), Mango and SA Express could lead to even greater losses, according to Connie Mulder, head of Solidarity’s research institute.  The union issued a statement on Friday indicating its intention to file a court application in the near future to have SAA placed in business rescue.  This followed Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan’s announcement of board changes at SOEs in his portfolio, including SA Express.  The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) on Thursday grounded SA Express due to non-compliance on 17 specific findings.  Gordhan proposed a merger between the national carriers to create "synergy and savings" and also said that selling the airlines was not necessarily the answer to their financial woes.  Solidarity, however, called the idea of a merger "preposterous" and said it would be “akin to throwing a cement life jacket to a drowning person.  "Mulder stated:  "A business practitioner responsible for turning SAA around should be appointed by the court.  The government as a shareholder should no longer be in control of any airlines – airlines should be run by private companies."

Read this report by Lameez Omarjee in full at Fin24. Read Solidarity’s press statement at Solidarity News


SICK LEAVE

Durban teacher sick for 1522 days over 10 years, still lands promotion to HR position

Sunday Tribune reports that a Phoenix teacher found guilty of falsifying a doctor’s certificate in 2015 after being on sick leave for 1,522 days over 10 years has bagged a position in the Department of Education’s human resources division.  But even at her new job the former Hopeville Primary teacher, identified as Ms T Naicker, has reported for just two days and has since been on “permanent sick leave”.  This was made known by KwaZulu-Natal Education (KZN) MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane responding to a query in the provincial legislature about Naicker’s case.  She was axed after the department conducted an investigation during the tenure of Dlungwane’s predecessor.  Naicker appealed against the verdict, but her appeal was dismissed in 2016.  She then applied for medical boarding, but this was also declined by Thandile Risk Management, the consultants for the department.  Instead, the consultants advised the department to explore alternative avenues.  It is alleged that two officials in the department recommended that she be deployed to the human resources (HR) department.  She reported to her new post “for two days only and subsequently submitted a medical certificate (and) is still on sick leave”, said Dlungwane.  Why the department decided to re-employ Naicker in its HR department after she was dismissed as a teacher has as yet not been explained.

Read this report by Lungani Zungu in full at Sunday Tribune


QUALIFICATIONS FRAUD

COPE opens fraud case against ex-Tshwane chief of staff for misrepresentation of qualifications

News24 reports that the Congress of the People (COPE) in Tshwane opened a fraud case against the city's former chief of staff Marietha Aucamp at the Pretoria Central Police station on Saturday.  "COPE wants to reiterate that misrepresentation of education qualifications is a serious offence and believes that sufficient evidence exists to charge Aucamp," the party said.  In a statement submitted at the police station, the party's councillor in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Selata wa'Nkwane, claimed that Aucamp had misrepresented herself by claiming that she was in possession of B-Tech Degree.  "A reasonable person will conclude that [the] suspect the lied about her qualifications in order to deceive the municipality into believing that she had the requisite qualifications and therefore, she deserve the job.  The suspect acted in a manner that made false statement of material facts," wa'Nkwane averred.  Mayor Solly Msimanga has reportedly asked for a full audit on qualifications held by management in his office, following the qualifications scandal involving Aucamp, who recently resigned as the City of Tshwane's chief of staff.

Read this report by Jeanette Chabalala in full at News24


SEXUAL HARASSMENT / ABUSE

Equal Education meets with Western Cape education department over sexual harassment allegations

News24 reports that an Equal Education (EE) delegation has met with various role players from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to discuss allegations of sexual harassment within the organisation and their ongoing work in the province.  The organisation said it now had three separate processes currently running to investigate allegations of sexual harassment, following the shock resignation of three senior members of the organisation amid growing claims of misconduct.  Treasurer Doron Isaacs, former general secretary Tshepo Motsepe and former head of national organising Luyolo Mazwembe, all resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment earlier this month.  Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer then called for members of EE, who were not pupils, not to participate in any activity on school premises until the education department could clarify the extent to which men from the organisation had interacted with pupils at schools this year.  She also wanted to know what measures were in place to vet EE’s members.  Western Cape EE head, Noncedo Madudube said EE had assured the WCED that they had strict sexual harassment policies in place and that they had acted swiftly to address every allegation made.  Madudube indicated that the meeting had concluded on a positive note, with matters clarified regarding school-based activities and the seriousness with which EE has approached issues of sexual harassment.  "It was agreed that there should at this stage be no obstacle to EE members continuing to organise in the Western Cape," she indicated.  EE will meet with the WCED again once the investigations into sexual harassment have been concluded.

Read this report by Derrick Spies in full at News24

Council of Educators yet to access Sex Offenders Register when vetting teachers

News24 reports that the SA Council of Educators (SACE) conceded on Sunday that it had not used the Sex Offenders Register to vet teachers in the past as it was still in the process of gaining access to it.  One of SACE's core functions is to register teachers.  The admission came after the Democratic Alliance (DA) issued a statement saying that SACE's failure to check the register before issuing licences to teachers was against the law.  SACE spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu said it was not that simple and observed:  “For us to have access to the Sex Offenders register, we have to go through the director generals.”  He said that meetings over the matter had recently taken place, but concurred it was a "concern".  Ndhlovu went on to stress that there were already a number of processes underway to verify the suitability of teachers applying to register with the Council.  He also explained that teachers who were struck off the roll for sexual misconduct were placed on the Child Protection Register.  However, the Sex Offenders Register only included those convicted by a court.  He furthermore indicated that, when applying for registration by the council, teachers had to indicate if they had ever been charged with misconduct.  From 2019, all those applying would need to submit a police clearance certificate as well.

Read this report in full at News24. Read too, Sexual offenders may be in our schools, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Wolves in sheep’s clothing: Sexual harassment in the public interest sector, at Daily Maverick


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Gauteng MEC for transport reopens Tsakane taxi rank after fatal shooting

News24 reports that Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi reopened Tsakane Taxi Rank on Friday afternoon after a shooting that left four people dead earlier in the week.  The reopening followed a peace agreement signed on Thursday night by the Greater Brakpan Taxi Association (GBTA), the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco), the Ekurhuleni Regional Council and representatives of the Concerned Group of Drivers.  Vadi said the agreement was a "step in the right direction".  Four people were shot and killed during taxi-related violence in Brakpan on Wednesday morning.  The shooting took place shortly after members of the local taxi association had attended a meeting in the area to resolve their complaints.  After the meeting concluded and members began to leave, a dispute about the Brakpan and Tsakane taxi routes sparked the shootout.  Eight people were later arrested.  The parties agreed on Thursday to remove armed security guards from taxi ranks in the Greater Brakpan area and declare taxi ranks "gun-free zones.  They also committed to end violence in the taxi industry and to adhere to conditions of operating licences.

Read this report by Jenna Etheridge in full at News24

 


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