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, 1 June 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Medical staff at Mapulaneng hospital in Bushbuckridge on strike demanding better security

SABC News reports that according to the Mpumalanga Health Department, the Mapulaneng hospital in Bushbuckridge has been operating on a skeleton staff after doctors and nurses affiliated to the SA Medical Association (SAMA) downed tools.  They are demanding an improvement in the hospital’s security after an off duty doctor was shot and wounded at the hospital premises by criminals last month.  Spokesperson for the provincial Health Department, Dumisani Malamule, said a meeting to resolve the dispute would be held on Monday and added:  “Over the weekend we were operating with a skeleton staff, some of them are not back at work.  But patients were being assisted, they did get service and there is no patient that was turned away because of the current situation.  We are hopeful that the further negotiations that we still going to engage on, will actually bring solution to this problem that we are faced with in Mapulaneng.”

Read this short report and view a related video at SABC News

Calls mount for Durban teacher who took 1,522 days’ sick leave to pay back the money

Sunday Tribune reports that opposition parties in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) want the former Hopeville Primary School (Phoenix) teacher who pocketed R519,420 during her 1 522 days’ unlawful sick leave to pay back the money.  Despite being found guilty on falsifying a doctor’s note, Theresa Naicker was redeployed to the human resources division where she also reported for duty for only two days before going on “permanent sick leave”.  The Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Dr Rishigen Viranna said they were still consulting with legal advisers on whether they should press fraud charges against Naicker.  The DA also wants the two officials who recommended her medical boarding, which had been rejected by consultants to the department, to face the music.  Thembeni KaMadlopha-Mthethwa, the IFP’s KZN education spokesperson, said:  “If the department found that she falsified her sick note, then it must recoup the money the teacher earned while on sick leave during that period.”  KaMadlopha-Mthethwa also wants Naicker to be axed from her new position at the education department’s human resources division.  Equal Education said it was weighing its options whether or not to press charges against the teacher.

Read this report by Lungani Zungu in full at Sunday Tribune

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Terrified drivers in cash-in-transit war speak out, on page 1 of Saturday Star of 2 June 2018
  • Rising cash-in-transit SA attacks pose threat to economy, at Business Report
  • Cele pledges all-out war on cash-in-transit bandits, on page 10 of The Sunday Times of 3 June 2018


MINING LABOUR

Business rescue practitioners resign from Shiva Uranium as IDC digs in

BusinessLive reports that the business rescue practitioners (BRPs) of eight Gupta-owned companies have been elbowed out of managing Shiva Uranium following court action by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).  Louis Klopper and Kurt Knoop resigned as BRPs in light of the opposition to their presence at Shiva by the state-owned investor.  The IDC is owed R287.5m by the mine, which was placed in rescue along with seven other Gupta companies in coal mining and services.  The IDC as a major creditor had felt that the asset was not being fully managed by the BRPs and the relationship between the parties had broken down.  The eight companies have been at the heart of claims against the Gupta family.  Thursday’s move has left the BRPs focusing on the other seven companies under their care.  The rescue processes have been marked by a number of court battles, contempt of court charges, allegations and counter-allegations.  One of the actions undertaken by the BRPs has been to order a stop to the mining contract between Optimum Colliery and Gupta-linked contract miner JIC Mining.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has objected to the loss of 480 contractor jobs at the mine, but Klopper said the practitioners could not justify paying JIC up to R50m a month when other creditors were waiting to be paid.  Another victory has been overturning a Durban court block on Optimum’s coal exports through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Gupta-owned Shiva Uranium's business rescue practitioners throw in towel, at Fin24

Sibanye-Stillwater confirms death of yet another mineworker

Reuters reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Friday that a miner has been killed in a rockfall at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein gold mine.  Seven workers died at the mine four weeks ago in a cave-in following a seismic event.  A spokesman for Sibanye confirmed the latest incident.  The precious metals producer, whose share price sank 28% in May, noted on Thursday that “recent safety incidents” were among investors' concerns.  Safety concerns are high on the investor radar screen in SA’s mining industry, which extracts metals from the world’s deepest mines.  The 2017 death toll in SA mines increased to 88, surpassing the 2016 figure of 73, and ending nine straight years of falling fatalities

A short report by Ed Stoddard is at BusinessLive

Amcu in legal challenge to halt transfer of Amplats’ R7bn provident fund into umbrella fund

BusinessLive reports that a R7bn pension fund is at the heart of a legal challenge by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) against Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).  Not for the first time, Amcu has demanded the transfer of pension and provident funds established by companies in the platinum and gold sectors into the Igula Umbrella Provident Fund, which it set up.  The gold sector rejected Amcu’s demands for the Mineworkers Provident Fund to be paid into Igula after the issue was raised during wage talks in 2015, and the matter went quiet.  Amcu is now taking Amplats to the Labour Court to stop it from transferring R7bn in funds from the Amplats Group Provident Fund to the Old Mutual Umbrella Fund.  Amcu says a wage agreement signed with Amplats in 2016 contains a clause stipulating that there would be talks between the two sides about the transfer of pension and provident funds to Igula.  The Labour Court heard the application at the end of May, but ruled it was not urgent and postponed the hearing to 27 June.  According to Amplats, it provided feedback to Amcu that the Igula Fund was unsuccessful as an umbrella fund provider.

Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Two illegal miners caught with explosives in Boksburg informal settlement, at News24
  • Three mine workers from Northam jailed for dealing in explosives, at SAPS News
  • Minerals department urged to work with new owners of Lily Mine, at SABC News
  • Kangra coal mine took the water and gave villagers empty promises, at City Press

Postings on Mining Charter

  • Mantashe sees 'solid' mining charter after consultations, at Mining Weekly
  • New Mining Charter a step closer as Mantashe wraps up community consultations, at BusinessLive
  • Mining Charter finalisation waiting on ‘Meeting of Principals’, at Miningmx
  • Gwede Mantashe’s playing to the gallery does not hide fears over Mining Charter, at BusinessLive


FARMING LABOUR

“No toilets equals crap wine” farm workers warned as they marched on Agri-Western Cape

GroundUp reports that about 200 farmworkers supported by the Women on Farms Project marched to the offices of Agri-Western Cape in Paarl on Tuesday.  The workers, from Simondium near Stellenbosch and surrounding areas, were calling for better wages, an end to forced evictions and harsh punishment for farmers who did not adhere to health and safety regulations.  The group of mostly women marchers were dressed in red T-shirts and held up colourful posters reading “No toilets equals crap wine” and “Stop farm evictions”.  Earlier on Tuesday, the group met with representatives from the CCMA, the provincial minister of Economic Opportunities and a representative from the labour department’s inspectors.  Outside the offices of Agri-Western Cape, several farm workers were given an opportunity to voice their grievances directly to the organisation’s CEO Carl Opperman.  One worker said women farmworkers were often forced to relieve themselves in the vineyards or nearby bushes because there are no toilets for workers.  “We are not animals.  We need to be treated with dignity and humanity by the farmers,” she stated.  Opperman invited representatives from Women on Farms to meet to discuss specific complaints.

Read this report by Barbara Maregele in full at GroundUp

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SA’s wine farmers feeling the pressure, says Vinpro, at BusinessLive
  • Shear lies: Farmers slam 'misrepresentative' mohair exposé, at News24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Lock-out at Walter Sisulu University with all workers barred from entering campuses

DispatchLive reports that all Walter Sisulu University (WSU) workers have been barred from entering campus premises.  Vice chancellor Professor Rob Midgley issued the “lock out notice” to workers on Wednesday evening, highlighting that it was effective from midnight on Wednesday.  The notice added that any union member who attempted to access the premises from Thursday morning onwards, “will make him or herself guilty of serious misconduct.”  This followed a decision by the National Tertiary Educators Union (NTESU) and the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) to down tools from Monday after management refused to heed their call for an 8% salary increase.  The university is offering a 6.3% wage hike.  On Wednesday the students’ representative council announced that the university's 31,000 students had joined in support of the workers.  Their demands include a call for Midgley to resign.

Read this report by Simthandile Ford in full at DispatchLive (paywall access)


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Services at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital back to normal following staff protests

EWN reports that according to the Gauteng Health Department, all services at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg were back to normal on Friday morning following a shutdown of the facility due to violent protests.  Hundreds of workers went on a rampage on Thursday over unpaid bonuses.  Jack Bloom of the Democratic Alliance (DA) commented:  “I visited the hospital and found rubbish strewn all over and the remains of burnt-out fires.   Non-emergency surgery has been cancelled and most patients have left the hospital.   I was told that protesters threatened staff and patients and in one instance, pulled doctors out of surgery while a patient was on the operating table.”  Departmental spokesperson Kutso Rabuthatha said that cleaning services had already started on Thursday.  Meanwhile, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that he would be discussing the protest with the Minister of Police to ensure action was taken against those responsible.  He called the action pure hooliganism

Based on reports by Thando Kubheka at EWN and Sanele Gumada at The Citizen. Read too, Chaotic strike at Charlotte Maxeke hospital slammed by Minister and MEC, at SowetanLive

Following violent protests, Charlotte Maxeke hospital staff to get unpaid bonuses by end of June

BusinessLive reports that the Gauteng health department has moved to defuse tension with unions, which led to last week’s violent protests at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, by undertaking to pay outstanding staff bonuses by the end of June.  Unpaid bonuses for 2016-17 were the trigger for last Thursday’s violent disruption of services, with operations postponed and patients turned away as members of various unions threatened staff, blocked entrances and strewed rubbish about the facility.  Operations were also cancelled at Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp on Tuesday due to protests.  The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union’s (Nehawu’s) Tshepo Mokheranyana said he hoped the latest protests had "taught the department a lesson", but in the same breath said the union did not endorse violent protests that placed patients’ lives at risk.  The incident was unplanned and had involved several unions, Mokheranyana stated.

Read this report by Tamar Kahn in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Gauteng Health department opens criminal cases against striking workers, at SABC News
  • ANC Gauteng shocked by health workers trashing of Charlotte Maxeke hospital, at eNCA
  • Health workers hit back at critics after chaos at Jo’burg hospital, at Timeslive
  • Opinion:   Workers do not trash hospitals for nothing, at The Citizen


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / JOBS

Saftu's Vavi says renewable energy needed, but not at expense of jobs

News24 reports that the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has condemned the privatisation of energy generation to "capitalist companies" and expressed its support for a call for social ownership of the renewable energy project.  Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced that a new bidding window for the next phase of independent power producers (IPPs) would be launched in November, which he expected would inject R40bn-R50bn investment into the country and create at least 5,000 jobs during construction.  These projects would add to the 27 renewable contracts which he signed earlier this year.  "Saftu is in favour of using renewable resources - sun, wind and water - to generate electricity and reduce the reliance of coal, which is both non-renewable and harmful to the environment and the health of the people around coal-fired power stations," said Saftu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.  He added, however, the transition had to be done in a way that protected the livelihoods of mining and energy workers and the lives of communities most affected by environmental pollution.  "Radebe’s plans will do the opposite.  40 000 jobs will be lost, as mines, mostly in Mpumalanga, are closed,” Vavi claimed.

Read this report by Derrick Spies in full at News24. Read too, November launch of 5th Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) bid window, at Engineering News. Read Saftu’s press statement in this regard at Saftu News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • High inequality in SA partly driven by the relative de-industrialisation over past two decades, at Business Report


YOUTH EMPLOYMENT

Youth unemployment now at top of national agenda, says Ramaphosa

EWN reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa says government has put youth unemployment at the top of its national agenda.  He was speaking on the sidelines of the SA Communist Party’s (SACP’s) central executive committee meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday morning.  Aware that many young people are without jobs, the Presidency is setting up a team to deal specifically with youth unemployment in the country.  “At the Presidency level that team is being finalised.  We should be able to announce that on 16 [June].  This Youth Month we want the young people of the country to engage government and talk openly about their needs and aspirations,” Ramaphosa indicated.  According to Stats SA, South Africa’s unemployment rate is high for both youth and adults, however, the unemployment rate among young people aged 15–34 is as high as 38.2%.

Read this report by Thando Kubheka in full at EWN


EXECUTIVE PAY / WAGE GAP

Tongaat’s executive pay under scrutiny by Old Mutual in wake of ‘appalling’ annual results

BusinessLive reports that Old Mutual Investment Group is not satisfied with Tongaat Hulett’s executive pay structure and says it plans to discuss the issue with the company.  This comes after Investec Securities said in a report that it wanted Tongaat CEO Peter Staude to step down after the sugar producer’s "appalling" annual results and underperformance over the past decade.  Old Mutual was concerned about the way Tongaat’s executive remuneration was structured and voted against the pay policy at the annual general meeting in August 2017.  "We will be engaging management on this issue in order to seek greater alignment between company strategy and reward structure," Jon Duncan, head of responsible investment at Old Mutual Investment Group, indicated.  Tongaat’s shares have fallen to their lowest levels since 2009 after the company reported a 37.2% decline in headline earnings for the year to March.  After announcing the weak result, the group said on Wednesday last week it had awarded Staude and CFO Murray Munro shares bought on the market as part of Tongaat’s long-term incentive plan.

Read this report by Nick Hedley in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • South Africa's richest man, Anton Rupert, got paid R39 million in 2018, at Business Report
  • 40% of SA's directors are millionaires, at Business Report


SEXUAL HARASSMENT / ABUSE

SABC commissions two inquiries to probe 'jobs for sex' and interference in news

News24 reports that the SA Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) announced on Thursday that it would be establishing two commissions of inquiry.  One will focus on sexual harassment in the workplace and the other on political and management interference in news decisions.  Acting Group CEO Nomsa Philiso told reporters that the inquiries followed recommendations by a SABC ad hoc committee that editorial interference and unlawful conduct should be dealt with.  She said the inquiries would investigate the veracity of interference in the newsroom and probe "personal favours" in the workplace.  “Once you know about something, you have a responsibility to act on it.  We need to investigate the sex-for-jobs [claims]."  The news inquiry is expected to start on 1 June and end on 31 July.  Complaints relating to sexual assault will be receivable from 1 June to 15 June and the inquiry will sit from 18 June 31 July.

Read this report by Jeanette Chabalala in full at News24. Read too, SABC set to probe misconduct and editorial interference claims, at IOL News. And also, DA welcomes SABC commission of inquiry into sexual harassment, at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • External experts to lead SABC commissions of inquiry, at SABC News

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page