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, 7 June 2018.


TOP STORY – PUBLIC SECTOR WAGE STRIKE

With PSA to strike on Monday, public sector wage deal inches closer with more unions signing

Fin24 reports that the public sector wage agreement is close to being a done deal, with 48% of workers represented by trade unions at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) supporting the government’s offer.  A majority of 50%+1 employee agreement is required to implement the deal.  "We are awaiting Nehawu to finalise their consultation.  We will be patient," the PSCBC’s Frikkie de Bruin indicated on Thursday.  Two unions have so far confirmed that they have signed, namely Popcru and Sadtu.  The PSCBC has kept the names of the other signatories under wraps due to union rivalry.  This stance has been met with disdain by the Public Servants Association (PSA), which has been outspoken against the wage negotiations since early 2018, accusing Cosatu unions of "selling out" their members.  The 238,000 member-strong PSA will go on strike from Monday, which will likely affect immigration, the distribution of social grants and prosecutors in the judicial system.  Nehawu and six other Cosatu affiliates will brief the media on Friday about the wage negotiations.  The proposed three-year wage deal would see 7% increases for junior employees for 2018/2019, 6.5% for mid-level employees and 6% for senior staff.  The increases for the second and third years would be on an inflation-linked sliding scale.

Read this report by Tehillah Niselow in full at Fin24. Read too, PSA officially serves intended strike notice, at EWN. Read the PSA’s press statement at SA Labour News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Unrepentant PSA declares war after talks collapse, at Afro Voice
  • Public service ‘Day of Rage’ strike set for Monday, at The Citizen


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Metrobus warns of further disruptions due to Demawusa strike

BusinessLive reports that Johannesburg’s Metrobus service has been struggling since Tuesday to transport thousands of commuters in the city due to a strike by the Democratic Municipal & Allied Workers Union of SA (Demawusa).  Four buses were stoned and two drivers were injured in the Joburg CBD when the strike started on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, five windows of a bus were broken after it was stoned.  No one was injured.  Talks deadlocked on Wednesday‚ but were due to resume on Thursday morning.  A Demawusa spokesperson indicated that their demands included increasing wages in line with the number of years an employee has been employed; increasing the wages of new employees to the Metrobus salary scale; paying long service bonuses; removing employees who have been in acting positions for more than three months and filling those vacancies with permanent appointments within three months; and removing all ticketing machines and replacing them with cashless machines.  Samwu and Imatu members are apparently continuing to provide transport services on a small scale, despite being intimidated.

Read this report by Nico Gous in full at BusinessLive

Waterless Ugu municipality opens cases against striking workers for sabotage of water system

BusinessLive reports that Ugu district municipality has opened seven cases of sabotage after striking workers tampered with the water system, resulting in tourism ventures, local businesses and residents going for days without water.  Areas affected include the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) coastal tourist havens of Port Shepstone, Ramsgate, Uvongo Beach, Hibberdene, Margate and Port Edward.  The current strike is supported by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), whose members are unhappy with deductions to their salaries for not coming to work during an illegal work stoppage late in 2017.  Samwu is also demanding that suspended shop stewards be brought back to work.  On Tuesday, the Ugu municipality manager claimed the sabotage to its water installation and infrastructure was linked to the wildcat strike.  Ugu spokesperson France Zama said discussions were ongoing to end the strike and that a solution would found "as soon as possible".  George Henderson, the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in Ugu, said:  "Hundreds of homes and businesses have been affected…  Business cannot survive like this without water.”

Read this report by Chris Makhaye and Nce Mkhize in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Thirsty KZN South Coasters appeal for water as region is declared a ‘disaster’, at The Citizen

Storehouses, tractors set alight as farm protests turn violent in Addo area in Eastern Cape

News24 reports that at least three tractors and two citrus storehouses have been destroyed as protest action by hundreds of citrus farmworkers in the Addo area, in the Eastern Cape, turned violent.  The workers have been protesting since last week over wages and poor living standards, and have frequently barricaded roads.  On Tuesday evening, a group of about 200 workers blocked the route R336 extension leading to Moses Mabhida area, in Kirkwood, with stones and burning tyres.  The situation has resulted in the SA National Parks warning tourists not to travel through Addo when visiting the Addo National Park, where the shop and restaurant had been closed as staff were being intimidated and stopped from attending work.  Police spokesperson Sergeant Majola Nkholi confirmed that at least one orchard store had been set alight and three tractors had also been torched on Tuesday evening.  At least one other warehouse was set alight on Wednesday.  Three suspects have been arrested.  Nkholi said the situation was very tense, with a number of breakaway groups trying to gain access to orchards and warehouses.  Firefighters battled to contain a number of fires that flared up and prevent them from spreading to the citrus orchards, as protesters set packing crates alight in the fields.

Read this report by Derrick Spies in full at News24

Saftu threatens four-day strike over outsourcing of Gauteng municipal workers

The Citizen reports that the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) is set to flex its muscles again and mobilise millions to hit the streets, this time over the outsourcing of municipal workers.  Members of Samwu and other trade unions have been lobbying for an end to the outsourcing of jobs such as cleaners, security guards and landscapers at Gauteng local government entities since last year.  But, several meetings between officials and workers have produced little progress in this regard, according to the federation.  The campaign, Outsourcing Must Fall, has kicked off again and workers have given government one more week to resolve the issue.  Saftu national organiser Lebohang Panyeko said that, if this demand was not met, the federation would embark on a four-day strike.  Gauteng MPL Joe Mpisi addressed a 300-strong crowd protesting outside the Gauteng legislature on Wednesday and promised that worker issues would be addressed in a meeting within a week.  Mpisi commented:  “We are giving them the benefit of the doubt that they will meet their commitment.  They are saying they will bring all state departments and the municipalities around Gauteng to discuss the issues of outsourcing.”

Read this report by Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni in full at The Citizen


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Eskom digs in its heels over nil wage increases

Bloomberg reports that state-owned power utility Eskom has kept its nil pay offer to workers unchanged in a second round of wage talks.  Company spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said:  "We still are sitting where we are, at 0%.  The encouraging thing, though, is both parties are willing to continue talks."  The negotiations are taking place as Eskom strives to improve the efficiency of its operations and rein in costs.  The utility began a process in April to sell a mortgage unit used to provide home loans to staff while, according to a Business Day report, chairman Jabu Mabuza has said new appointments have been halted and that there would be no pay increases or bonuses.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents about 15,000 of the utility’s 47,000 workers, approached the talks by calling for Mabuza and Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe to quit.  The union also claimed in a statement that the utility’s decision to sell assets would result in job losses.

This short report by Paul Burkhardt is at BusinessLive

Unions livid as Eskom sticks to its 0% wage offer

BusinessLive reports that cash-strapped power utility Eskom is heading for a showdown with unions in the second round of wage talks as it sticks to its stance of no pay increases.  Wednesday was the first day of the second round of talks, and Eskom has not budged from its opening offer, a move that has set the stage for a showdown with the unions.  Eskom did not give in on any demands, including on the ‘softer’ issues of maternity leave and housing.  On Wednesday, the unions said that they were prepared to "physically remove" the newly appointed top management and embark on an unprotected strike.  Eskom employees are essential-service workers and so cannot strike legally.  The financial situation at Eskom is dire, even though a turnaround strategy is on the cards.  The NUM, the majority union at Eskom is demanding a 15% increase.  The union’s Paris Mashego said they were interpreting the company’s stance as a suspension of its recognition agreement.  He claimed management wanted to strip employees of their current conditions of service, as agreed to in the past.  Numsa’s Irvin Jim said they were "dismayed" by Eskom’s stance.  Solidarity’s Deon Reyneke said that Eskom was simply playing games by frustrating trade unions with a 0% offer, hoping unions or their members would do "something irresponsible" to give the company the "moral high ground".  Solidarity’s opening demand was for a 9.5% increase.  Talks were due to continue on Thursday and Friday this week.

Read this report by Natasha Marrian & Claudi Mailovich in full at BL Premium (paywall access)


MINING LABOUR

Artisanal mining should be legalised, mining analyst tells seminar

Mining Weekly reports that mining analyst David van Wyk points out that, as industrial mining for gold declines, artisanal mining for gold in abandoned, ownerless and derelict mines will increase, making way for artisanal miners to mine abandoned shafts.  Addressing delegates at a mining seminar at Sustainability Week 2018 in Pretoria, he pointed out that there were currently 30,000 illegal artisanal miners in Gauteng alone.  Noting that although they were are considered illegal miners, they did in fact contribute to the economy and that shutting down artisanal mining would result in 280,000 people being left without any means of survival because there was a dependency ratio of 1:8.  “It is imperative to consider the impact of this on violent crime in the country, as well as the economic impact of taking their earnings out of the business cycle,” Van Wyk pointed out.  He further noted that the environmental impact of artisanal miners was minimal, stressing that they used little water and produced negligent waste.  “With proper training and management their operations can be made much safer and [the use of] mercury can be phased out.”  Van Wyk stressed the importance of distinguishing between “ghost mining” in operational industrial mines and micro and survival mining on abandoned, derelict and ownerless mines.  “It is possible, given the will and commitment of government, to formalise and legitimise artisanal, survivalist mining,” he argued.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly

Kimberley's illegal miners get mining permits on Thursday

ANA reports that hundreds of artisanal and illegal miners in Kimberley in the Northern Cape were due on Thursday to receive mining permits from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR).  The Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant, was to hand over two mining permits to artisanal miners, also known as zama zamas, in the city.  The artisanal miners successfully negotiated rights in respect of Tailings Mining Resource, a mine dump, from Ekapa Mining and will now have access to 500 ha of ground to mine for themselves.  Earlier this year at the Mining Indaba, the DMR committed to formalising artisanal mining in Kimberley after years of the illegal mining of diamonds.

This short report is at Mining Weekly

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Green Scorpions probe Richards Bay Minerals over alleged dumping of "toxic waste" near rural residential areas, at BusinessLive

Postings on Mining Charter

  • Plan for mining community development levy of 1% scrapped, at Mining Weekly
  • Risk of corruption prompts Gwede Mantashe to drop 1% levy plan on miners, at BusinessLive


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Cosatu wants health minister Aaron Motsoaledi fired over health services crisis

BusinessLive reports that Cosatu has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, saying the public health system has collapsed on his watch.  Motsoaledi has faced a sustained campaign against him by Cosatu over the past two years, as the trade union federation is unhappy with his progress on implementing universal healthcare.  Cosatu has consistently accused him of watering down the ANC’s policy on National Health Insurance (NHI) to appease the private sector.  Motsoaledi called a media conference on Tuesday to try and reassure the nation that while the public health system was taking strain, it was far from collapsing.  However, a damning report presented to Parliament by the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) on Tuesday painted a picture of a health system in disarray.  "What has disappointed Cosatu most is Minister Motsoaledi’s denialism and scapegoating.  He is the only minister who has been allowed to stay in one position for close to a decade without being reshuffled.  He had ample time to set up a vision and implement it over the last nine years, but he has spectacularly failed," said Cosatu.

Read this report by Tamar Kahn in full at BusinessLive. Read Cosatu’s press statement in this regard at Cosatu News


SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / TRAINING

Bureau Veritas launches Ithemba Trust to educate rural women in engineering

BusinessLive reports that Bureau Veritas has launched the Ithemba Trust to educate disadvantaged young black women in rural areas as engineers.  Bureau Veritas is a 190-year-old French-based service provider that offers testing, inspection and certification to global standards.  It operates in 30 African countries and is 51% black-owned in SA.  Ithemba, which means "hope" in Nguni, will mainly identify and fully support the women in obtaining university degrees across the science, technology, engineering and maths fields.  “This must be a competitive degree that leads to global employment [prospects]," Sal Govender of Bureau Veritas said on Wednesday.  Graduating students would not be required to work for the group or its 400,000 client companies across the world.  But, Bureau Veritas would offer graduates placements and teach them "work readiness" and entrepreneurial skills, Govender indicated.  Selection and initial funding of students for the trust has not yet been completed.  Bureau Veritas introduced "learnerships" for about 50 unemployed youth, including engineering bursaries, in 2017 and has helped about 300 employees complete degree, diploma and certificate courses.

Read this report by Mark Allix in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Why a new mind-set is needed to back technical and vocational training, at BusinessLive


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM / SEXISM

'Racist' top cop in Pretoria court on Wednesday on crimen injuria charges

News24 reports that police officer Captain JM Henrico made his first appearance in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, facing a charge of crimen injuria after allegedly calling his subordinates the k-word.  After appearing briefly in the dock, Henrico's case was postponed to 13 June for the disclosure of the docket.  Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), which had been approached by several police officers to assist them with a watching brief, was also present in court.  In a statement, LHR said the complainants in the matter had accused Henrico of referring to them by the k-word and verbally harassing them.  "Black police officers at the Pretoria police station have filed various internal and criminal complaints against Captain Henrico for numerous acts of racism against them," LHR stated.  The complaints apparently date back to 2016.  LHR said this case represented one of numerous cases filed by police officers testifying to acts of racism prevalent in police stations across the country.  It added that the National Prosecution Authority's decision to proceed with a criminal trial in this matter offered hope for the officials and sent a strong message that racism had serious consequences.

Read this report by Alex Mitchley in full at News24


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Phahlane off the hook, after corruption case withdrawn due to postponement refusal

News24 reports that former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane is no longer an accused in a fraud, money laundering and corruption case.  The matter against him was withdrawn in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Pretoria on Thursday.  It had been alleged that Phahlane and his wife Beauty Phahlane were given cars by their co-accused, car dealer Durand Snyman, which were paid for by a police contractor who allegedly received billions in forensic contracts.  Prosecutor Dries van Rensburg had to withdraw the matter against the Phahlanes and Snyman after the court dismissed an application for another postponement.  At the court appearance meant for the arrangement of a trial date, Van Rensburg asked for a three-month postponement to complete investigations, the docket and to finalise the charge sheet.  He told the court that investigations had expanded and more people could be added to the charge sheet.  Attorney Piet Du Plessis, acting on behalf of the Phahlanes, opposed the postponement and requested that the matter be struck from the roll.  "It's clear that there are substantial investigations outstanding in the matter," said Du Plessis, adding that they would take some time to complete.  He said the postponement was not in the interests of justice as his clients had the right to a speedy trial.  The magistrate dismissed the State's application for a postponement.

Read this report by Alex Mitchley in full at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Former Mpumalanga magistrate in court for fraud and corruption, at The Citizen


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Metrorail does not run ‘where the people are or work’, Competition Commission inquiry hears

Engineering News reports that Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe told the Competition Commission’s land-based public passenger transport inquiry on Wednesday that Metrorail did not currently run “where the people are”.  Metrorail is operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).  In response to a question on the Metrorail and Gautrain systems competing on the same routes, Van der Merwe said that Metrorail was built between 1930 and 1950 to serve the mining and farming industries.  However, today “it does not run where the people are.  Even worse, it does not run where people work.”  Van der Merwe said the proposed extension of the Gautrain system, currently awaiting National Treasury approval, would not compete with Metrorail, but “complement it”.  He noted that the current Gautrain system linked up with the Metrorail system, wherever possible.  Van der Merwe warned that mobility in Gauteng was shifting away from public transport.  In 2000, 60% of commuters used public transport, and 40% their cars.  In 2011, 56% used public transport and 44% their private cars.  Van der Merwe added that e-hailing, through services such as Uber, had proved popular in Gauteng, especially with the youth, and that there was a shift to mobility as a service.

Read this report in full at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • NTA warns of increase in taxi fares following fuel price hike, at EWN
  • Cape Town taxi strike planned for Wednesday suspended, at News24

 


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