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
Monday, 11 June 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Workers in cash-in-transit sector to march to Gauteng legislature on Tuesday over safety

BusinessLive reports that cash-in-transit security officers are planning to march to the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday to call on the government to take action to help them combat a spate of cash heists.  Although the march was initially planned for Monday‚ it was postponed to Tuesday.  Hlasinyane Motaung‚ speaking on behalf of the Motor Transport Workers Union‚ said:  "They must improve‚ standardise and regulate the vehicles… Our people are being killed in these robberies."  Unions in the sector are also demanding that cash-in-transit workers be given more powerful weapons to defend themselves and match the firepower of the attackers.  Participants will meet in Jorissen Street opposite the University of the Witwatersrand and will proceed to the Gauteng legislature in the city centre from 9am.  The march is also supported by the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa).

A short report by Kgaugelo Masweneng is at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Uber applauds upgraded safety feature, at The Citizen
  • Golden Arrow bus driver shot six times at depot, at Daily Voice
  • Witnesses protected as hearing tackles e-hailing taxi dispute, at BusinessLive


MINING LABOUR

Amcu to demand R12,500 monthly minimum for gold miners

Bloomberg reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) plans to demand a R12,500 monthly minimum wage from some of the country’s top gold producers in upcoming wage negotiations.  The union decided on its demands on Sunday at a mass meeting near Carletonville.  It is the second largest union represented at the centralised bargaining forum for gold producers, which include AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye-Stillwater and Harmony Gold, according to the Minerals Council SA (formerly known as the Chamber of Mines).  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa commented that what workers were currently paid “isn’t fair”.  Amcu will also be calling for an increase in benefits ranging from severance pay to transport costs and longer maternity leave.  It also wants a five-day work week to replace the present shift system.  The union’s demand would mean a substantial increase in the producers’ costs.  The biggest union at the companies, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), in April submitted a list of demands for a two-year agreement that called for entry-level underground pay of R10,500 a month.

Read this report by Paul Burkhardt, Ntando Thukwana & Odwa Mjo at Moneyweb

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO says seismic events a fact of life for South Africa mines

Reuters reports that Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, said on Thursday that earthquakes such as the one in which seven miners died last month at one of the producers’ SA mines were impossible to predict and were a fact of life for deep level operations in SA.  The company has been the object of strong criticism from unions, media and the government after the earthquake at its Driefontein gold mine that killed the miners.  Another miner was killed there the week before last.  In a presentation to investors, Froneman said:  “Seismicity is a feature of mining in the region and deep-level mining layouts and support systems have been designed specifically to cope with seismicity…  You cannot predict seismic events… That kind of technology does not exist.”  He indicated that from 2013 to the middle of May 2018 at the Driefontein and Kloof operations there had been an average of 649 seismic events per year measuring between 1 and 2 magnitude on the Richter scale.  Over the same period there had been an average of 84 seismic events per year that were stronger than 2 magnitude.  In 2018 alone there have been 234 events so far.  The event that killed seven workers last month measured magnitude 2.2 and was being investigated to see what went so horribly wrong.

Read this report by Ed Stoddard in full at Moneyweb. Read too, Mantashe says DMR paying attention to seismicity to avoid fatalities, at Mining Weekly

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Over 100 suspected illegal miners arrested in Evander area due in court, at EWN


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

CCMA called upon to intervene in Metrobus, Demawusa wage stoppage

EWN reports that according to Johannesburg’s Metrobus service, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has been called to intervene in negotiations between the company and workers from the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of SA (Demawusa).  Commuters have been left stranded for several days after drivers went on strike last week over a number of issues, including salary increases.  Last week, the bus operator held talks with union bosses that eventually deadlocked.  Indicating that no offer had been put on the table as Demawusa was not a recognised union, Goodwill Shivuri of Metrobus said:  “These issues sit at the Bargaining Council with the unions that we have an agreement with.  So, it’s very difficult for us to go against what we already have an agreement on.  That’s why we’ve referred the matter to CCMA.”  But the Demawusa’s Dion Makhura disputed that and insisted that Metrobus was not part of the SA Local Government Association (Salga) at the bargaining council.  The matter will be heard at the CCMA on Wednesday.

A short report by Kgomotso Modise is at EWN

Sassa says payment of grants won’t be affected by PSA strike

EWN reports that according to the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), a strike by workers affiliated to the Public Servants Association (PSA) will not affect the payment of social grants.  The PSA on Friday cancelled its so-called Day of Rage due to take place on Monday after a majority of unions at the Public Sector Co-ordinating Bargaining Council accepted government’s wage officer.  However, the association’s members in Sassa have gone on strike because it does not regard the agency to fall under the bargaining council.  The agency’s Paseka Letsatsi indicated that they would be meeting with the union and the Social Development Minister on Monday.  "From where we stand as an organisation, both the South African Social Security Agency and the PSA will be able to find each other because we think some of these issues can be resolved.  We can safely say the strike has not affected the payment of grants."

This short report by Barry Bateman is at EWN. See too, Sassa workers strike for better pay, at Cape Argus


DISPUTES

Numsa in recognition dispute with Transnet

Timeslive reports that although on Friday the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) was granted a certificate of non-resolution to strike at Transnet over union recognition‚ the parties are still in talks about the dispute.  "We will first engage our members to get a mandate.  We would prefer a meeting with the transport minister and board first before resorting to this course of action.  In a strike, the ‘no work‚ no pay’ principle applies.  Our members don’t get paid during a strike and therefore we must exhaust all options before going on strike‚" Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said.  She indicated that the union wanted to protest against Transnet’s refusal to recognise them.  Among other things‚ "it disciplined and suspended over a hundred of our members in Bloemfontein for daring to wear Numsa regalia".  Hlubi-Majola commented:  "This is a case we are fighting and it will be heard by the labour court on June 25.  The management at Transnet is shamelessly attacking workers by violating their right to freedom of association and undermining their right to free speech."

A short report by Kgaugelo Masweneng is at BusinessLive (scroll down to bottom of report). See too, Transnet blocking union recognition, says Numsa, on page 5 of Afro Voice of 11 June 2018. Read Numsa’s press statement in this regard at Numsa News


STAFFING / APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT / PROMOTIONS

Overlooked candidate for top Cape Town cop job gets paid out R300,000

Cape Argus reports that the City of Cape Town has forked out more than R300,000 to an employee it had overlooked for a top job.  The post of director of policing was given to former top cop Robbie Roberts.  But, Annalene Marais, deputy chief of the metro police who also applied for the job, lodged a complaint with the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu).  The union took the complaint to the Bargaining Council, which forced the City to pay more than R300,000 to Marais.  In her complaint, Marais indicated:  “Mr Roberts was appointed with effect as of August 3, 2015 and even though I’m more than qualified and meet all the requirements as per the advertisement I was not shortlisted, assessed or interviewed in the process that led to his appointment.”  Marais concluded that the whole process had been window dressing.  The commissioner took into consideration that the City failed to shortlist and afford Marais an opportunity to be interviewed or to give proper consideration to her CV and that it did not consider her experience in a policing environment.  JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services, indicated that he did not get involved in the appointment of staff.

Read this report by Jason Felix in full at Cape Argus

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ramokgopa: More medical practitioners needed in public health sector, at EWN


REMUNERATION / SALARY ADMINISTRATION

Anxiety at cash-strapped City of Joburg about whether June’s salaries will be paid

City Press writes that the financial health of the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is on life support and could require a bailout unless something drastic is done.  The situation is so bad that the financials show that the CoJ had a bank balance of R1.2bn at the end of April, and that a shortfall of R3.5bn was projected for last month and this month.  There is already anxiety about whether June salaries will be paid.  June marks the end of the CoJ’s financial year.  Because of its dire financial situation, the CoJ has had to dip into its reserves to compensate for the shortfall and help keep it afloat.  However, the CoJ denied last week that the DA-led administration was in the red, saying its cash balances at the end of April stood at R3.279bn.  These woes come as mayor Herman Mashaba had his hands full last week after twice failing to convince councillors to adopt the 2017/18 budget with exorbitant tariff hikes for water (14.2%) and electricity (7.37%).  At Friday’s council sitting, Mashaba succumbed to a last-minute adjustment proposed by the EFF, which resulted in rates reduced to 13.2% and 7.17% for water and electricity.  A special council meeting was due to sit on Monday and the revised budget, yet to be assessed by Treasury, will be finalised.  While the CoJ buckles under pressure, expenditure for forensic investigations has grown to R127m.  But spokesperson Kutlwano Olifant defended this, saying corruption was public enemy number one and that there were 3,500 graft cases being investigated.

Read this report by Hlengiwe Nhlabathi in full at News24. Read too, DA, Mashaba reject report that Joburg is 'heading for bailout', at News24


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

SAA’s catering arm Air Chefs to cut 118 jobs, says Numsa

Reuters reports that the catering arm of SA Airways (SAA) plans to lay off 118 workers, according to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).  The layoffs come as the struggling airline implements a turnaround strategy to restore profitability.  Numsa indicated it had received notice of the retrenchments from the catering arm, Air Chefs, and said it would oppose the planned job cuts of 118 workers out of a workforce of about 1,200 people.  The union said in a statement:  “Numsa demands that any discussion regarding retrenchments should take place within the SAA group which is the mother company.  Our members demand that any restructuring must take place at a group level and should not be decentralised.”  Numsa added that it was engaging with SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana on the planned job cuts and consultations were expected to take place on Friday.  SAA mapped out a turnaround strategy in March to make the struggling airline more competitive and cost-efficient after reporting a hefty annual loss.

Read this report by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo in full at Moneyweb


EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT / TRAINING

SAPS to develop strategy to boost female officers' capacity to fight crime against vulnerable groups

News24 reports that a task team was established on Friday to draft a five-year strategy to empower and develop female police officers at all levels in the SA Police Service (SAPS).  This will be to enable the women in blue to improve service delivery and reduce incidents of crimes involving vulnerable groups.  A three-day session in Pretoria was attended by female senior management officers in SAPS, under the leadership of national deputy commissioners, Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya and Francinah Vuma.  Speakers at the sessions addressed issues affecting women in the broader context.  National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said that, in order to reduce gender-based violence, female police officers needed to take a stand to ensure that cases involving vulnerable groups and missing persons received priority attention at police stations.  Senior female officers were told to take the lead in ensuring that women were uplifted, not only in the workplace, but in their communities.

Read this report in full at News24. Read a SAPS press statement in this regard at SAPS News


WORKER BENEFIT FUNDS

Department of Labour ready to use billion-rand surplus to extend UIF benefits

GroundUp reports that sweeping changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act will mean that contributors who lose their jobs can draw benefits for up to a year instead of for eight months.  The Department of Labour plans to use part of the R133.3bn surplus in the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to expand the scope and reach of benefits, through amendments to the Act that are due to come into effect soon.  The extra benefits will be paid out from the surplus in the fund.  There will not be any increases in contributions by employers or employees.  Employees contribute 1% of their salary to the fund.  The employer must match that amount and then transfer the money to the fund.  The fund’s Makhosonke Buthelezi said that major changes included the following:  unemployed workers who contributed to the fund would have up to a year to submit claims instead of six months; workers would accrue one day of benefit pay for every four days worked (thus those who worked for four years would have a full year of benefits instead of the current eight months); public servants would be included in the UIF for the first time; learners completing learnerships, or vocational education and training programmes, would also be included; and women on maternity leave who paid into the UIF for 13 weeks or more would now receive a flat rate of 66% of their salary (up to the maximum benefit of R17,712 per month), instead of 38% to 60%.  The amendment Act was passed in January 2017, but has not yet come into effect.  Buthelezi said that the Department’s systems were now “98%” ready for the changes.

Read this report by Annie Cebulski in full at GroundUp

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Paid R300 all his life old man was retired without pension, at SowetanLive


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Numsa goes to court to get 'corrupt' SAA Technical executives to pay for role in irregular sale

Timeslive reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is heading to court in a bid to recover damages from several senior executives from SAA Technical (SAAT) for their role in the alleged irregular sale of Ground Power Units (GPU).  A GPU is a vehicle capable of supplying power to aircraft parked on a runway.  Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said in a statement:  “In 2016 SAAT sold all 12 of its GPUs to JM Aviation – a decision which resulted in a loss of over R5-million.  We believe that the decision to sell the GPUs was motivated by corruption because JM Aviation benefited at the expense of SAAT.  Our allegation is based on the findings of the Open Water Forensic report‚ which was finalised in May 2017.”  According to Hlubi-Majola‚ the Open Water report confirmed that the sale of the GPUs was irregular and that proper supply chain management policies were not followed.  It also found that the sale exposed SAAT to “undue financial obligations”.  Open Water found that SAAT suffered a loss of at least R5,128,687, based on which Numsa is demanding that SAAT should claim that amount directly from the executives who were accused by the report for the alleged role that they played in the irregular transaction.  SAAT apparently leases the very same GPUs from Swissport at a rate of R550 per hour.  The case is set down for hearing in the South Gauteng High Court on 28 June.

Read this report by Nomahlubi Jordaan in full at Timeslive

 


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