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, 14 June 2018.


TOP STORY – ESKOM WAGE DISPUTE

Road blockages at Eskom power stations on Thursday as workers protest

Fin24 reports that intimidation and road blockages were “rife” at most of Eskom’s power stations and regional offices on Thursday morning.  This was tweeted by the power utility’s spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe, who also tweeted that the power supply to Eskom’s head office in Sunninghill had “mysteriously” been cut off.  Six power stations that rely on local coal supply were potentially the most affected by the delivery stoppages.  Disgruntled workers belonging to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) handed over a memorandum to the parastatal’s management at the head office at lunchtime on Thursday, demanding 15% wage increases.  The cash-strapped utility has offered 0% wage hikes for the year.  Meantime, Eskom’s management team held an emergency meeting on Thursday morning to address the possibility of load shedding.  NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu, meanwhile, said police on Wednesday night fired rubber bullets to disperse workers who were gathered outside the power stations in Kendal, Thuthuka, Hendrina and Arnot.  One employee was apparently shot in the eye by a rubber bullet outside Arnot power station.

Read this report by Tehillah Niselow & Sibongile Khumalo in full at Fin24. Read too, NUM, Numsa unite against ‘common enemy’ Eskom, at The Citizen. And also, Power utility can’t keep its own HQ lights on amid pay protests, at Moneyweb

Workers must not pay for sins of corrupt managers at Eskom, warns Cosatu

BusinessLive reports that as SA braces for strikes and pickets at Eskom over a 0% wage increase, labour federation Cosatu has warned that workers should not be made to pay for the sins of corrupt and inept managers.  "We want to make it very clear that we will remain vigilant and will ensure that the workers at Eskom are not made to pay a price for the sins of others‚" said Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla.  The federation added that law enforcement agencies should expedite the process of bringing to book all the culprits who were responsible for looting and mismanaging Eskom.  Workers planned lunchtime pickets on Thursday to protest against the announcement of a 0% salary increase this year.  On Wednesday, Cosatu’s national leadership met the Minister of Public Enterprises‚ Pravin Gordhan to discuss the utility’s wage freeze.  Pamla observed:  "Cosatu made it very clear to the minister that while we support his efforts to turn around and clean up the state-owned entities‚ we will not allow a situation where workers are forced to pay for the sins of others.  Our position is that the 0% offer made to workers by the Eskom negotiators is offensive and provocative."  Gordhan undertook to engage Eskom on the salary increase negotiations.

Read this report in full at BusinessLive. See too, NUM: Eskom's inability to manage finances no excuse to cut wage hikes, at EWN

NUM rubbishes economist’s claim that Eskom workers among highest paid

ANA reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday that it was "deeply angered" and concerned by a claim that employees at Eskom were among the highest paid in the country and earned an average salary of around R789,000 per year.  "Our members do not earn that kind of money.  This a lie.  It is a serious insult to our members who are currently being offered a zero percent increase by Eskom.  [The] Apartheid wage gap still exists at Eskom and black women are some of the lowest paid at Eskom," the union’s spokesperson said.  Economist Mike Schüssler tweeted on Tuesday that the average employee at the power utility earned R789,000 annually and that on average they fell within the top 1% or 2% of household income.

Read this report at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Eskom CEO Phakamani Hadebe rescued from bottle-throwing workers, at BusinessLive
  • Singing Eskom workers want Brian Molefe back, at The Citizen
  • Eskom happy for opportunity to tell CCMA about zero increases, at Business Report
  • The power stations most at risk from strikes, but Eskom insiders believe grid should hold up, at Business Insider


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Victim in viral assault video wasn't a teacher but a fellow pupil at Limpopo school

Timeslive reports that according to the Limpopo Department of Education, the person shown in a viral video being assaulted by two pupils was not a teacher‚ as had been previously reported.  "The Limpopo Department of Education can confirm after checking with all our schools‚ that the assault video that went viral‚ where two pupils in school uniform are captured kicking repeatedly another person‚ is indeed a shocking incident that took place in the province.  The two pupils involved in the assault and the victim have been identified to be all pupils of Limpopo attached to one of our schools in Seshego Circuit..."  The department said its investigation revealed that the two pupils in uniform were siblings and were attacking a fellow pupil.  Disciplinary proceedings are underway.  The school concerned has confirmed that none of its educators were attacked by any pupils and that they were all fine.

Read this report by Nomahlubi Jordaan in full at Timeslive

Death threat received by Allen Thompson of teacher union Natu following foiled 'hit'

ANA reports that Allen Thompson, deputy president of the KwaZulu-Natal based National Teachers’ Union (Natu), said on Thursday he received a death threat since surviving an alleged foiled assassination attempt last month.  The threat was made via telephone and has been reported to police.  The union contracted private security for Thompson on the night of the foiled attack.  It has since also solicited private investigators to assist with the case.  “We still believe this was an aborted assassination attempt and are waiting for a few more puzzle pieces to be linked.  We are waiting on the police to give us more information after their investigation,” said Thompson.  Durban North police said they were still investigating the matter.  The alleged hit took place on 11 May when Thompson was travelling to Durban on the N2.  Heavily armed men ambushed him and he was shot through the driver’s front window and struck in the shoulder.  He managed to drive himself to uMhlanga Hospital while being followed by his attackers.  The balaclava-clad men pursued him into the hospital and when they could not find him, proceeded to loot his car, taking documents relating to an “imminent forensic investigation regarding the KwaZulu-Natal education department”.  They also stole an undisclosed amount of cash and two laptops.  

Read this report in full at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cops ready to take fight to cash-in-transit criminals, Cele warns, on page 4 of The Star of 14 June 2018
  • Alleged cash-in-transit kingpin arrested in Limpopo, at eNCA
  • Citizen journalists injured as cops open fire at Eersterust protest, at The Citizen


MINING LABOUR

Body of missing Sibanye-Stillwater employee recovered at Kloof mine

Mining Weekly reports that mine rescue teams have located and retrieved the body of the fifth employee who went missing at Sibanye-Stillwater's Kloof Ikamva mine.  "The bodies of all five employees who entered an abandoned area on Monday have now been recovered and sadly five colleagues lost their lives in this tragic accident," Sibanye said in a statement on Thursday morning.  The precious metals producer added that a thorough investigation by management and the Department of Mineral Resources and other stakeholders would be performed to understand the events and actions leading to the incident.

This short report is at Mining Weekly. Read too, Three day search ends in sad retrieval of miner's body at Sibanye, at Timeslive

Cosatu urges unions to work together to force government to deal with mine deaths

EWN reports that Cosatu has called on trade unions to put their differences aside and work together to force government to act against mining companies with high death rates.  On Wednesday, the labour federation called on government to prosecute management at Sibanye-Stillwater's Kloof operation for reckless endangerment of workers.  This was after the deaths of four miners who apparently succumbed to heat exhaustion after going into a disused shaft on Monday.  Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe visited the mine, saying there were signs of reckless conduct in regard to the deaths.  Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla said government needed to be forced to choose between workers and mining companies.  “For a long time South African government has chosen the side of the mining companies.  We think people of South Africa, especially trade unions, need to work together and we’re encouraging trade unions organised in that circuit to actually put aside their own differences.”  He claimed that mining companies were killing workers without any care because government was too generous and easy on them.

Read this report by Clement Manyathela at EWN. See too, Mining incidents at Sibanye-Stillwater mines in 2018, at EWN

Optimum Coal workers down tools, demanding unpaid salaries

eNCA reports that mineworkers at Optimum Coal were due to take to the streets for a second day on Thursday.  They are demanding their salaries, saying they have not been paid in two months.  The workers have threatening to continue their demonstrations until such time as they were paid.  Earlier this year, it was reported the Gupta-owned company was facing a financial crisis.  The company's CEO wants four business rescue practitioners to be removed due to alleged incompetence.

This short report is at eNCA

General posting(s) relating to mining

  • South Africa's mining production down 4.3% y/y in April, at Mining Weekly


ORGANISATIONAL PERFORMANCE / SERVICE DELIVERY

Public Service Commission probes Gauteng government departments

The Citizen reports that the state of Gauteng’s public service is to come under the spotlight in a report to be published by the Public Service Commission (PSC).  It has already circulated a questionnaire to all government departments.  PSC provincial commissioner Michael Seloane explained:  “We have given provincial government departments until Friday to respond and make submissions to the PSC.  The report will cover ethics, integrity, human resource management, labour relations and access to information, among others.”  Established in terms of the Constitution, the PSC has a mandate to promote good values, principles and adherence to governance.  Seloane said they were concerned about nonperformance in some departments of the provincial government.  The Department of Health, which was this week exposed for its failure to spend a massive R559 million on capital assets in the past financial year, is among the Gauteng departments to be probed.

A short report by Brian Sokutu is at The Citizen. Read too, Gauteng cancer patients face deadly waiting list at hospitals, at The Citizen


RETRENCHMENTS / VOLUNTARY SEVERANCE PACKAGES

Government to offer civil servants over age 60 voluntary retrenchment packages

BL Premium reports that thousands of public sector workers over the age of 60 are to be offered voluntary retrenchment as part of an effort by the government to cut its salary bill.  The decision to offer voluntary severance packages — the first such offer in 20 years — follows the conclusion of a new three-year wage agreement last week that bust the state budget by about R30bn.  The consequence of this, said the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) in a statement, was that measures to contain costs had to be taken.  These would include: encouraging early retirement by topping up pension funds for those who took the package; reviewing the government’s performance management and incentive systems; and more effective management of allowances.  The DPSA said on Wednesday it was too early to say how many jobs would be affected.  Assuming a savings target of R30bn over the next three years, the government would need to cut salaries by R10bn a year, which would imply scaling down thousands of jobs.  The cost-containment plan would, however, come at a cost as the government would need to pay upfront to top up pensions to the level retrenchees would have reached at retirement age.  A proposal for voluntary retrenchment was tabled by the government in earlier rounds of the public sector wage talks, but removed after objections by trade unions.

Read this report by Carol Paton in full at BL Premium (paywall access)


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

They miss me at SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng tells CCMA

The Citizen reports that Hlaudi Motsoeneng testified on Wednesday at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), where he is challenging what he believes to be his “unfair dismissal” by the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).  He is seeking to be reinstated as head of Group Corporate Affairs at the parastatal.  Motsoeneng claimed that he was missed by workers at the public broadcaster, and denied that he cost the SABC millions of rands in advertising revenue.  “There is no evidence that I cost the SABC R300 million.  What I know is that I have been assisting the SABC with funding,” he stated.  Motsoeneng also claimed that his dismissal was politically motivated and that the SABC was in trouble not because of his misconduct but because he was no longer there.  “In my time there was no zero percent increment, I did everything … workers miss me at the SABC.  The reality is I have been able to assist the SABC,” he said.  On Tuesday, Motsoeneng’s lawyer cross-examined SABC board member Krish Naidoo, saying Naidoo had had a fiduciary duty to recuse himself on issues around Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing, which Naidoo refuted.  The hearing was due to resume on Thursday.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read too, Hlaudi is not a dropout, his lawyer tells CCMA, at SA Labour News


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM / SEXISM

Pretoria cop facing charges of workplace racism still on the job

The Citizen reports that a Pretoria police captain who is facing charges of crimen injuria continues to serve at the same station where he allegedly racially attacked his colleagues.  Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) was appalled that Pretoria Central Police Station’s Captain Jaco Henrico seemed to be receiving special treatment, despite facing criminal charges of racism.  Henrico briefly appeared before the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where the matter was postponed to 19 June.  For the past two years, the captain has allegedly been intimidating and degrading his colleagues, while calling them the k-word, LHR attorney Wayne Ncube said.  According to some officials, their complaints would often lead to further victimisation.  Ncube went on to say:  “He is still working for the police and has not been suspended.  As far as my clients know, nothing is happening internally.”  Henrico has been moved to a different department, a police spokesperson said on Wednesday, adding that the criminal case was only opened after the departmental process had been concluded.

Read this report by Rorisang Kgosana in full at The Citizen


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Former SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng accuses board member of 'backstabbing'

Timeslive reports that former SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng has complained about backstabbing by a board member of the national broadcaster.  According to a report in The Sowetan, Motsoeneng accused SABC board member Krish Naidoo at a CCMA arbitration hearing on Wednesday of using his political connections to get him fired.  Motsoeneng was quoted as saying:  “When he’s with me‚ he’s a good guy; even here we even joke‚ so we are okay.  But immediately when he is on the other side‚ he backstabs me.  He went to the ANC and said‚ ‘Hey‚ there’s an elephant in the room and he doesn’t listen to politicians’‚ and that’s why he then went and talked to the ANC to help him get rid of me.”  Motsoeneng also told the hearing that Naidoo had congratulated him for introducing the 80/20 television content and the controversial 90% local music quota in board meetings‚ only to criticise him elsewhere.  Motsoeneng was fired from the SABC in June 2017 after being found guilty of misconduct relating to comments he made at a media briefing.  The hearing over his dismissal was due to continue on Thursday.

Read this report by Nomahlubi Jordaan in full at Timeslive

 


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