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, 18 June 2018.


ESKOM WAGE DISPUTE

NUM said to be open to inflation-linked wage hike at Eskom

Reuters reports that a source at the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says that the union would be open to an inflation-linked pay rise for its members at Eskom instead of its initial demand for a 15% increase.  The NUM source, who did not wish to be named, said on Monday that the mineworkers’ union would consider a wage offer from Eskom of "inflation plus a certain percentage".  Consumer inflation was running at 4.5% in April, well below the level unions had initially targeted.  The NUM, as well as the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Solidarity, were angered by Eskom’s initial refusal to offer pay rises for this year.  Following protest action by some employees last week, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan indicated that Eskom had conceded and would indeed offer an increase.  All three unions have agreed to resume talks on Tuesday.  Deon Reyneke, deputy general secretary of Solidarity, which represents mostly skilled workers, said Eskom had signalled to unions that it would be looking at a formula linked to consumer inflation for its next wage offer.  Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said the company’s management was still "crunching the numbers" ahead of the resumption of talks.  A potential stumbling block to the conclusion of a wage deal this week is that the NUM is scheduled to hold its national congress from Wednesday to Friday, when new union leaders will be elected.

Read this report by Ed Stoddard & Alexander Winning in full at BusinessLive. See too, NUM 'ready to engage meaningfully' with Eskom over wages, at EWN

Eskom reckons power system will take up to 10 days to recover from strike impact

ANA reports that Eskom said late on Sunday its power system remained constrained and would take up to ten days to recover from the effects of last week’s wage strike.  The state-owned power utility warned consumers to work on the assumption that rolling power interruptions, or load shedding, could still take place.  “Eskom’s prognosis is that the power system will take up to approximately ten days to recover from the effects of the recent industrial action, once all staff return to work on Monday,” the company said late on Sunday.  The utility was expecting staff to return to work on Monday after government and unions agreed to resume wage negotiations which had stalled over Eskom’s decision not to award salary increases due to financial constraints.  At the weekend, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) confirmed that the zero percent proposal by Eskom was now “off the table”.  Labour unions are demanding wage increases of up to 15%.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

What Eskom workers really earn on average, apart from bonuses

Moneyweb writes that in the midst of last week’s turmoil over Eskom 0% wage increase stance, economist Mike Schüssler angered unions representing Eskom workers when he tweeted that the average pay per employee at Eskom was R798,000 per year.  In an article discussing Eskom’s unsustainable wage bill, Nedbank CEO Group Mike Brown quoted a number of R770,000 per annum.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) angrily hit back.  Now, a confidential document obtained by Moneyweb, sets out exactly what the 37,000 workers in the Eskom bargaining unit earn.  They fall into 10 salary bands, with the lowest earners earning R135,390 per annum (R11,282 per month) and the highest R595,410 per annum (R49,617 a month).  The lowest scale, T04, refers to general labourers, who earn between R11,282 and R16,915 per month.  Clearly, the majority of Eskom workers do not earn Schüssler’s average of R798,000 per person per year or Brown’s R770,000.  But, union Numsa’s claim that the average employee earns R135,000 per year is also incorrect.  In assessing the case of the Eskom workers, it also has to be noted that expenditure on bonuses almost doubled to R4.2 billion last year.  In fact, in July last year almost all Eskom staff got performance bonuses at an average of R88,883 per employee, although averages do not show whether the members of the bargaining unit got their ‘fair share’ or not.

Read this informative report by Antoinette Slabbert, with a table of salary scales, in full at Moneyweb

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • A wage hike will ‘derail Eskom recovery’, at City Press


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / PROTESTS

Gauteng health department, police and unions working to find Charlotte Maxeke hospital vandals

EWN reports that the Health Department in Gauteng says it is working together with the police and unions to ensure those responsible for the trashing of the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital during violent protests are brought to book.  Last month, hundreds of workers went on a rampage over unpaid bonuses.  Speaking at a briefing on her department’s recovery plan in Ekurhuleni on Sunday, MEC Gwen Ramokgopa condemned the violence and said they were still working with police to ensure that the perpetrators of the violence at the hospital were brought to book.  Ramokgopa indicated that government remained committed to paying workers’ bonuses as agreed with the relevant unions.

This short report by Masechaba Sefularo is at EWN. Read too, SAHRC has Charlotte Maxeke strike in spotlight, at SA Labour News


ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Labour department investigating if teaching and public transport should be ‘essential services’

BusinessTech reports that the Department of Labour has called for public comment after announcing that it plans to revise the list of essential services under the Labour Relations Act (LRA).  Essential services are those that, if interrupted, would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or any part of the population.  Effectively this limits the worker’s right to strike and means that any dispute must be referred to interest arbitration.  In a notice published on Friday, 15 June 2018, the department announced that it would be investigating whether or not services rendered by educators and support staff in basic education (including early childhood development) and also public transport services should be considered ‘essential services’ under the LRA.  The Essential Services Committee (ESC) will be hosting a number of hearings at various CCMA offices across the country, where individuals and groups representing those two services are expected to make oral representations.

Read this report in full at BusinessTech. Read too, Teachers’ right to strike could be curtailed, on page 2 of The Sunday Independent of 17 June 2018.   Download the Department of Labour’s gazette notice here


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Three Cape Town tik addicts convicted of murder of policeman

Timeslive reports that three tik addicts who killed a police officer and stole his gun during an orgy of crime have been convicted.  The High Court in Cape Town found Xolani Ndesi‚ Jackson Mhobo and Athenkosi Mduli guilty of murdering Constable Mziwonke Siwisa.  They were also convicted of a slew of other charges including robbery and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.  According to the judgment‚ the Kraaifontein men attempted to steal a vehicle in the neighbourhood in December 2016 but failed.  They were successful a second time and drove around until they ran out of petrol‚ abandoned the car and continued on foot.  They met Siwisa‚ who was on his way to work at Cape Town Sea Border Policing‚ and shot him in the back.  He died as a result of the wound sustained from the bullet which entered from the back and exited through his chest.  The state proved beyond reasonable doubt that the three accused acted in common purpose in the murder of the deceased.

Read this report by Philani Nombembe in full at Timeslive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Polisie loof reusebeloning, identikit uit ná konstabel se skietdood, at Maroela Media
  • Wildlife anti-poaching guard admitted to ICU after buffalo attack, at News24


MINING LABOUR

Business rescue finding it difficult to get ex-Gupta Optimum Coal back on its feet

Sowetan reports that troubled former Gupta-owned coal mine Optimum Colliery in Hendrina, Mpumalanga, is still on its knees four months after being put under business rescue.  The mine, one of two in the area formerly owned by the family, has struggled to achieve an improvement despite being run by business rescue practitioners (BRPs) since the end of February.  Last week employees took protest action following two months of nonpayment by the main subcontractor in charge of the bulk of the mining operations on behalf of the mine.  Employees gathered outside the company’s offices, barricading entrances with burning tyres while demanding answers from the BRPs.  One of the rescue practitioners, Louis Klopper, said it would take a while to turn around the colliery, which he said they had found it in a disastrous state, with millions of rands of profits having been “siphoned out of the company” every month.  He said although operations had improved, with exports taking place, restoring the mine was still a mammoth task.  Klopper indicated that they reached an agreement with one of their main contractors last week in terms of which they made payments that would help settle the employees’ May salaries.  The Optimum colliery was bought by Tegeta Exploration and Resources from Glencore in 2016, a transaction described as irregular by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

Read more of this Sowetan report by Isaac Mahlangu at SA Labour News

Postings on Mining Charter

  • New Mining Charter aims to bring stability, says Gwede Mantashe, at BusinessLive
  • Government pledges 30-year stabilisation clause for mining licences, at Miningmx
  • Mantashe walks a tightrope with Mining Charter draft, at The Citizen
  • Minerals Council SA critical of “surprise inclusions” in draft Mining Charter, at Miningmx


MARIKANA DEATHS

Seventeen miners in court for Lonmin strike murders prior to 16 August massacre

ANA reports that 17 mineworkers facing multiple charges relating to a violent strike at Lonmin’s platinum operations at Marikana some six years ago were due to appear in the North West High Court in Mogwase on Monday.  They face 26 counts ranging from murder and attempted murder to malicious damage to property, robbery, and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.  The charges relate to the murder of 10 people in the week before 16 August 2012, when 34 people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead by police at Lonmin’s Marikana operations.  The state alleges that members of the group of 17 killed two Lonmin security officers, two policemen, and three non-striking workers, and damaged vehicles and robbed two Lonmin security officers of their firearms.  Nineteen mineworkers were initially arrested, but two have since died.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Ex-North West top cop and others back in court for 2012 Lonmin strike deaths in Marikana

ANA reports that former North West deputy police commissioner Maj-Gen William Mpembe and eight other policemen were due to appear in the North West High Court in Mogwase on Monday.  The charges relate to the deaths of mineworkers and others at Lonmin’s Marikana mining operations during a violent strike in August 2012.  Mpembe is now head of security at a mining house in Marikana.  He is accused of the murders of Semi Jokanisi, Tembelakhe Mati and Warrant Officers Tsietsi Monene and Sello Lepaauku.  Mpembe also faces other charges, including defeating the ends of justice, contravention of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Act and contravention of the Commissions Act.  Other accused include retired Colonel Salmon Johannes Vermaak, who additionally faces charges of defeating the ends of justice and contravention of the Commissions Act.  Three others, Gideon van Zyl, Dingaan Madoda, and Oupa Pule, are accused of defeating the ends of justice and contravention of the Ipid Act for not disclosing that a mineworker died in custody while being transported to Lonmin’s premises on 16 August 2012.  Thirty-four people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead by police on 16 August at Marikana.  In the preceding week, 10 other people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security officers, were killed in the strike violence.

Read this report in full at The Citizen


STANDARDS / ACCREDITATION

UCT law faculty retains its LLB accreditation after improvement plan submitted

BusinessLive reports that the Council for Higher Education has decided not to withdraw the University of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) LLB accreditation.  Late in 2017, the council, which is responsible for quality assurance in the higher education sector, downgraded UCT’s LLB programme, which had been criticised for failing to enhance throughput and graduation rates and for its failure to address race and gender equity issues.  The council had given UCT six months to deal with the issues raised, failing which its LLB accreditation would be downgraded from "notice of withdrawal of accreditation" to "confirmation of withdrawal of accreditation".  In a letter to UCT deputy vice-chancellor Prof Lis Lang, the council said that, based on the evidence provided, the Higher Education Quality Committee revised its accreditation decision to full accreditation for the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme.  UCT said it had put "significant thought, careful planning and great energy" into the improvement plan submitted to the council.  Separately, the council recently announced that it had withdrawn Walter Sisulu University’s (WSU’s) accreditation to offer LLB degrees in its law faculty, effective from January 2019.  WSU said at the time it would make an effort to submit a new programme for accreditation before the end of 2018.

Read this report by Bekezela Phakathi in full at BusinessLive


APPOINTMENTS / STAFFING / VACANCIES

Ipid staff challenge deputy director’s appointment, claiming she’s unqualified

Sunday Tribune reports that several disgruntled staff members at the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) have challenged the appointment of the watchdog’s deputy director, claiming she is unqualified for the post.  The employees have pointed out that the minimum requirement for the job was a diploma, which Theresa Botha does not have.  She was appointed late last year and reportedly earns an annual salary of R612,222.  When contacted, Botha confirmed that she did not have any tertiary qualifications.  Ipid’s spokesperson Moses Dlamini rejected claims that processes were flouted when Botha was appointed and added:  “The Ipid appointed an independent external person to investigate grievances.  The outcome is pending the finalisation of the grievance process.  The Ipid awaits that outcome.”  On Botha’s qualifications, Dlamini said:  “She qualifies for the job she was appointed to.”  A complaint lodged after Botha’s appointment reads:  “It is unfair labour practice that people who qualify for the existing vacant post are now disadvantaged because of someone who does not even qualify for the post and without following due processes.”  The appointment of unqualified people to senior positions was one of the factors which rendered Ipid toothless, said another employee.

Read this report by Lungani Zungu in full at Sunday Tribune

Requirement of work experience is a barrier to employment, Ramaphosa laments

News24 reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on both private and public sector companies to employ young graduates despite their lack of work experience.  Speaking at the Youth Day celebrations at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday, Ramaphosa said the requirement of work experience had become a barrier for employment among the youth.  He said this requirement should be put aside and that companies should employ young graduates regardless of what experience they possessed.  He commented:  "The challenge for unemployed youth is not only one of skills.  There are many graduates, who have completed university degrees, who are still unemployed.  This is a vast pool of skills and knowledge that is being wasted.  Employers need to understand that for our country to succeed, for their businesses to thrive, they must take responsibility for providing young people with the work experience they need.  They must realise that the only way to get work experience is to get work."  He added that society had invested a great deal in the education of young people, but that the economy was not benefiting from that investment.  Ramaphosa also spoke about the Youth Employment Service, an initiative led by the private sector and supported by government and labour, which was launched earlier this year to bridge the gap between school and work.

Read this report by Alex Mitchley in full at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Good benefits a key differentiator to retaining talented staff, at Fin24


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Former crime intelligence boss and three top cops in court for corruption

Timeslive reports that former crime intelligence boss Major-General Pat Mokhushane and three senior police officers have appeared in court on charges of corruption‚ fraud‚ money laundering and contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.  Mokhushane's co-accused are his wife‚ Lieutenant-Colonel Zandile Mokhushane‚ Brigadier Manana Leonora Phetlhe‚ and Brigadier Tiyani Lincoln Hlungwani.  The accused were allegedly involved in corrupt activities that resulted in the state being defrauded of R50‚000 in June 2017.  They appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Friday and were granted R5‚000 bail each‚ with the condition that they not interfere with or intimidate state witnesses as well as the investigating officer of the case.  Their case was postponed to 27 July.  The National Commissioner of Police‚ General Khehla John Sitole‚ commended the thorough investigation by the SAPS Detective Service’s Anti-Corruption Unit that led to the arrest of the senior police officers.

Read this report in full at Timeslive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page