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
Wednesday, 20 June 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Sadtu concerned about Western Cape school robberies, education department offers reward

News24 reports that the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) is "deeply concerned" about a spate of robberies at Cape Town schools over the past month.  Sadtu Western Cape secretary Jonovan Rustin said schools were supposed to be a place of safety, but at the moment teachers felt as though they were "sitting ducks", waiting to become the next targets.  Meanwhile, the Western Cape education department has offered a R10,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest of perpetrators.  Five schools have been hit since 16 May.  In the latest incident on Monday morning, three teachers from ACJ Phakade Primary School in Nomzamo, Strand, were hijacked at gunpoint as they arrived at school.  Police Minister Bheki Cele gave the assurance that police were investigating the robberies.  He called for visible policing outside schools, particularly during winter mornings when pupils and teachers arrived in the dark.  Paul Colditz, CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools, said they were worried that schools were being targeted.

Read this report by Jenni Evans in full at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


MINING LABOUR

Website, Facebook page launched to help miners claim compensation in silicosis/TB case

ANA reports that a new website and a Facebook page were launched on Tuesday in a bid to assist former mineworkers and their dependents who may be entitled to compensation under the provisions of a Trust Fund set up to pay mineworkers who contracted silicosis or TB at work.  The historic R5-billion settlement was reached last month after three years of extensive negotiations between six gold mining companies and the claimants' attorneys.  The settlement needs to be approved by the South Gauteng High Court, which could take several months.  If and when the settlement has been approved‚ a trust will be set up and the process of compensating ex-mineworkers will begin.  Until then, former mineworkers or their dependents may register their details on the mineworker database.  The website is www.SilicosisSettlement.co.za and the Facebook page www.facebook.com/silicosissettlement

Read this report in full at The Citizen

MPs not satisfied with Sibanye-Stillwater's response on mining deaths

EWN reports that Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources says it is not satisfied with the answers given by Sibanye-Stillwater and will meet again with management for further clarity on recent deaths at the producer’s operations.  Last week, five miners died from heat exhaustion at the Kloof Ikamva operation near Westonaria, about a month after seven workers died at the Driefontein mine due to a seismic event.  A delegation from the committee, the mineral resources department and labour met with mine management on Tuesday.  Committee chairperson Sahlulele Luzipo indicated that unions have been given a month to make submissions to the committee.  “We will try then to make an arrangement between ourselves, labour, as well as the Department of Mineral Resources.  While on the other side, we are working with [mine] management to also say what do they think is the problem in their company and on the basis of that, can they then say what they think should happen.”

This short report by Kgomotso Modise is at EWN

Sibanye-Stillwater says regression of safe working conditions at its operations unacceptable

ANA reports that Sibanye-Stillwater admitted on Wednesday that the substantial regression of safe working conditions underground at its operations was unacceptable.  The precious metals producer committed to restoring and improving safety.  A memorial service was held on Wednesday for five mineworkers who died from gas and heat exposure at Sibanye’s Kloof Ikamva mine after they entered an abandoned shaft last week.  The Department of Mineral Resources has tasked the acting chief inspector of mines to probe Sibanye’s safety standards as 20 mineworkers have died at the company’s operations in nine incidents since February this year.  Neal Froneman, Sibanye’s chief executive, said the company was “appalled” by the loss of their workers at its mines over the past few months.  “It pains all of us when employees are injured or lose their lives in safety incidents.  While we cannot rectify the harm that has occurred, we will continue to support the families as best we can in their grief,” Froneman said in a statement.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Postings on Mining Charter

  • The revised Mining Charter fumbles and crashes, at Moneyweb


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Port Elizabeth city centre trashed on Tuesday as municipal strike turned ugly

HeraldLive reports that striking municipal workers torched dustbins, littered streets in the Port Elizabeth city centre with rubbish and barred those who were at work from leaving the municipal buildings on Tuesday as their protest entered its sixth day.  The police had their hands full trying to prevent destruction to property, but the frustration of the workers was palpable.  No arrests were made.  Members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) are striking over back pay for long-service bonuses, demanding that 2,689 municipal workers each be paid a R30,000 settlement.  The demand stems from money owed to them after the former Uitenhage, Despatch and Port Elizabeth municipalities merged to form Nelson Mandela Bay in 2000.  In Samwu’s list of grievances, the workers alleged that staff in the infrastructure and engineering department were sidelined on training and also complained that the municipality was wasting taxpayers’ money on highly paid legal practitioners when it had its own legal department.  The City Council was due to meet on Wednesday and union leaders said they hopes it would decide to give workers what they wanted and put an end to the strike.  Imatu and Samwu distanced themselves from the destruction and violent incidents.

Read more of this HeraldLive report by Naziziphiwo Buso at SA Labour News.   Read too, PE municipal workers threaten to intensify strike, at GroundUp. And also, Municipal property damaged in Nelson Mandela Bay protest, at The Citizen

Two Eastern Cape varsities on shutdown with deadlocked wage talks

DispatchLive reported on Tuesday that two Eastern Cape universities, Walter Sisulu University (WSU) and University of Fort Hare (UFH), were on total shutdown as wage negotiations between management and unions remained deadlocked.  Thousands of academic and non-academic staff at WSU and UFH continued to strike for better pay and better benefits.  Mid-year exams at both these universities were disrupted as result of the strikes.  While UFH has postponed the disrupted exams to the next semester, WSU was yet to decide when the mid-year exams, which never took place due to the strike, would be written.  WSU went on total shutdown three weeks ago, while UFH went on a total shutdown on Tuesday after talks at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) held on Monday between management and National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) members failed to break the deadlock.  The union refused a new offer.

This short report by Aretha Linden is at DispatchLive


ESKOM WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Eskom offers workers 4.7% wage hike to avert strike

Fin24 reports that Eskom tabled a 4.7% wage increase proposal during Tuesday negotiations aimed at preventing a strike.  This was confirmed by Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), who added that the state-owned power utility had also proposed a 4-year agreement linked to inflation.  Eskom had initially offered a 0% increase for the current year.  Jim commented:  “As unions we are not committing to anything, we will take the offer to our members, 4.7% is very far from what the unions here wanted, we will go back and reflect on the offer.”  The demand on the table from Numsa and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is for a 15% wage hike, as well as a R2,000 a month housing allowance increase, the banning of labour brokers, and the in-sourcing of workers such as cleaners and security guards.  Trade union Solidarity, which wants a 9% wage hike, described the new Eskom offer as a “move towards the right direction”.  The negotiations are expected to resume on Wednesday.

Read this report in full at Fin24. Read too, Eskom wage talks off to a bad start on Tuesday morning, at Engineering News

Eskom’s 4.7% wage increase offer a good start, say unions

BusinessLive reports that cash-strapped Eskom on Tuesday offered its employees an inflation-targeted 4.7% wage increase for 2018 and inflation-based increases for the three years thereafter.  Eskom initially offered workers no wage hike, which resulted in labour unrest at the state-owned power utility.  The National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Solidarity said they would take the revised offer to their members for a mandate.  They indicated that other demands such as housing allowance increases and payment of performance bonuses would remain unchanged.  They added that they viewed the 4.7% proposal as an “opening offer”, suggesting they expected it to be increased.  Apparently the unions, which until now had demanded 9% and 15% hikes, will now be forming a united front to table uniform demands.  While sources in the unions said an ideal increase would be 10%, they were likely to settle with a two-year wage offer giving workers 9% this year and 8% in 2019.  The four-year agreement proposed by Eskom was also bound to be shot down, the sources said.  Eskom is facing serious financial difficulties.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


OTHER COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Civil engineering sector concludes 7.5% three-year wage deal

Engineering News reports that the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry on Tuesday announced the signing between all parties in the civil engineering sector of a three-year agreement on wages and conditions of employment.  The parties agreed to a 7.5% wage increase across the board for the first and second years.  The increase for the third year will be 7.5% or the consumer price index, whichever is greater.  The settlement will come into force once promulgated by the Minister of Labour.  The employers were represented by the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors and the Consolidated Employers’ Organisation, while employees were represented by the Building Construction and Allied Workers’ Union and the National Union of Mineworkers.

This short report is at Engineering News


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

SAHRC examining if protests at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital could have been prevented

EWN reports that the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says that as part of its inquiry into operations at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital it is investigating whether the recent protests could have been prevented.  In May, hundreds of workers shut down the hospital over unpaid bonuses.  It has emerged that one person died, allegedly after the person could not be attended to in time due to the disruptions.  The commission started the inquiry last week and should release the findings in the next 180 days.  During last week’s hearings, hospital management, the health department and union bosses were interviewed.  The SAHRC’s Buang Jones said:  “All parties condemned the action, the double actions of protesters and we’re keen to also in the future engage with stakeholders, so something like this never happens again.”

A short report by Kgomotso Modise is at EWN

Truck drivers’ protest closes off N3 highway at Van Reenen’s Pass on Wednesday morning

ANA reports that more than 100 trucks blocked the N3 at Van Reenen’s Pass on Wednesday morning as local truck drivers protested against the hiring of foreign nationals.  The N3 toll concession on Wednesday asked motorists to delay their trips or use the alternative routes, as the entire road was blocked by protest action in both directions between Harrismith and the Tugela Toll Plaza in Ladysmith.  Motorists have been advised to use R74 Bergville, the R23 and N11 routes to avoid the traffic.  The toll concession said that law enforcement and emergency services had been deployed to the area.  In April, a number of trucks were set alight at the Mooi River toll plaza in KwaZulu-Natal as local truck drivers protested against truck company owners who use foreigners as drivers.

A short report is at The Citizen


UNION NEWS / STRUCTURES / ORGANISATIONAL REPORTS

Acrimony at NUM elective congress, with candidates allegedly not on speaking terms

Sowetan reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) went into its national elective congress on Wednesday divided over who should lead it and with the infighting threatening to rip the union apart.  Relations between the union’s president Piet Matosa and general secretary David Sipunzi have deteriorated so much that they are apparently not on speaking terms.  At the centre of the disagreements between the pair is their preferred leadership slates for the congress.  Sipunzi, who wants to retain his position, will square up against Carletonville regional secretary Mbuyiseni Hibana, whom Matosa supports Hibana to replace Sipunzi.  Matosa is being challenged for the president’s position by NUM deputy president Joseph Montisetsi, whom Sipunzi supports.  Matosa has threatened to expose members who have used money to influence the leadership outcome of the congress, saying the danger of having a leadership sponsored through money was that the union would end up with a leadership which was not capable of leading.  An informed source said that out of 11 NUM regions, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Matlosana, Carletonville and Rustenburg – the biggest NUM region in terms of numbers – have nominated Matosa.  Montisetsi apparently has the support of four regions – PWV, North East, Free State and Highveld.

Read more of this Sowetan report by Ngwako Modjadji at SA Labour News

Pressing issues at this week’s NUM national congress

Afro Voice reports that the revised mining charter and escalating fatalities were due to come under focus during the three-day NUM national congress, which started on Wednesday in Boksburg.  More than 800 delegates were expected to engage on the mining sector’s pressing issues.  Media officer Luphert Chilwane said it was all systems go for the congress and that on Wednesday the president of the union, Piet Matosa, and general secretary David Sipunzi were going to unpack their reports.  President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to address the congress on Thursday.  Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe and Energy Minister Jeff Radebe were also expected to address the delegates.  Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the labour federation took note of the fact that the sector was faced with many challenges such as fatalities and job losses.  He called on the congress to robustly discuss how jobs could be saved in the ailing industry.  Pamla also said they expected the NUM to come up with plans to stop the recently signed Independent Power Producers (IPP) programme.  He added:  “Coming out of this congress, we expect to work with a united NUM to intensify our living wage campaign through intensifying our struggle to combat unfairness in the workplace.”

Read more of this Afro Voice report by Tiisetso Manoko at SA Labour News.   Read too, IPPs deal returns to haunt ANC as union meets, at BusinessLive


ECONOMIC POLICY / INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

NDP out of reach for SA on current path, says head of planning commission

BusinessLive reports that according to the head of the National Planning Commission (NPC) secretariat, Tshediso Matona, South Africa is far off from the targets of the National Development Plan (NDP).  Speaking at the Vision 2030 Summit at Emperors Palace on Wednesday, Matona said:  "The NDP is very ambitious given the current context.  We cannot achieve this if we stay along this path that we’re on."  Growth in the economy would fuel the momentum, but this was dependent on investment, he noted.  Matona called on the private sector to play its part, saying:  "We have nearly R1-trillion of public sector investment planned for the next three years but the private sector also needs to play its part."  The goals of the NDP are to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.  This calls for sustained growth of 5.4% and a 6% decrease in unemployment by 2030.  However, growth is expected to average 1.5% in 2018, according to Treasury, and unemployment remains very uncomfortably high at 26.7%.

Read this report by Sunita Menon in full at BusinessLive


PRICES / TARIFFS

Consumer inflation at 4.4% in May surprises on downside

BusinessLive reports that consumer inflation surprised economists by slowing in May to 4.4% from 4.5% in the previous month despite the implementation of a VAT hike in April.  The consumer price index (CPI) had been expected by economists to continue its rise from a low of 3.8% reached in March.  The food component of CPI showed annual inflation of 3%, down from 3.7% in April, helped by average fruit prices falling 6.4% and bread and cereals getting 4.1% cheaper over the year.  May’s fuel inflation came in at 9.4% in comparison with the same month in 2017.  The drop in fruit and cereal prices helped mitigate 7.8% inflation in meat prices and 6.8% inflation in fish prices.  According to Stats SA, the price of cellphones and other telecommunications equipment fell by a substantial 15.8% over the year.  The inflation figures are split into 10 income brackets and the figures showed that the rich suffered higher inflation than the poor.  South Africans in the lowest “expenditure decile” had inflation of 2.1%, which rose to 4.7% for people in the richest segment.

Read the original of this report by Robert Laing at BusinessLive


DISCRIMINATION / RACISM / SEXISM

Cop accused of workplace racism to make representations on why he shouldn't be prosecuted

News24 reports that police officer Captain JM Henrico, who is facing a charge of crimen injuria after allegedly calling his subordinates the k-word, will now have to make representations on why he should not be prosecuted.  Henrico, who is a police officer at Pretoria Central Police Station, has been accused of using racial slurs and verbally harassing his colleagues in complaints that date as far back as 2016.  After appearing briefly in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, Henrico's case was postponed to 20 June for representations.  Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) said in a statement that 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, while some officials have also alleged that complainants faced further victimisation after opening internal departmental and criminal cases.  LHR said the case was one of many filed by police officers testifying to acts of racism prevalent in police stations across the country.

Read this report by Alex Mitchley in full at News24


SEXUAL HARASSMENT / ABUSE

Grant Thornton JHB chief steps aside pending outcome of sexual harassment investigation

Business Report writes that Grant Thornton Johannesburg CEO Paul Badrick has voluntarily stepped aside pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him.  His decision is with immediate effect and Serena Ho, chair of the accounting and advisory organisation’s governing board, will take an active role with the executive committee in the management of the firm and its communications.  This comes after sexual harassment allegations against Badrick came to light during an investigation by Grant Thornton International Limited (GTIL), which followed a former director’s claims of sexual harassment against a former head of forensics earlier this year.  The claims against Badrick were made during 2015, but no formal complaints were made until the GTIL investigation, which was just concluded.  According to the firm, these are new allegations which have yet to be investigated.  Earlier this year, the firm apologised “unreservedly” to two former employees who were sexually harassed by its former head of forensics.  The accused has since left the firm.  Notably, the GTIL investigation was one of three independent investigations that were undertaken.  A detailed report for the Commission for Gender Equality is being prepared in response to its request for information.

Read this report in full at Business Report. Read too, Grant Thornton CEO steps aside pending outcome of sexual harassment probe, at Timeslive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page