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, 25 June 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Popcru condemns lack of police resources after another cop killing on Monday

Timeslive reports that the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has condemned the killing of a police officer who was gunned down on Monday in Ekangala‚ Tshwane.  The officer was apparently killed after responding to a false complaint.  “We have on numerous occasions raised a grave concern on the fact that the SAPS’s human and physical resource allocation has been‚ and continues to be‚ a deep-seated challenge with adverse effects to both police officers and the community at large‚” Popcru said in a statement.  The union noted that SA had less than 200‚000 police officers who were expected to keep a population of 57m safe on a regular basis and went on to comment that its members were “continuously terrorised and killed by cold-blooded criminals due to the longstanding impasse of inadequate human and physical resources.”  Popcru will be embarking on a national march next month focusing on the broad challenges within the Justice‚ Crime Prevention and Security Cluster.

Read this report by Nomahlubi Jordaan in full at Timeslive

Worker tells of excruciating pain after being set alight by boss's son

Sunday Tribune reports that a Durban woman was threatened with a lighter before her employer’s son allegedly doused her feet with petrol and set her alight.  Zinhle Mchunu is nursing third-degree burns to her left leg after the attack, which had initially seemed playful.  The 31 year old, who worked as a cleaner at a car service and repair shop in Durban, now bears the scars of the incident at her workplace and is unable to walk unaided.  She spent a week in hospital.  Her 28-year-old assailant has been arrested on an attempted murder charge and was due to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.  Labour federation Cosatu led a protest outside the business premises in Dr Pixley Kaseme Street on Friday.  Before that action, a Cosatu delegation led by provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize and Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay visited Mchunu at her Newlands home.  Mchunu said the pain had been excruciating.  She stated that the suspect had helped her put out the flames and had apologised.  He also took her to a pharmacy to buy pain killers and a gel.  The suspect’s father said Mchunu’s injuries were accidental and that he was prepared to compensate her.

Read this report by Nkululeko Nene in full at Sunday Tribune. Read too, Woman set on fire at work by employer’s son, at SowetanLive

Numsa calls on Eskom to assist in Yende workplace murder case with surveillance footage

ANA reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Monday they were concerned about the case of Thembisile Yende, an Eskom employee who was found murdered last year at her workplace.  Allegedly she was killed by a colleague because she was set to blow the whistle on a copper theft syndicate.  The union called on Eskom to assist the police with information and surveillance footage and said in a statement on Monday:  “According to the family, Eskom has not been helpful in providing all the footage which might shed light on Thembisile’s disappearance and murder.”  It is alleged David Ngwenya, a technician at Eskom, killed her by suffocating her and left her body locked in the substation where she worked.  Ngwenya is out on R15,000 bail, and is expected back in the Springs Magistrate’s Court on 28 June.  But, the Yende family is worried that the only accused in the case, Ngwenya, will be set free because of a lack of evidence.  Furthermore, the only key witness has apparently gone missing.  Numsa said it shared the concerns of the family and pointed out that Yende died whilst at work.  It demanded that the authorities should treat the case “with the same care and attention as they did with the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.”

Read this report in full at The Citizen


MINING LABOUR

Outcome of leadership election slants NUM towards links with Numsa

SowetanLive writes that the election last week of a National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leadership that is said to be sympathetic to Zwelinzima Vavi has fuelled talks of a possible merger between the Cosatu affiliate and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).  A slate led by incumbent NUM general secretary David Sipunzi swept the floor at the national congress in a leadership race that saw the pro-Luthuli House faction, led by outgoing president Piet Matosa, lose control of NUM.  Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim observed that the developments opened up the possibility of a merger between NUM and his union.  Numsa was expelled from Cosatu for "stealing members" from the NUM and for refusing to campaign for the ANC ahead of the 2014 general elections.  Matosa was among the NUM leaders who backed Numsa's expulsion.  Sipunzi was said to be among those who advised against it.  He was also seen as sympathetic to then Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who later joined forces with Numsa to form the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu).  Although rivals, NUM and Numsa have worked closely in recent weeks fighting Eskom over hike wages.  On Sunday, NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu would not entertain talks of a merger, but said Numsa should be brought back into Cosatu.

Read this report by Ngwako Modjadji in full at SowetanLive

Cash-strapped NUM splurges R37m on fancy golf shirts for members

SowetanLive reports that splurging millions of rand on fancy golf shirts for members has plunged the country's biggest mining trade union into financial trouble.  Delegates at the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) national congress in Boksburg were told last week that the 185,287-strong labour organisation was in financial distress and would have to do some belt-tightening to survive.  NUM general secretary David Sipunzi partly blamed the union's money woes on a 2015 congress resolution to buy "quality golf shirts" for all members once a year.  According to NUM insiders, the merchandise was procured from NUM's sister Cosatu affiliate - the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) - at about R200 a shirt.  If all of the union's members received their T-shirts, it is estimated that the union would have spent over R37m.  It was not clear at the congress why the union decided to "spoil" its members with fancy and "free" golf shirts, but the resolution was taken at a time when NUM was bleeding members to rival mining union, Joseph Mathunjwa's Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).  Sipunzi told delegates that the union's deficit had ballooned from R5.8m in 2012 to about R27m.  He said the golf shirts resolution had contributed to there being a hole in the union's budget.

Read this report by Ngwako Modjadji in full at SowetanLive


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Eskom and unions head for make-or-break wage negotiations this week

Business Report writes that Eskom and its three recognised unions will this week enter into do-or-die wage negotiations that will give an indication of the country’s future energy security.  Illegal industrial action two weeks ago disrupted operations at Eskom’s power stations as workers protested over the utility’s proposal of a 0% wage increase.  Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said the utility’s board had convened a special meeting for Monday to discuss new demands tabled last week by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Solidarity.  The unions, which initially wanted increases of 9% to 15%, last week indicated that they had presented the power utility with a detailed package “which included a plan on how the power utility can turn itself around financially, while at the same time, meeting the wage demands of workers.”  The unions have also demanded the presence of Eskom CE Phakamani Hadebe and representatives of the board at the negotiations, saying their absence undermined the talks.

Read this report by Siseko Njobeni in full at Business Report. See too, Eskom wage negotiations, by the numbers (graphic), at BusinessLive

Push on Thursday to resolve municipal wage negotiation impasse

Afro Voice reports that the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) are going back to the negotiating table on Thursday to try to break the deadlock over wage increases.  The union rejected the 7% wage offer presented by the employers’ association last month and the negotiations between the parties collapsed.  Salga’s Rio Nolutshungu said:  “We believe that the meeting would lead to further developments as we seek a solution to the impasse”, while Samwu spokesperson Papikie Mohale said the union and its members were hoping for a compromise at the meeting on Thursday, which will be held at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council.  Salga had previously offered a three-year wage agreement and a housing allowance, while Samwu was demanding a one-year agreement and a 15% wage hike.  Samwu general secretary Simon Mathe said they wanted the employers to meet them half way.

Read this report by Tiisetso Manoko in full at Afro Voice


APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT / STAFFING / VACANCIES

Gauteng health MEC admits to ‘critical shortage’ of nursing personnel

ANA reports that Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has reportedly disclosed that the provincial health department was facing a “critical shortage of skilled nursing personnel”.  According to Jack Bloom, Democratic Alliance (DA) MPL in Gauteng, Ramokgopa revealed last week at a nurses’ seminar held in Krugersdorp that the health department was operating on a staff establishment based on what the provincial population had been in 2006, when there were 4.8 million fewer people.  This situation has apparently been worsened by a circular to hospitals directing them to fill only 50% of vacant funded posts occupied by retired, resigned and deceased nursing personnel.  “I am horrified by Ramokgopa’s admission that these circumstances led to nursing managers allocating unskilled nursing personnel to attend to patients in critical areas.  This is extremely irresponsible, and raises the risk of medical negligence,” Bloom observed.  He said another bombshell was that “the department does not have an approved organisational structure for the review period 2014-19″.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

SABC appoints new CEO, new CFO in expectation of greater stability

Moneyweb reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has appointed Madoda Mxakwe and Yolande van Biljon as its new group CEO and chief financial officer respectively.  The public broadcaster’s board said on Sunday that the two would bring greater stability to the state-owned company.  Van Biljon started in the job on Monday, while Mxakwe will take over as CEO on 1 July.  Mxakwe, who has held senior executive positions in business, communications and public affairs in both the private and public sector in SA and abroad, has the “required business acumen, experience and decisive leadership skills in business turnarounds and transformation”, the board said.  Van Biljon, meanwhile, has worked for the likes of Denel Dynamics (as chief financial officer) and Glad Africa Group.  Both have impressive academic qualifications.  SABC board chair Bongumusa Makhathini commented:  “We are proud to say that these appointments reflect diversity in relation to skills, age, gender and race.  The board believes that these two appointments will strengthen the organisation’s position as a credible and reliable public service content provider.”

Read this report in full at Moneyweb. Read too, SABC names new executives in shake-up, at Business Report. And also, SABC appoints new Group CEO and new CFO, at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


WORK PERMITS / FOREIGN EMPLOYMENT

China releases passports confiscated from 51 SA teachers who were job scammed

BusinessLive reports that Chinese authorities have told the Department of International Relations and Co-operation that passports confiscated from 51 young South Africans who were job scammed in Changchun were released on Monday.  They will now be able return to SA.  "I am happy that this incident has been resolved.  l want to make a call to all South Africans that they must familiarise themselves with the laws and regulations of countries they visit or apply for work.  They must also ensure that they have the correct documentation before they travel‚" International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said.  The group was kept in China pending a court case against a Chinese agent who allegedly lured them to the country with the promise of lucrative teaching jobs.  However‚ he did not disclose to the group the type of qualifications they needed and instead helped them to get student visas — despite the fact that they were going to be working in China.  Sisulu said that the department would soon launch a campaign aimed at encouraging South Africans to research their destinations and the laws of countries where they sought to visit or work.

Read this report by Kgaugelo Masweneng in full at BusinessLive


EXECUTIVE PAY

PSG to engage with shareholders after hefty opposition at AGM to its pay policy

BusinessLive reports that financial services group PSG has undertaken to engage with its shareholders after a hefty 32% vote against the implementation of its remuneration report at Friday’s annual general meeting.  At the 2017 AGM only 16.47% of shareholders voted against the remuneration resolution.  Concerns about the shortage of independent directors and inadequate disclosure about its remuneration policy appeared to have been behind the increased levels of shareholder opposition.  The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) apparently voted against the pay policy in 2017 on the grounds that it appeared to be inconsistent with best practice.  The PIC has not yet released details of its voting at Friday’s AGM.   PSG chief Piet Mouton said on Sunday that they had taken note of the voting and would “go back to the drawing board and then engage with the dissenting shareholders."  On opposition to the re- election of longstanding directors, Mouton said he felt long-serving directors understood the business better and could make valuable contributions.  The vote against the re-appointment of PwC as auditor almost doubled to 15.26% from 8.7% in 2017.

Read this report by Ann Crotty in full at BusinessLive


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Over 500 jobs at Gauteng roads department on the line

Sowetan reports that more than 500 employees in the Gauteng department of roads and transport are on the verge of losing their jobs due to a new proposed organisational structure.  This is contained in an internal memo signed in August to freeze 513 vacant posts against the current “approved” structure and some which have been filled.  The 75-page document states that MEC Ismael Vadi and head of department Ronald Swartz, working with a team comprising the sub-directorate in organisational development of the department and the provincial treasury, should “assess the current vacancies against the newly proposed structure”.  The report was supported and signed by Vadi, Swartz and the department’s chief financial officer, Sanele Zondo.  The retrenchments, which have not come into effect, will reduce the current vacancy rate from 29% to 15%, costing the department about R172m.  But with the proposed structure, 120 posts will be advertised, which will cost the department over R80m.  Department spokeswoman Melitah Madiba insisted there would be no job losses for staff currently employed in the department as a result of the new structure.  She confirmed 507 vacant and unfunded posts had been abolished.

Read more of this Sowetan report by Neo Goba at SA Labour News


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Joburg hit by taxi strike on Monday, Cele reads riot act to Western Cape taxi drivers

BusinessLive reports that taxi drivers in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township went on strike on Monday after hundreds of vehicles were impounded.  Routes were affected in Sandton‚ Midrand‚ Woodmead‚ Modderfontein and Alexandra, while there were reports of violence at a taxi rank in Alexandra.  The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) announced the strike on Sunday.  According to Joburg metro police, more than 500 vehicles have been impounded in an operation that was launched in February.  Meanwhile in the Western Cape, Police Minister Bheki Cele has read the riot act to the taxi industry.  He met taxi bosses on Sunday with his deputy‚ Bongani Mkongi‚ Deputy Transport Minister Sindiswe Chikunga and Western Cape MECs Dan Plato (community safety) and Donald Grant (transport).  At least 13 people have been killed in a spate of taxi violence in the province, including three commuters.  Cele said he was setting up a dedicated team of detectives to investigate taxi violence and warned that taxi ranks and operations would be shut down if the violence continued.  

Read this report in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Taxi drivers strike to get unroadworthy vehicles back on the road, at The Citizen. And also, Hearings into Delft taxi violence to conclude soon, says Western Cape MEC, at EWN

Amid Monday’s strike, taxi bosses give JMPD seven days to respond to demands

EWN reports that amid Monday’s strike, a group of taxi bosses affiliated to at least 11 associations in Johannesburg handed over a memorandum to the city's Metro Police Department (JMPD) outlining their grievances.  The associations gave the JMPD management seven days to respond.  At least 500 taxis have been impounded on the basis that they were unroadworthy, but the drivers have disputing that.  Jabulani Ntshangase of the Alexandra Taxi Association claimed they were being unfairly targeted.  He said:  “When a driver makes a mistake, they don’t write a fine for the driver.  They just remove the disk.  They impound the vehicle.  We end up paying something like R2,800 per car.”  Ntshangase also accused JMPD officers of deliberately removing taxi licence disks to get them arrested at roadblocks.  The strike was set to continue on Monday evening, with no taxis expected to operate during the afternoon.

This short report by Mia Lindeque is at EWN. Read too, Alex taxi drivers attack journalist, at The Citizen

Protesters torch Metrorail train in Philippi on Sunday night

EWN reports that yet another commuter train has been torched, this time in Philippi in Cape Town.  Protesters set fire to three carriages on Sunday night, bringing to at least four the number of arson attack on trains in the city in recent weeks.  In one incident a commuter died.  City of Cape Town fire and rescue service’s Theo Layne stated:  “Firefighting crews were initially prevented from extinguishing the fire, but under police escort they managed to do so.  No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was determined to be protest related.”

A short report by Monique Mortlock is at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Prasa trains are most dangerous, rail report indicates, at BusinessLive

 


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