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, 2 July 2018.


MINING LABOUR

Modernisation of mines can save lives of miners, but only up to a point

BusinessLive writes that modernisation of mines can save lives, but SA’s deep, steep and narrow ore bodies do not lend themselves to the desired change.  This is especially true for mines owned by Sibanye-Stillwater, which again came into focus last week with the death of yet another worker.  The producer has become the biggest player in SA’s gold and platinum mining sector as other mining giants have sold off ageing and increasingly troublesome mines.  So it is logical that Sibanye would record more fatalities than others, but the high number of incidents is out of proportion.  Prof Frederick Cawood, director of the Wits Mining Research Institute, believes that modernisation will save lives in mines, but converting Sibanye’s operations to 21st century mines would by no means be a "light switch".  Cawood and the institute are working on several projects with Sibanye that "will continue to put distance between workers and risk".  This includes technology that would improve communication and ground mapping and will ultimately reduce the risks faced underground.  Sibanye says various technologies have been adopted in past years to improve safety.  Modernisation is the future, says Cawood, but he notes the technologies that might assist Sibanye are not yet proven in these "harsh environments".

Read this report by Lisa Steyn in full at BusinessLive


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Eskom awaits union feedback on wage offer, hopes for signing of deal on Friday

Sowetan writes that it’s a make-or-break week for power utility Eskom with its unions having taken back to their members the power utility’s latest wage offer of 6.2% at the weekend.  Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said they were hoping an agreement would be reached and signed on Friday when the parties reconvened in Woodmead.  The three unions went into the latest leg of negotiations, initiated by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, with a mandate that included a demand for housing allowances and double-digit wage increases.  However, they received nothing else but a 6.2% “take it or leave it” wage offer from the cash strapped power utility to report back on.  Eskom did not commit on any of the other demands such as those relating to finalisation of the minimum service agreement, housing allowances and the discontinuation of the independent power producers.  This week will see the NUM, the biggest union at Eskom, convening its national shop stewards council on Thursday for more consultation over Eskom’s final offer.  The NUM and two other recognised unions at Eskom, Numsa and Solidarity, presented a joint 9% salary increase demand after meeting ahead of the negotiations and consolidating their mandates.

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


BARGAINING COUNCILS

Another bus strike on the cards if bargaining council grants wage increase exemptions

Cape Argus reports that another bus strike could be on the cards if requests are granted for several bus companies to be exempted from the recent wage deal that brought an end to the protracted bus drivers’ wage strike.  A number of bus companies, including Golden Arrow, have apparently approached the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) to be exempted.  This would mean they would not be obliged to pay the wage increase of 9% in the first year and 8% in the following year covered by the deal.  The agreement brought to an end a nationwide strike by bus drivers that commenced on 18 April and endured for almost four weeks.  SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela said it was a shame that three big bus companies, including Putco, had applied to be exempted.  She indicated that bus drivers felt discouraged and added:  “They are very disappointed about what’s been happening."  Transport Omnibus Workers' Union general secretary Tony Franks said his members were angry at the turn of events.  Golden Arrow’s John Dammert confirmed that they would be making submission to the bargaining council.  "Unfortunately I cannot divulge the details of what our submissions will be,” he indicated.

Read this report by Marvin Charles in full at Cape Argus


ECONOMIC POLICY / INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Radebe stresses that a just energy transition means labour cannot be 'left behind'

Mining Weekly reports that Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has urged business to support government in ensuring that SA’s energy transition was a “just” one for labour, especially those operating in the coal-mining sector.  In an engagement on Friday with business leaders, following a meeting of the energy ministers from the Brics bloc the day before, Radebe said a collaborative effort was required to ensure that labour was not “left behind”.  A Cabinet-approved draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is due to be released “soon” for public comment ahead of final promulgation in August.  The plan is expected to include higher levels of private participation in power generation, as well as to enlarge the role of both renewable energy and natural gas in SA’s electricity mix.  However, Radebe argued that, besides articulating a clear vision for the country’s energy transition, the social partners needed to clearly define the roles that should be played by government, business and labour and communities in the transition.  “For the energy transition to be just, we must also ensure that we do not leave labour behind,” Radebe stressed.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly


LABOUR MARKET / JOB CREATION

Over 1,000 jobs in the pipeline at new Buffalo City Metro tile factory

DispatchLive reports that a planned R300-million factory that will use ingceke (clay) to make tiles is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs when it opens in the 2018-19 financial year in Buffalo City Metro.  It is not yet known where the factory will be located, but two business partners – Chinese property developer Billy Huang and Johannesburg-based Eastern Cape-born Malusi Kobese – have registered a company and applied for a mining licence in King William’s Town.  Traditional Xhosa initiates use ingceke, the African sunscreen lotion, whenever they undergo the rite.  A Chinese delegation attending the Brics bloc forum in East London discovered that ingceke has economic value.  Ingceke from Kuni village near Good Hope outside East London has still to be tested in China, and samples have been taken from Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) and Mount Coke.  East London IDZ spokesman Sakhiwo Tetyana on Sunday confirmed they had signed a memorandum of understanding with the two businessmen.  The planned R300m factory comes on the heels of Mercedes-Benz SA announcing a R10bn investment, while ICT group Yekani Manufacturing recently unveiled its R1bn -billion factory in East London.

Read this report by Mbali Tanana in full at DispatchLive


STAFFING / VACANCIES / RECRUITMENT

State hospitals have all the oncology technology, but no specialists to use it

BusinessLive reports that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says there are at least 15 oncology machines worth R40m each waiting to be used at public hospitals — but he is still looking for specialists to operate them.  Some provinces have no oncology specialists (KwaZulu-Natal now has just one to service 1.3-million cancer patients) to use the linear accelerators collecting dust in state hospitals.  Speaking on Thursday, Motsoaledi indicated:  "We will rely on private oncologists to come and use the equipment.  Steve Biko Academic has got more oncology equipment‚ and linear accelerators‚ than any hospital in the country‚ private or public.  There are four bunkers (for the radiation machines) there‚ and the fifth bunker is being finished now.  "Charlotte Maxeke [in Johannesburg] has four‚ Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals [in the Western Cape] have three each.  And two in Addington in KwaZulu-Natal. We have repaired the old one; it is working and a new one is being tested.  All that is needed is oncologists."  He added that one of the pilot programmes of the National Health Insurance was to clear the oncology backlog‚ especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

This short report by Shanthini Naidoo is at BusinessLive

TAC report shows 37,000 public health posts vacant

SowetanLive reports that over 37,000 posts in the public health sector have not been filled, with Limpopo topping the list.  This shocker is contained in a series of reports on the state of health in provinces by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), based on monitoring efforts which took place from November 2017 until this year.  According to the report, Limpopo had close to 10,000 unfilled posts out of a total of 44,000 funded posts.  Other badly affected provinces included KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), with 8,904 vacant posts, while Gauteng stood at 6,100 posts and the Free State at 4,101.  The TAC blamed the situation on factors such as the freezing of posts by provincial departments, difficulty getting specialists and staff members who either retired or left the system in search of greener pastures in the private sector.  On Sunday, TAC Limpopo chairman Moses Makhomisani handed the report over to the department and observed that during their assessment they found that the shortages impacted heavily on hospitals and clinics.  He said at one clinic nurses had to take on administrative duties because there were no clerks.  The National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) is expected to hold a briefing to outline plans for a day of action.  In a statement, Nehawu said it wanted the department to resolve issues, including the failure to hire community health workers on permanent basis.  

Read this report by Zoë Mahopo in full at SowetanLive

EPWP recruitment processes reviewed to curb corruption

Sunday Tribune reports that Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has admitted there were flaws in eThekwini’s recruitment of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) participants after allegations of corruption emerged.  In March, it was reported how some senior officials within the municipality had filled EPWP vacancies with ghost workers who were paid more than R1.2m for work they never did.  Nxesi and deputy minister Jeremy Cronin said the challenges prompted the department to review its recruitment processes.  Last week in Port Shepstone, they launched the programme’s new recruitment guidelines designed to curb corruption.  The same guidelines will be applied across all municipalities, as opposed to previous practice when they differed.  The new requirements include open advertisement of the programme, and allowing equal access to opportunities for all in the community.  Nxesi said the intention was to guide communities, councillors and municipalities to ensure that the programme was conducted in a fair and transparent manner and added:  “The abuse of recruitment of EPWP participants for narrow political scores is unethical and unacceptable regardless of political affiliation.”  Cronin encouraged the public to report corruption and manipulation of the recruitment processes.

Read this report by Siphelele Buthelezi in full at Sunday Tribune

Aucamp's appointment as chief of staff was irregular, Tshwane city manager finds

News24 reports that Tshwane City Manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola indicated on Thursday that Marietha Aucamp should never have been appointed as the city’s chief of staff.  "What happened here was wrong," said Mosola, when releasing the findings of his investigation into Aucamp's appointment.  The former chief of staff was appointed to the position, in which she earned an annual salary of R1.2m, even though she did not have the required qualifications.  In a scant one-and-a-half-page CV, Aucamp did not indicate her qualifications and only stated that she was acting chief of staff in Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga's office and that she had previously worked as the chief whip of the DA in the Tshwane metro.  In what was referred to as the "assessment centre personal information sheet", it was however recorded that Aucamp had a BTech qualification.  Mosola said he became aware in January 2018 that Aucamp might not have had the required qualifications, and initiated an investigation.  He then gave Aucamp seven days to submit certified copies of her qualifications for audit and verification purposes.  He found that the City's HR officials did not follow procedures and policies and actively side-stepped processes to effect the appointment of Aucamp and he recommended that they be subjected to a disciplinary process.  Mosola exonerated Msimanga from any impropriety and found that that Aucamp had in fact misrepresented her qualifications.

Read this report by Amanda Khoza in full at News24. Read too, Probe clears Tshwane mayor of wrongdoing, at Security.co.za

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Protesters accuse ANC of job favouritism and shut down Uitenhage construction site, at GroundUp


INSOURCING

EFF drafting legislation to insource all government workers

EWN reports that according to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), it is in the process of drafting legislation to end the outsourcing of all government workers at local, provincial and national level.  Earlier this year, the EFF successfully tabled a motion in which it pushed for the City of Johannesburg to insource all its contract workers, including security guards, cleaners, refusal removal workers, drivers and all general workers.  The motion resulted in 1,600 security guards being directly hired by the city with effect from 1 July.  The EFF's Sixolise Gcilishe said the party was proud of this achievement and added:  “We reiterate our call to all government entities from national level to local level to insource staff.”

This short report by Tshegofatso Mathe is at EWN


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Absa cuts top jobs in restructuring of retail and business banking structure

Bloomberg reports that Barclays Africa has largely completed the restructuring of its SA retail and business banking unit’s executive team and has filled most of the newly created positions.  The lender, which is to be renamed Absa on 11 July, spent about two weeks consulting leaders about the changes and staff members have been notified of the appointments in an internal memorandum.  The division’s leadership team has been more than halved, while the new flatter structure apparently eliminated as many as four layers of managers.  Absa will now field applications from the rest of the organisation to fill four vacancies that remain in the new top structure.  The division’s CEO, Arrie Rautenbach, was not impacted by the changes, while deputy chief, Bongiwe Gangeni, was also made head of relationship banking.  The changes apparently seek to foster closer relationships between the bank and its customers, as well as among employees.  This is the first round of management cuts after CEO Maria Ramos in April reshuffled the lender around four divisions — retail and business banking, corporate and investment banking, rest of Africa, and wealth management and insurance.  

Read this report by Roxanne Henderson in full at Moneyweb


TRAINING / SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

Gauteng’s Tshepo one-million programme trained 73,000 people in 2017/18

Engineering News reports that Gauteng Premier David Makhura is planning during July to engage all municipalities across Gauteng in an effort to gain more support for the province’s Tshepo one-million programme.  The Premier said on Friday that municipalities and metropolitans were not supporting the roll-out of the programme, with the youth calling on leadership to intervene and ensure that all mayors were held accountable on youth development.  Further, as feedback from the youth showed the programme to be invisible “on the ground”, Makhura said he would also appoint regional coordinators in the five corridors of Gauteng.  He indicated that the programme resulted in the training of more than 73,000 youth during 2017/18 in the skills demanded by the economy.  Some 8,000 obtained decent permanent jobs, while 5,400 were placed in temporary and transitional jobs.  Another 222 were assisted to start their own enterprises.  Further, over the past three-and-a-half years, more than 470,000 young people were empowered with skills, access to decent employment, transitional jobs, bursaries and internships and business opportunities.

Read this report in full at Engineering News


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

Over 100 people behind bars in Western Cape over Metrorail-related crimes

EWN reports that the number of people currently behind bars or awaiting trial for Metrorail-related crimes in Cape Town now exceeds a hundred.  Metrorail believes it is slowly but surely starting to win the war against criminals.  Last week alone, 11 suspects were arrested for cable theft and trespassing.  In the same week, three people were found guilty and sentenced in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court for crimes committed along the city's train network.  Metrorail's Riana Scott said:  “We thank communities and individuals who assist us in our fight against crime by giving us information and we want to encourage them to continue doing that.  It’s wonderful to see that vigilant and civil-minded community can positively contribute in fighting crime in our neighbourhood.”

This short report by Lauren Isaacs is at EWN

 


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