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, 4 July 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Four SANDF members killed in KZN on Sunday in crash on N3

News24 reports that four South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members died in a crash on the N3 northbound in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) on Sunday afternoon.  They were on their way to the Boschoek training area for mission readiness.  Defence force spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said that of the eleven members who were travelling in the Samil 20 seater truck, four died and five other sustained minor injuries.  The members were stationed at Natal Carbineers, a Reserve Force Unit in Pietermaritzburg.  A board of inquiry will determine the circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident.

Read this report by Iavan Pijoos in full at News24

Three workers dead, three still missing in Worcester river

News24 reports that reported on Wednesday the search for three people was still under way in the Jan du Toit’s River, a few kilometers from Worcester.  The trio were among six people who disappeared after the tractor trailer transporting them plunged into the river on Sunday.  The bodies of three people, a 30-year-old man and two children, were recovered on Monday.  Breede Valley Local Municipality community and services director Jonathan Marthinus reported:  “Eight people tried to cross the river while there was strong flooding.  These eight people were trying to collect firewood across the bridge, using the tractor as their transport.”  Only two of the eight managed to swim to safety.  The municipality’s spokesperson Johann Botha said:  “We live on farms, which forces our people to use firewood to warm themselves, especially now that the Cape is experiencing a cold front.”

Read this report by Sisonke Mlamla in full at Cape Argus

Joburg metro police get better shift system to reduce fatigue and boost safety

BusinessLive reports that the City of Johannesburg has improved its shift system for metro police and insourced security personnel to reduce fatigue and boost safety.  The new system started on Sunday for all Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers‚ as well as 1‚600 newly insourced security personnel.  In their previous shift system‚ officers had a day shift from 6am to 3.30pm; a night shift from 3pm to 11.30pm; and an all-night shift from 11.30pm to 7am.  The new shift system provides for four days on and four days off‚ with 6am to 6pm day shifts, and 6pm and 6am night shifts.  JMPD chief David Tembe observed:  "The number of hours remains the same as before‚ yet officers will have more days off.  The previous system did not afford officers an opportunity to rest since they had to do three shifts before getting an off-day."  The new shift system was agreed in May 2018 after long deliberations between the City and organised labour.

Read this report in full at BusinessLive

Candidate engineer refuses to answer questions at Grayston bridge inquiry for fear of incrimination

News24 reports that an employee of Murray & Roberts who worked as an assistant to the construction manager when the Grayston bridge collapsed in 2015 declined to answer some of the questions put to him on Tuesday.  He indicated at the Department of Labour inquiry that he did not want to incriminate himself.  Oliver Aadnesgaard, who had been a candidate engineer at the time of the collapse, testified that he did not know who designed and approved the drawings of the temporary structure, saying that the drawings had been supplied by FormScaff.  Aadnesgaard also indicated that the night before the tragedy, parts of the M1 freeway had been closed.  When asked by Commissioner Phumi Maphaha who authorised the reopening of the road the next day, Aadnesgaard declined to answer in case he incriminated himself.  Most of the questions posed to Aadnesgaard related to design, inspection and approvals.  Asked what caused the collapse, he said:  "I do not know."  He also could not recall if any inspections had been conducted on the day of the collapse.  Two people died and 19 were injured when the bridge collapsed in October 2015.

Read the original of this report by Vanessa Banton in full at News24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

PSA members at Sassa vow to continue their wage strike

Timeslive reports that the Public Servants Association (PSA) says its members will continue to strike if the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) does not meet their demands.  Sassa employees affiliated to the PSA embarked on a strike on Tuesday‚ demanding a 15% salary increase, a housing allowance of R2‚500, for married couples both employed by Sassa to each receive the increased housing allowance‚ for Sassa offices to be closed over Christmas and New Year‚ and for a minimum of three days’ special leave for religious activities for non-Christian employees.  On Tuesday‚ Social Development Minister Susan Shabangu approached the Labour Court in a bid to stop the strike by Sassa employees on the basis that they delivered an essential service.  However‚ PSA spokesperson Tahir Mayepa denied this, saying:  "The minister has to prove that our members are responsible for the payment of social grants because it is not true."  The court application was postponed for the minister to file more documents as requested by the court and was set to resume on Wednesday.

Read this report by Nomahlubi Jordaan in full at Timeslive. Read too, PSA says members not responsible for grant payment issues, at EWN. And also, Court bid to stop strike by Sassa employees postponed, at EWN. As well as, Grants will be paid, says Sassa, as it tries to stop workers’ strike, at City Press

Fawu members at Parmalat plant on strike over wages

Netwerk24 reports that Parmalat SA (PSA) implemented a lock-out of members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) after several employees went on strike last week at the company’s Bonnievale plant.  The strike and lock-out followed a deadlock reached in wage negotiations between the parties over many weeks.  The process included mediation by the CCMA.  “We will not work and will remain striking until our needs are met, we earn next to nothing and do not get paid double when we work on Sundays.  Everything is rising except for our wages,” a striker commented.  PSA described the decision to strike as “disappointing, given the parties had previously, at Fawu’s request, agreed to meet again on 29 June.”  HR executive Chris Vermeulen said the company had indicated its willingness throughout the negotiation process to move on its offer if Fawu did the same.  Vermeulen claimed that the strike had been accompanied by high levels of intimidation.  Initially, the union had been demanding a 12% wage increase, plus numerous other demands.  After weeks of negotiations, on 27 June its demand stood at 9% together with a number of remaining demands, while the company’s offer stood at 7.3% plus a once-off payment of R500.  PSA described the union’s other remaining demands as “substantial” and said they could not be agreed to.

Read this report in full at Netwerk24

Illegal strikers in Giyani interdicted from polluting and closing water pumps

Sowetan reports that the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane on Tuesday interdicted illegal strikers in Giyani from polluting and closing water pumps.  Judge Ephraim Makgoba restrained the strikers from closing water reticulation sources to Giyani communities and also ordered the police to patrol the Giyani area to protect the assets of the local municipality.  This was after angry community members from Khakhala, Gawula, Mahlathi and Hlomela villages blockaded roads with sand and disrupted services in Giyani over the past three weeks.  They were demanding roads and water services.  In his affidavit, municipal manager Maxwell Chauke said:  “The water services have been disrupted by the strikers in circumstances we cannot explain.  It is likely that the water pumps in the reticulation facility have been blocked and the water is now not fit for human consumption.”  He also indicated that there had been reported incidents of intimidation of staff.  Chauke went on to state:  “I was also informed the strikers went to the Giyani CBD and their demonstration culminated in vandalism.  On June 25 I was informed that the strikers attempted to enter the municipal offices by force, and blocked the public and municipal staff from gaining access.”

Read more of this Sowetan report by Peter Ramothwala at SA Labour News

Senior Solidarity members at Sasol want to strike over black employees’ share scheme

Reuters reports that trade union Solidarity has been given a mandate by senior members to strike at energy giant Sasol over its plan to launch a share ownership scheme exclusively to black staff.  This was indicated by a union source on Tuesday.  The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) last month cleared the union, which represents predominately white workers, to strike over the dispute.  “Our senior representatives gave us the mandate to go on strike today.  We will now start the process to do a strike vote with all our members,” the source told Reuters.  Under black economic empowerment rules, South African companies are required to meet quotas on black ownership, employment and procurement as part of a drive to reverse decades of exclusion under apartheid.

This short report by Ed Stoddard is at Moneyweb


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Grooms protest outside Summerveld training centre just days before Durban July

Timeslive reports that dozens of grooms, wielding sticks‚ knobkerries and sjamboks, protested outside the Summerveld horse training centre‚ west of Durban‚ demanding an increase in their hourly wage.  Summerveld‚ which is one of the country’s premier horse training facilities‚ is where many of the horses set to take part in the Durban July are trained and stabled.  The iconic race takes place on Saturday.  The grooms said they wanted their rates pushed up to R25 an hour.  One of the grooms said that workers did not get pay slips‚ making it difficult for them to know exactly what they were earning.  He also claimed they worked seven days a week.  This was the latest in a number of protests by grooms in recent weeks.  On 21 June‚ horse racing at the Vaal racecourse was cancelled after grooms went on strike at the Randjesfontein training centre in Midrand.  Grooms at the centre approached the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to represent their grievances over wages.

Read this report by Matthew Savides in full at Timeslive. See too, EFF-led grooms protest stops Vaal horse racing, at Timeslive. And also, No horses were harmed during grooms’ strike‚ trainer says, at Timeslive

Unemployed graduates march in Durban for jobs

Daily News reports that about 100 unemployed graduates - some dressed in their academic robes - took to the streets of Durban in a protest march to raise awareness about their lack of employment.  They came from various Durban universities.  As they marched down Dr Pixley ka Seme Street towards the City Hall, the graduates carried placards with slogans such as "internship then what" and "we are not lazy, we are unemployed".  At City Hall, the unemployed graduates gave over a memorandum for delivery to Mayor Zandile Gumede.  One of the leaders of the march, MUT graduate Nkululeko Ndlovu said internships offered to graduates were only for a year, but permanent job positions required three years’ experience.  Another issue related to the process of applying for jobs whereby graduates needed to certify documents every three months and make copies of qualifications, which they observed was an expensive process for people with no income.

Read this report by Nosipho Nyide in full at Daily News

Disgruntled Uber, Taxify drivers offline again on Wednesday over unmet demands

EWN reports that many Uber and Taxify driver partners said they would continue to be off-line on Wednesday.  Hundreds of operators gathered outside Uber’s head office in Sandton on Tuesday where a memorandum was given to management.  Amongst other issues, they were demanding that Uber should stop putting more cars on the road.  The protesting e-hailing service operators gave Uber management 48 hours to respond to their demands or face further protests.  Spokesperson for the General Task Team, Vhatuka Mbelengwa, said this was not the end of their campaign.  “In the interim, we’re going to continue to be offline.  We’re going to mobilise drivers and engage with them in different areas who may not be aware of what’s happening so that we can make them aware and correctly encourage them to stay offline.”

A short report by Katleho Sekhotho is at EWN. Read too, Uber drivers plead for fare hike following petrol price increase, at Fin24. And also, Uber promises incentives to offset fuel price increases as drivers strike, at Timeslive


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Samwu refuses to budge on municipal wage demands

The Citizen reports that the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has refused to sign a wage agreement that it said would put its members in a disadvantaged position in the light of the current economic constraints marked by VAT and fuel increases.  Samwu, along with the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), deadlocked with the employer body, the SA Local Government Association (Salga), at the local government bargaining council talks.  The two unions separately declared disputes that were referred for conciliation.  At the first conciliation meeting on 28 June, Samwu rejected the proposals made by the facilitator, who had recommended an across the board 7% salary increases from 1July and that employees who earned a basic salary of R9,000 monthly or less receive a further 0.5% increase with effect from 1 January.  Samwu’s dispute is scheduled to be heard in a second conciliation meeting on 16 July and Imatu’s dispute on 23 July.  Salga said it respected the desire of the unions to approach the dispute process in different ways, and that they were willing to accommodate the two separate conciliation processes of the unions.  As a consequence of the agreement lapsing, municipal employees will not be getting a salary increase in July 2018, being the first month of the new financial year.

Read this report by Eric Naki in full at The Citizen. Read Samwu’s press statement at Samwu News. Read Imatu’s press statement at Imatu News. Read Salga’s press statement at SA Labour News


BARGAINING COUNCILS

Five bus companies want exemptions from wage agreement that ended lengthy drivers’ strike

BusinessLive reports that five bus companies, including Golden Arrow and Putco, have applied to be exempted from complying with the recently signed bus sector wage agreement, citing financial difficulties.  If the companies succeed, about 19,000 employees could see their wages stagnate.  These moves have angered labour, with the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) saying they undermined collective bargaining.  The bus sector wage agreement was reached two months ago after a 26-day strike by workers.  Under the deal, workers will receive a 9% wage increase for 2018 and 8% for 2019.  The SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) has meantime applied to the labour minister for the deal to be extended to cover all companies in the sector.  Although Golden Arrow has paid workers the 9% increase this year, it has apparently applied to be exempted from paying the 8% in 2019.  Putco has applied for a 12-month delay in the implementation of the 9% wage hikes in 2018-19, a delay in the adjustment of minimum hourly rates and exemption from paying bonuses this December.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


EMPLOYMENT EQUITY / AFFIRMATIVE ACTION / EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

Legislative changes in pipeline in drive to speed up employment equity change

BusinessLive reports that legislative amendments are in the pipeline to enforce compliance with the employment equity law and to provide incentives for employers who fulfil their obligations.  The proposals are intended to accelerate transformation in the workplace.  Last week, the Employment Equity Commission (CEE) released its report for 2017, which showed that white men still dominated senior management echelons, with their representation far exceeding their share of the economically active population.  The proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act (EEA) have been approved by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and will be released for public comment in the near future.  One amendment will be a change in the definition of designated employers (those required to comply with the act) to remove their turnover threshold, though not the number of employees.  A further amendment will see sectors setting transformation targets to replace the system of self-imposed targets that companies set themselves.

Read this report by Linda Ensor in full at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS / UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES

Former SAA chief financial officer lodges unfair dismissal dispute

ANA reports that former SA Airways (SAA) chief financial officer (CFO) Phumeza Nhantsi on Wednesday indicated that she had filed a case of unfair dismissal with the CCMA against the national airline.  SAA last week fired Nhantsi and acting chief executive Musa Zwane, having earlier suspended them for recommending to the board that the carrier should sign a deal with financier BnP Capital to raise R15 billion to consolidate its debt.  This was in return for a R256 million fee.  Nhantsi said the company fired her on the basis of unfounded allegations and added:  “Simply put, SAA was required to prove that I was guilty of misconduct and not depend solely on speculation or unfounded allegations.”  She claimed that she had made submissions prior to her dismissal, but these were not given due consideration.  SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said that all the company could say at this stage was that it noted Nhantsi’s decision to approach the CCMA.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Two officials on paid suspension cost energy department over R2m, Jeff Radebe says, at Fin24
  • Jiba to be barred from NPA work - for now: Shaun Abrahams, at Timeslive

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page