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, 17 September 2018.


MINING LABOUR

Solidarity, Amcu and Uasa sign wage deal with AngloGold Ashanti

Reuters reports that three trade unions have signed a three-year wage deal with AngloGold Ashanti (AGA), potentially inching the gold mining industry closer to ending a standoff over pay.  Solidarity, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and Uasa agreed to a 6.5% per year increase for miners and R1,000 increase per year for skilled workers, AGA indicated.  It said talks were ongoing with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents 32.8% of AGA’s local employees.  “We are pleased that the parties have been able to engage and conclude an agreement with no disruption to the business,” said Motsamai Motlhamme, chief negotiator on behalf of the gold producers.  Solidarity, Amcu and Uasa previously declared a dispute with the remaining firms involved in the negotiations, Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater and Village Main Reef, after talks deadlocked.  The NUM declared a dispute last month with the Minerals Council SA, which represents all of the gold producers in the talks.  The unions will present the AGA agreement to the remaining companies to match, Solidarity said in a statement.  Negotiations with the remaining companies will continue on Thursday under the auspices of the CCMA.

Read this report by Tanisha Heiberg at Moneyweb

We won't be bullied into wage deal, says Sibanye-Stillwater chief

Business Report writes that outspoken Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman insists the gold mining industry won't be bullied into signing a wage settlement with the unions this week.  Froneman said that while a strike should be avoided at all costs, the industry and the unions were still far from an agreement.  He pointed out:  “The stakeholder that is the most damaged in a strike is the worker.  Literally within a few days, the workers never recover what they lose in a strike.  That serves no purpose.  It is a destructive mechanism… We can't as an industry be bullied by that kind of threat.  There is still a long way to go in the negotiations, and a strike will not resolve the issue.”  The talks have been going on since July between gold producers AngloGold Ashanti (AGA), Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater and Village Main Reef and unions Solidarity, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and UASA.  Amcu this month declared a dispute with Sibanye, while NUM declared it with all the companies last month.  This impasse has been referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.  On Monday, Amcu and Solidarity signed agreements with AGA.

Read this report by Dineo Faku in full at Business Report

Postings on mining charter / transformation

  • Countdown as Mining Charter heads to the cabinet for debate, at BusinessLive


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / PROTEST ACTION

Solidarity confident after court ruling of Nedlac permission for countrywide protest action against Sasol

Fin24 reports that trade union Solidarity says it has again applied for permission to embark on a one-day sympathy strike in protest against a black economic empowerment share scheme impacting some of its members at Sasol.  On Friday, the South Gauteng High Court ruled against the National Economic Development and Labour Council's (Nedlac’s) refusal to grant Solidarity a Section 77 (i.e. protest action) notice, and the statutory body will now need to review its decision.  Solidarity wants all of its 180,000 members countrywide to down tools in solidarity with those at Sasol.  Solidarity’s mostly white members have been undertaking phased industrial action at Sasol since 3 September over the company’s new Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment employee share scheme known as Khanyisa Phase 2.  The parties will head to the CCMA on Wednesday in a bid to break their deadlock.  Solidarity’s chief executive, Dirk Hermann, said the union was going ahead with the Nedlac strike application process, as they did not know what the outcome of the CCMA process would be and "there’s no indication that Sasol wants to come with a new offer".  Sasol said on Sunday that it continued to ensure that running of operations and its shutdown schedule were progressing safely and that the situation was being monitored ahead of the CCMA talks on Wednesday.

Read this report by Tehillah Niselow in full at Fin24

Chemical bargaining council suspends Sasol's 'overtime licence' due to health, safety concerns

Fin24 reports that the National Bargaining Council for the Chemical Industry (NBCCI) has withdrawn Sasol's variation licence - for employees to work overtime - due to health and safety concerns.  According to a letter from the bargaining council to Sasol on Monday, the company’s variation licence GP 11/17 has been suspended with immediate effect.  The NBCCI received several complaints from trade union Solidarity of unsafe operating conditions at the company’s Sasolburg operations.  The licence was granted to Sasol by the NBCCI on 23 October for 12 months on the basis that it could be withdrawn at any time, at its discretion.  Solidarity embarked on phased industrial action at the petrochemical giant on 3 September, in protest against the broad based black economic empowerment scheme, Khanyisa Phase 2, which it claims discriminates against white employees.  The union wrote several letters to the NBCCI complaining of “unsafe conditions” at Sasolburg during the strike and questioned whether workers were informed of their rights to withdraw from unsafe working conditions, afforded rest periods and training.  According to the NBCCI, the suspension will remain in place, pending the resolution of the health and safety contraventions at the Sasolburg operations and the matter will be addressed by the organisation’s Operations Committee “as a matter of urgency”.

Read this report by Tehillah Niselow in full at Fin24


COSATU CONGRESS

Cosatu expected to elect first female president as 13th national congress kicks off

News24 reports that the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) is likely to elect its first female president - Zingiswa Losi - as it meets for its 13th national congress this week.  Losi is Cosatu's second deputy president, alongside Tyotyo James, under the present leadership of Sdumo Dlamini.  More than 2,000 delegates were due to convene in Midrand on Monday to discuss the state of the federation and elect new leadership.  On the first day, leaders set to address delegates included ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.  According to some in the federation, Dlamini was on the fence about whether he wanted to continue to serve.  One (unnamed) leader said:  "The president is confusing.  One day he tells people he has served for long and it's time to go, then suddenly you hear he is in talks with people keen to give it another go.  But I don't even think this issue will get to the ballot."  James is also expected to step down.  General secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali, deputy general secretary, Solly Phetoe, and treasurer Freda Oosthuysen are expected to retain their positions.  Cosatu will also have to spend its four-day conference deliberating over the health of its affiliates and its own relevance in the labour sector, as well as its role in the alliance with the ANC, SACP and Sanco, while sharpening its position on issues such as land, the minimum wage and job insecurity.

Read this report by Tshidi Madia in full at News24

Cosatu set to echo ‘thuma mina’ philosophy in effort to improve service delivery and efficiency

BusinessLive reports that Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliates, which represent more than 800,000 civil servants, want to find ways to build caring and empathic state institutions to combat poor service delivery and a lack of efficiency in the public service.  To achieve this, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has proposed that the Cosatu national congress — which got under way on Monday — resolve to make a "concerted effort to change the image of public institutions".  More than 50% of Cosatu’s 1.6-million members are government employees.  According to the proposed resolution, public servants should adopt the "thuma mina" philosophy advocating honesty, integrity and volunteerism.  Inspired by late musician Hugh Masekela, President Cyril Ramaphosa used the term as a rallying call for renewal during his state of the nation address in February.  Sadtu’s proposal is likely to receive the support of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), with its president, Joseph Montisetse, indicating that affiliates were concerned about the deteriorating state of public health institutions in the country.  He said that, although scarce resources played a role, the quality of service was an integral part of the problem.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cosatu affiliates lobby for second deputy president post, at SowetanLive


LABOUR MARKET / JOBS

Workers believe job market much tougher than 10 years ago

Business Report writes that 80% of SA’s workforce believes the current job market is tougher than it was 10 years ago and just over 20% of workers believe their current skills will keep them employed over the next decade.  This was indicated in a new study conducted by MasterStart, an online learning solutions provider for academic institutions.  Its ‘MasterStart South African Workforce Barometer’ survey, was based on a sample group of over 1,000 people across varying demographics and industries.  The research found that just 23.8% of working South Africans believed their current skills would keep them employed in ten years’ time.  With the Fourth Industrial Revolution accelerating the pace of change in the world of work, most South Africans were looking to ‘future-proof’ their careers and believed lifelong learning was the key to retaining relevancy.  Age was referenced most frequently as a barrier to future employment, especially for those over 50, while lack of skills in younger people was seen as the most prohibiting factor.  Just under half felt they had been held back by lack of skills.  Some 30% of participants in IT and tech were completely confident their skills would survive the ten year test, while those in other industries were noticeably less secure.  Close to a quarter of respondents felt AI had already impacted their industries, with just 20% saying they were completely comfortable sharing their workload with robots or processes automated by AI.  The highest level of unease about this was among 18-24 year-olds.

Read this report by Joseph Booysen in full at Business Report

Vivian Reddy's new KwaDukuza mall created 1,100 jobs during construction

Business Report writes that Vivian Reddy, the developer of the R4.3 billion Oceans Development in Umhlanga, has invested R500m in the new KwaDukuza Mall, which is set to open on 27 September 2018.  The 29,000sqm mall with 900 parking bays and 80 stores is the first phase of a planned R1.5 billion precinct that will include a value centre, hotel, private hospital, and an office park.  The Mall created 1,100 jobs during construction with 260 permanent jobs.  Reddy said that the Mall development was a role model in BEE with a 90% BEE participation.  Local suppliers and sub-construction businesses benefited over R80m.  It was the first major investment in over 30 years in KwaDukuza.  Two years ago Reddy initiated a new R10m Skills Development Training centre in the town with over 450 students graduating in the first year.  Many of the people trained in construction skills at the centre were used in the mall development.

Read this report in full at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Job prospects for 100 at AEEI despite the tough times, at Business Report


APPOINTMENTS / RECRUITMENT / STAFFING / VACANCIES

Eskom to yet again miss its own deadline for appointment of new finance chief

BusinessLive reports that power utility Eskom is set to miss yet another of its self-imposed deadlines to finalise the appointment of its sixth finance director in five years.  Eskom’s newest board appointed in January, initially set a deadline of May to finalise the appointment of a new finance chief.  Sources close to the process advised that six candidates were shortlisted before the job was finally offered to former finance chief Paul O’Flaherty in May, who apparently turned it down.  Eskom is currently in the process of identifying a search firm to assist in finding a suitable finance candidate.  This means it will yet again miss the deadline, now set for September.  "We are taking this appointment quite seriously, and the board’s people and governance committee will be meeting next week to discuss the matter," said chairman Jabu Mabuza.  He conceded that the utility will again miss the deadline.  "With the time constraints, it’s quite possible now that the appointment could be made in the next financial year."  Finance directors normally have notice periods of about six months, which means Eskom may not be able to fill the vacancy in 2018.  While conceding it was undesirable for the position to remain unfilled for such a long time, Mabuza praised interim finance boss Cassim as being quite capable of handling the job.

Read this report by Sikonathi Mantshantsha in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Typo in Cogta job ad calls for people with ‘impeachable record’, at News24


EXECUTIVE PAY / WAGE GAP

‘Concerned and frustrated’ Cell C workers riled by bosses’ pay and bonuses

BusinessLive reports that Cell C employees say they are frustrated after learning that the mobile operator’s executive directors saw their pay more than quadruple in 2017.  The company’s financial statements for the year ended December show that executive directors netted emoluments worth R219m in 2017, from R51m the prior year.  Additionally, the value of performance and retention bonuses that accrued to all employees more than doubled to R652m.  A letter dated 24 August to chair Kuben Pillay from 391 "concerned and frustrated employees" says the pay hikes and bonuses go "directly against the values that were held in high regard ... namely the value of fairness".  The employees write:  "During the bonus payout for 2017, we were advised the company could not honour payments of full bonuses and … a lesser amount was paid … We were advised this was due to tight budget and financial constraints."  Staff say in a second letter that they will approach the government, civil bodies and unions if their demands, which include an investigation into bonuses, are not met.  Cell C indicated last week that, while it had not met internal targets for 2017, it nevertheless paid discretionary bonuses to junior staff this year.

Read this report by Nick Hedley in full at BusinessLive


RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Telkom embarks on a new round of retrenchments

Business Report writes that Telkom, which is partly government-owned, is embarking on a new round of retrenchments.  The telecommunications company said on Friday that it would offer voluntary separation and voluntary early retirement to qualifying employees.  Telkom has not indicated how many jobs are on the line, but said that it needed to cut costs following new plans by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to again bring down call termination rates.  Spokesperson for trade union Solidarity, Johan Botha, said that the union had yet to engage Telkom on formal Section 189 (i.e. retrenchment) talks.  “Solidarity will, however, have to fight to keep our members employed,” said Botha.  Icasa has proposed that fixed termination rates should fall by 70% compared with a reduction of only 31% in base mobile termination rates.  The new regulations are expected to set in from October.  Telkom said last month that this decision penalised it much more than its competitors MTN and Vodacom.  “It also disproportionately targets Telkom as the champion in reducing the cost to communicate and the largest employer in the industry.  While Telkom employs 18,000 people, the two largest mobile operators together employ 10,000 staff in total,” said Telkom.

Read this report by Dineo Faku in full at Business Report

SA National Editors’ Forum warns SABC to consider retrenchments as last resort

ANA reports that the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said on Monday it would closely monitor the retrenchment process at the cash-strapped SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).  It added that the public broadcaster should contemplate job cuts only if all other cost cutting options had been explored.  This came after the SABC announced on Friday that it had met with unions to inform them it was contemplating implementing Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (i.e. retrenchments) as part of a number of cost-cutting measures.  The SABC reported a net loss of R622 million for the 2017/2018 financial year, with one of the biggest cost drivers being the salary bill.  In its statement, Sanef said part of the dire financial situation the SABC found itself in was due to the reckless mismanagement epitomized by former chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, which included his mismanagement of human resources.  "Sanef notes that the cruelty of the situation is that workers, once again, are at the receiving end of leadership abuse and negligence."  "Non-core support staff and administration units should be cut if anything is to be cut," the editors’ forum added.

Read this report in full at Business Report. Read Sanef’s press statement at Sanef News

 


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