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
Thursday, 20 September 2018.


COSATU CONGRESS

Cosatu confirms its support for the ANC in the 2019 general elections

BusinessLive reports that trade union federation Cosatu has thrown its weight behind the African National Congress (ANC) ahead of the 2019 general elections, with its congress resolving to vote and campaign for the party.  The affirmation followed a lengthy debate between the federation’s affiliates at its 13th national congress this week.  The congress also resolved to wait for a decision over its support for the SA Communist Party (SACP) if the latter contests elections on its own.  Cosatu is in an alliance with the ANC and the SACP.  The federation’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said this week on the sidelines of the congress that support for the ANC would not come without conditions.  "There is no free lunch, no blank cheque — when you vote you choose that party because you have a belief that party must be able to do things for you in a better way.  At the same time, [delegates] recognise that the mission of the ANC and the SACP is not the same.  We want socialism and the party does not want socialism.  But it wants to improve the lives of people."  He added that for 2019, “we are going to vote for the ANC and want an overwhelming majority [for] the ANC."

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive

Cosatu issues warning to ANC not to drop the ball of a reconfigured alliance

BusinessLive reports that if the African National Congress (ANC) drops the ball on the call for a reconfigured alliance, trade union federation Cosatu will exit the partnership.  Cosatu wants its alliance with the ANC and the SA Communist Party (SACP) to allow for equal treatment of all partners and consultation over government policy and appointments.  But, according to the federation, the alliance is dysfunctional, paralysed, incoherent and divided, while the ANC sees its use mainly for election campaigns.  Cosatu delegates resolved at their congress in Midrand this week that if the ANC continued to make decisions about government policies and deployments without consulting its alliance partners, the workers would seek a new political home that was socialist orientated.  The alliance was not a "permanent" relationship that bound them to continue supporting the party, Cosatu affiliates warned.  The hardline position taken at the congress was apparently first discussed at a central executive committee political workshop.  It was the fear of Cosatu leaders that if the federation decided to ditch the alliance while members were still swept up in the euphoria of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s rise to power, this would have caused the federation to split.  Cosatu was the first organisation to endorse Ramaphosa’s bid for the presidency of the ANC.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Cosatu complains that ANC still bully boy, undermines alliance partners, at The Citizen

Cosatu has 50-50 gender representation in its incoming leadership

BusinessLive reports that trade union federation Cosatu has achieved a 50-50 representation of men and women in its incoming leadership, which was nominated unopposed at its 13th national congress in Midrand this week.  The federation’s second deputy president Zingiswa Losi formally took over as the first female president in the history of the federation when she addressed the congress for the first time on Thursday.  Losi is also a member of the ANC national executive committee (NEC) and the SACP central committee.  Cosatu will accordingly have the most gender-representative leadership among its alliance partners, the ANC and SACP, whose top six posts are occupied by five men and one woman.  The president of Saccawu, Louisa Thipe, was nominated to the position of second deputy president, with Nehawu’s Mike Shingange to occupy the first deputy president position.  Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali and his deputy Solly Phetoe retained their positions.  Long-standing treasurer Frieda Oosthuizen was nominated unopposed.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Basic education minister calls for talks amid violence aimed at teachers

The Star reports that following the killing of a teacher by a learner in North West, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said this week that she would be calling a symposium to discuss violence in schools.  It would include the SA Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Social Development and school governing bodies.  “It is unfortunate that, as a sector responsible for education, we have to deal with these types of incidents, often distracting us from our core business of learning and teaching,” Motshekga said.  She added that communities and parents should also take responsibility for what happened in schools.  The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said more needed to be done to protect its members in schools.  President Nkosiphendule Ntantala said:  “Our union has been inundated with disturbing testimonials concerning the levels of violence against teachers in schools.  The country has also been witnessing a series of shocking videos showing violence by learners towards teachers.  Violence in schools has resulted in some teachers leaving the profession… we are of the view that the department can do much more to protect its employees.”  SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said they had, for years, been calling on the department to ensure schools were safe.

Read this report by Tebogo Monama in full at The Star. Read too, Plea to protect teachers, pupils, at SA Labour News


MINING LABOUR

Gold wage talks deadlock again between Sibanye and Amcu

ANA reports that wage negotiations between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and Sibanye-Stillwater reached a deadlock once again on Thursday.  "No agreement has been reached and wage talks continue," Amcu said in a terse statement.  This came as Amcu, along with other unions in the gold mining sector, continued wage conciliation processes with Sibanye, Harmony Gold and Village Main Reef under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).  On Monday, Amcu, Solidarity and Uasa signed a three-year wage agreement with AngloGold Ashanti, which secured the lowest-paid workers increments of R1,000 a year over three years.  The unions also achieved a 6.5% increase for miners & artisans and for officials.  The National Union of Mineworkers is no longer part of conciliation processes as it declared a dispute with the gold producers.

This short report is at Business Report

Seven ‘zama-zamas’ nabbed with gold-bearing material in Welkom

ANA reports that seven people have been arrested for possessing gold-bearing material such as gas bottles, scales, gold and platinum testers, cutting torches, plastic basins, gold burning pots, and “scandunga” in the mining town of Welkom in the Free State.  Welkom cluster commander Major-General Lerato Molale said police on Tuesday went to a house in Riebeeckstad where a 42-year-old suspect was apprehended.  In a continued police operation aimed at clamping down on illicit mining in the area by so-called “zama-zamas”, five suspects were also arrested for being in possession of gold-bearing material at another house in Dagbreek, while a 36-year-old was picked up at a residence in Thabong.  Molale said all suspects, whose ages ranged from 29 to 45, would soon appear in the Welkom Magistrate’s Court.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Striking taxi bosses given a dressing down by Eastern Cape ANC chair

Daily Dispatch reports that striking Eastern Cape taxi bosses‚ who caused a fear-driven mass stay-away and economic stoppages across the province on Wednesday‚ were given a dressing down by provincial ANC chair Oscar Mabuyane.  In a “friendly warning”‚ he told the 250 singing and dancing taxi operators at Calata House in King William’s Town that their disruptive actions‚ which caused the Mercedes-Benz East London plant to shut its doors for the day‚ could have catastrophic effects on the local economy.  Provincial police said 14 people were arrested for public violence‚ attempted murder and damage to essential structures.  A handful of taxis were confiscated.  Schools closed‚ or parents kept children at home and thousands of workers had no way of getting to work.  Traffic on the roads was dramatically down.  Mabuyane‚ speaking after accepting the taximen’s memorandum‚ said:  “Today’s actions‚ which resulted in MBSA and other businesses being unable to meet their targets and deliver to their clients‚ may have detrimental effects.  When MBSA lays off workers and sends them back to Mdantsane three or four years down the line‚ some will forget that it emanated from this protest today.”

Read this report in full at Timeslive. Read too, Fourteen taxi drivers arrested after Eastern Cape strike turned violent, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Sasol and Solidarity to meet again on 3 October, no deal made to end strike, at Business Report


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

President Ramaphosa to unveil economic stimulus package on Friday

BusinessLive reports that Cabinet has adopted the stimulus package intended to ignite an economic recovery.  President Cyril Ramaphosa will hold a media briefing on Friday to provide details of the stimulus package, which has been constructed from the contributions of various departments.  He will also provide details of the mining charter adopted by cabinet.  The government will need R43bn to fund, among other things, the stimulus package, according to sources familiar with discussions around the package at a recent cabinet lekgotla.  No further detail has yet been made available, but the package would apparently be based on “existing budgetary resources and the pursuit of new investments while remaining committed to fiscal prudence”.  Cabinet has also approved the mining charter as part of this package, which covers manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure development and easing the cost of doing business.

Read this report by Linda Ensor in full at BusinessLive


RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Labour Court rules Infinity Media Networks, which ran ANN7, must reinstate employees

Fin24 reports that the Johannesburg Labour Court ruled on Thursday that Infinity Media Networks, which ran the Afro Worldview news channel (previously known as ANN7), must reinstate employees because they were not properly dismissed.  The news channel shut down in mid-August after its contract was terminated by pay TV operator MultiChoice.  The court ruled that Infinity Media must reinstate employees who were fired with immediate effect.  It found that Infinity Media had breached sections 189 and 189A of the Labour Relations Act by failing to conduct retrenchment consultations.  The case was brought by the Communications Workers Union (CWU).  The lawyer for the former Afro Worldview employees Tasso Anestidis commented:  “We are elated with the court order and the judgement.  It is a great order and we are looking to enforce it.”  The order does not apply to the second respondent in the case, namely Afrotone Media Holdings.  Mzwanele Manyi, chair of Afrotone Media Holdings, told Fin24 after the ruling was handed down that he did not discuss staff matters with the media.

Read this report by Khulekani Magubane in full at Fin24


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

Move by GEPF of 20% of its funds offshore, could be more devastating than credit downgrade

BusinessLive reports that investment analysts said on Tuesday that the Government Employees Pension Fund’s (GEPF’s) plan to move some of its investments offshore was warranted.  But, it could impose additional strain on the rand and trigger more economic woes for the country.  Rowan Burger of Momentum Investments said the fund could get better returns from increased offshore exposure in the short to medium term, which was in line with its fiduciary duty to optimise returns for its members.  But, chief economist at Econometrix, Azar Jammine, said a sudden outflow of just a little of GEPF’s funds could be more devastating than even the impact of a credit downgrade.  "A Moody’s downgrade can trigger about R100bn to R150bn of capital outflows … if the GEPF moved just 20% of its funds offshore, we’d be looking at about R400bn in outflows," he stated.  With only 10% of the GEPF’s funds allowed for investment offshore, public servants have been distinctly disadvantaged compared to workers in the private sector, whose pension funds are allowed to invest up to 30% abroad, Jammine noted.  The GEPF, which manages more than R2-trillion of public servants’ retirement savings, said last week its plans for shifting some investments offshore were gaining traction.

Read this report by Londiwe Buthelezi in full at BusinessLive


WORKPLACE ABUSE / WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Manana not off the hook over alleged assault of domestic worker

SowetanLive reports that former deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana is not yet out of the woods as police have now confirmed that they are still investigating the case of assault opened by his domestic worker.  On Wednesday, police Gauteng provincial spokesperson colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that the case was still active and being investigated.  “Once the investigation has been finalised it will be handed to the authorities that make decisions whether to prosecute or not," Dlamini said.  This comes after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) withdrew charges against Manana on 23 July on the basis that there was "no reasonable prospects for successful prosecution".  On 6 May, Manana's domestic worker Christine Wiro opened a common assault and crimen injuria case at the Douglasdale police station.  She accused Manana of pushing her during a heated argument at his home in Fourways, and also accused him of threatening her with deportation.  After the story broke, Wiro tried to withdraw the case because she was afraid, but the NPA refused and instructed the police to continue investigating the matter.  Manana has denied the allegations.

Read this report by Penwell Dlamini in full at SowetanLive


OTHER REPORTS

ConCourt dagga ruling to give employers a headache

The Star writes that workplace substance abuse policies are set for a major shakeup following the Constitutional Court’s (ConCourt’s) landmark ruling decriminalising use of dagga in private spaces.  Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday delivered a judgment that declared unconstitutional the laws that allowed police to arrest adults found in possession of dagga in their homes or luggage.  The ruling also barred police from arresting adults for possession of dagga in public spaces and vehicles, so long as they could prove they were not going to sell it.  But the judgment threw employers a curveball, said Rudy Maritz, a safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) legal advisor.  He observed:  “Employers may now face some challenges from cannabis-consuming employees and it’s imperative that the correct message is conveyed from the outset.  What do you do when an employee comes to work with cannabis in his or her pocket or handbag?  It is in private.  It is thus not illegal.  In my opinion, employers need to re-evaluate their alcohol and drug abuse policies.  From there, an assessment can be made as to the extent of controls needed.”  The health department, which was one of four departments hoping that the court would maintain the outright ban, argued before the Bench that dagga was a serious health hazard.  The court gave Parliament 24 months to repeal laws that empowered police to arrest adults using dagga privately.

Read this report by Bongani Nkosi in full at The Star

 


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