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, 4 October 2018.


Widespread cynicism that jobs summit will be just another talk-shop

Financial Mail reports that there is widespread cynicism about how much the presidential jobs summit this week will help SA’s unemployment crisis.  The meeting on Thursday and Friday will bring together business, labour and the government to discuss "collaborative and high-impact interventions to drive job creation, job retention and economic growth”.  Understandably, analysts and economists have adopted a wait-and-see approach, questioning the timing of the summit and asking what previous such gatherings have achieved.  The summit has been a long time in the making.  It was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in February, although trade union federation Cosatu has been calling for such a gathering since 2009.  It now comes just a few months before next year’s elections, when the ANC will need Cosatu’s support to clinch victory.  Labour consultant Tony Healy says the politics around the elections will weigh heavily on the summit and could militate against the necessary decisions being made.  Ann Bernstein of the Centre for Development & Enterprise (CDE) said the summit would be a "wasted opportunity" if it did not deal with the key structural constraints on employment, including rigid labour laws.  But, Cosatu and other labour federations have already declared they won’t entertain talk of legislative reform.  Meantime, Cosatu’s biggest affiliate, Nehawu, has accused the government and business of not being committed to the process.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Business and NGO leaders warn summit on jobs is being ‘stage-managed’, at BusinessLive

Jobs Summit must address ‘job-destroying’ laws, says Institute of Race Relations

ANA reports that the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) said on Thursday that the two-day jobs summit should address “job-destroying” policies such as the government’s plans to amend the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.  President Cyril Ramaphosa has convened the summit as SA grapples with stubbornly high unemployment, currently at 27.2% of the labour force.  IRR analyst Terence Corrigan said:  “Job creation requires economic growth but growth requires investment.  South Africa is not going to attract much by way of foreign or domestic fixed investment as long as the uncertainty lingers that the state may have the power to seize property without paying for it.  In this respect, far from helping to empower people, the current expropriation debate is having the opposite effect.”  Corrigan also urged the government to abandon legislation setting a minimum wage and to ease hiring and firing laws.  The IRR noted that SA’s unemployment rate far outpaced that of its partners in the BRICS grouping, with joblessness officially sitting at 13.1% in Brazil, 4.7% in Russia, 3.5% in India, and 3.9% in China.

Read this report in full at The Citizen

Businesses expected to agree at Jobs Summit to reporting on pay ratios

Fin24 reports that the Jobs Summit, which kicked off on Thursday, is set to agree to a mechanism which will see businesses that employ more than 50 people reporting on pay ratios in their Annual Financial Statements.  According to Business Unity SA (Busa), the reporting will at first be voluntary, then move to mandatory.  It is expected to open the way for improved data and analysis on salaries as well "excessive pay disparities".  Businesses are already required to report income differentials under the Employment Equity Act, but Busa CEO Tanya Cohen said the scope of the data has been limited so far, and there has been no mechanism for companies to benchmark themselves according to their industry or size.  The reporting of pay scales is just one of the 25 agreements expected to be signed at the summit, convened by Nedlac, in a bid to bring government, business, labour and community together to try to tackle the rising unemployment rate.  Cohen indicated that 190 proposals had been made by the various constituencies, and those had have been whittled down to 25 actionable programmes.  Busa Vice-President Martin Kingston said the summit should be seen as process, not an event, and that the difficult economic climate meant the country needed to not only create new jobs but also to stop the large scale retrenchments currently underway.

Read this report by Tehillah Niselow in full at Fin24. Read too, Jobs summit ‘is the start of a process, not an event’, says Busa, at Business Report

Quotes from economists and analysts about the Jobs Summit

BusinessLive reports that government, business and labour convened on Thursday for a two-day summit to focus on the unemployment crisis, amid criticism that this will be another talk shop.  This report quotes what five analysts and economists have said about the summit.  Here are extracts from the quotes.  Well-known labour lawyer Rod Harper:  “The summit is important in relation to clarifying issues that must be dealt with.  Issues won’t be resolved if the parties adopt ideological rather than practical solutions.  There should be deregulation in relation to small employers…”  Labour analyst Mamokgethi Molopyane:  “I want to hear how they plan to deal with youth unemployment.  Government does not have a plan on how to handle youth unemployment.”  Ann Bernstein of the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE):  We need to change the approach to collective bargaining so that work seekers and smaller firms are not priced out of the market; reduce the cost of employing young people, especially in comparison to older, more experienced workers; and reduce subsidies being paid to firms that are capital and skill intensive.”  Ann Bernstein (again):  “Unless we see meaningful structural removal of structural impediments to employment, well intended talk shops will be as successful as the National Development Plan.”  Economist Duma Gqubule of the Centre for Economic Development and Transformation:  This time as well (as in 2004), in his speech, the president said whatever is going to happen will happen within the current budgetary framework, so it means it nullifies anything that comes out of the summit.”

Read the quotes brought together by Theto Mahlakoana at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Jobs Summit kicks off in Johannesburg on Thursday, at The Citizen
  • Editorial: Jobs summit no panacea without reform, at BusinessLive
  • Will the Jobs Summit deliver? at Moneyweb
  • Nedlac hopeful two-day job summit will yield positive results, at EWN


Amcu’s Mathunjwa calls on government to implement more socialist policies to retain jobs

Mining Weekly reports that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa told the Joburg Indaba on Thursday that SA should transition from a constitutional democracy to a “social democracy” and implement more socialist policies to retain jobs in the mining sector.  He further suggested that government should revoke the licences of mines that were on care and maintenance and transfer those rights to junior mining companies, thereby creating or retaining jobs.  Another suggestion was that government should cap executive salaries so that more value was spread to the workers.  In his view, some of the annual salaries earned by mining CEOs were “obscene”, especially in light of the country’s economic environment.  Mathunjwa argued that upskilling and reskilling of workers should be a greater priority for mining companies, because mining was not sustainable, although the industries, specifically manufacturing, that were built on beneficiation, could be.  Mathunjwa told delegates that he did not approve of the recently gazetted Mining Charter 3, stating that it was introduced as a balm for companies that have yet to leave SA.  He reiterated Amcu’s determination that a “decent minimum wage” was R12 500.

Read this report in full at Mining Weekly

Postings on mining charter / transformation

  • Finally, some certainty for SA’s minerals sector, at BusinessLive
  • No BEE targets for exploration, says Gwede Mantashe, at BusinessLive


SA call centres set for a big jobs windfall from Brexit

Reuters reports that SA’s burgeoning call-services sector, which gets more than half its work from Britain, could attract larger inflows as the effect of Brexit weighs and UK companies seek savings by moving operations offshore.  Cultural affinity, good English language skills and similar time zones helped spur the sector seeking to compete with India and the Philippines in a global industry worth $89bn in 2017.  "When there is uncertainty, the outsourcing industry blooms.  Obviously there is huge uncertainty around Brexit and that provides outsourcing opportunities ... to countries such as SA," said Kerry Hallard of the London-based Global Sourcing Association.  SA’s global services market grew about 22% a year over the past four years, twice the global industry growth rate.  Supported by a government incentive scheme that pays investors for each job created, the sector now employs about 40,000 people.  Brandon Aitken, chief commercial officer in SA for Webhelp, a BPO firm that employs 35,000 people in more than 25 countries, said it would welcome at least two new UK brands in 2019.  Operational costs could be up to 60% lower than those in Britain and Australia, said researchers.

Read this report by Wendell Roelf in full at BusinessLive


Finance chief quits Alexander Forbes, just eight days after CEO was fired

BusinessLive reports that another top Alexander Forbes executive has resigned, just eight days after CEO Andrew Darfoor was fired.   SA’s largest pension fund administrator said Naidene Ford-Hoon would leave her role as CFO and director on 31 December.  Ford-Hoon had been with Alexander Forbes a little more than a year and worked closely with Darfoor.  Alexander Forbes said its board had already activated a succession plan for the replacement of Ford-Hoon, suggesting that another quick replacement might be in sight.  The company replaced Darfoor just six days after firing him.  Karl Gevers of Benguela Global Fund Managers said that as the CFO worked closely with the CEO, it was highly likely the axing of Darfoor was the main reason for Ford-Hoon’s resignation.  Jean Pierre Verster of Fairtree Capital said it was a bit concerning that the CFO had resigned after little more than a year in the role.  He noted that there had been a lot of change in a short while.  Former Sanlam executive Dawie de Villiers was appointed new CEO on Monday.

Read this report by Londiwe Buthelezi in full at BusinessLive.  Read too, Sanlam’s Dawie to the rescue at Alexander Forbes, at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


Insurer Liberty insists its organisational redesign is not about job cuts

BusinessLive reports that Liberty, SA’s third-largest life insurer, has been talking to staff amid concern that its "organisational redesign" would result in hundreds of job losses.  The company said it had begun formal consultations with its staff, but it was too early to determine the effect on jobs.  "We are unable to provide details around job implications at this stage as we are currently engaged in a consultation process and the new organisational design process has not been completed.  Our intent regarding this process is to realign our focus and improve the way we work and not about job cuts," the company indicated.  Liberty added that the process was "not a retrenchment drive.”  Moneyweb has reckoned that more than 800 jobs could be lost.  The company, which is 54% owned by Standard Bank, is in the middle of a turnaround strategy, launched in 2017 after the appointment of David Munro as CEO.  The organisational refresh would affect only SA operations.  Employee sessions began three weeks ago.  They will be followed by one-on-one consultations.

Read this report by Londiwe Buthelezi in full at BusinessLive

Cape legislature says no jobs will go in cost-cutting drive, notwithstanding PwC recommendation

Cape Argus reports that no jobs will be lost at the Western Cape Legislature, although a draft enhancement project plan recommends that at least 38 permanent jobs should go.  Legislature secretary Gilbert Lawrence indicated that the process was a three-phased process and that consultations were still ongoing with senior managers and staff.  A report by auditors PwC in July last year, entitled the Functional Enhancement Project, set out measures to streamline processes and save on staff costs with cuts.  Lawrence said they never asked PwC for a renewed staff structure.  “We went to PwC to ask for systems to enhance our processes.  We will take this report and make our determination.  This is not a definitive document,” he indicated.  Lawrence added that the unions and staff were briefed on several aspects of the report and that they had made submissions which were still being considered.  “We will continue to take the process forward but no one is going to lose his or her job,” he reiterated.

Read this report by Jason Felix in full at Cape Argus


Basic education department dismisses claims of teachers leaving SA ‘in droves’

The Citizen reports that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has dismissed media reports claiming that teachers were leaving the public education system in droves.  “We are not sure where the narrative that our teachers are leaving the public education system en-mass is coming from, this is simply not true.  As our data indicates, we are retaining more teachers in the public system and our supply of teachers has tripled over the past few years.  We do not anticipate that we will experience a crisis at any point,” said DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga.  The department added that, contrary to the claims, it had actually seen an increase in the number of teachers remaining in the public education system.  “Looking at five financial years up to the end of March 2017, it shows that attrition due to resignation decreased drastically between financial years 2015/16 and 2016/17 from 8,619 to 5,211.  Overall, attrition due to resignation of teachers leaving the system accounts for about 1.9% of all educators,” said Mhlanga.  There are approximately 410,000 teachers in the public education system placed at 25,000 schools across the country, with responsibility for educating 12.9 million learners.

Read this CNS report in full at The Citizen


Eskom suspends senior manager pending investigations into internal audit reports

Fin24 reports that Eskom announced on Thursday that it had placed its Senior General Manager of Assurance and Forensics, Molefi Nkhabu, on a precautionary suspension.  The power utility said this was pending an investigation into circumstances surrounding internal audit investigation reports related to transactions that he signed off on.  The reports contain “inferences or conclusions which had the effect of exonerating certain previous Eskom executives implicated in maladministration”.  The company did not say which previous executives it was referring to, or when the investigation into Nkhabu would start.  “The Eskom executive management, whilst espousing the principle of the presumption of innocence, due to the seniority of Mr Nkhabu and the seriousness of the allegations made against him, took a decision that it would be better for him to be suspended until the investigation is finalised,” the group indicated in a statement.

A short report is at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Moyane approaches ConCourt to have SARS disciplinary hearing postponed, at EWN


DA wants government to hand over authority for Metrorail to municipalities in Western Cape

The Citizen reports that the recently announced Western Cape premier candidate for the Democratic Alliance (DA), Alan Winde, has vowed to continue to put pressure on the national government to hand over the authority for Metrorail to municipalities in the Western Cape so that they could effectively manage the daily operation of the region’s trains.  According to Winde, Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande has refused to acknowledge that there was a crisis with Metrorail.  “While he is turning a blind eye, commuters are struggling to live, learn, and work,” Winde indicated in a statement.  It is the DA’s view that the proper working of the Western Cape’s trains was crucial to the people in the province and needed urgent attention. Winde added that this had become even more of a priority with yet another fuel hike on Tuesday at midnight. “It is a death blow to the pockets of many people across our country. This hike is yet another way that the failing ANC-led national government is keeping people away from economic opportunities,” stated Winde.

Read this report by Kaunda Selisho in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Meet targets or forfeit fares‚ activists tell Metrorail in Cape Town, at Timeslive


Online job scammers target social media accounts of eThekwini municipal staff

Daily News reports that the eThekwini Municipality has warned its own staff members not to post pictures of themselves on social media platforms wearing their work uniforms, while job seekers have been urged to disregard any advertisements on such platforms advertised by third parties on behalf of the municipality.  In an internal memo sent to staff of all the municipal departments, including the emergency services, management said pictures were being used of employees with uniforms by job scammers.  "Your pictures are being targeted by scammers posing as Municipal employees on social media on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp) to name a few," the warning to staff indicated.  The City’s Facebook page reminded the public that the municipality would never ask a person to deposit cash into an account in exchange for jobs.  "There is no sum of money that should be paid by job seekers in order to secure employment.  It is crime to pay for any employment." the message stated.

Read this report by Zainul Dawood in full at Daily News


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page