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 roundup of weekend news, see
summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that appeared since
Friday, 5 October 2018.


TOP STORY – JOBS SUMMIT

Jobs Summit deal to create 275,000 jobs a year, presidential implementation forum created

BusinessLive reports that a deal between the government, labour and business struck at the Jobs Summit on Thursday fell short of agreeing to a moratorium on job losses, but could see the creation of another 275,000 jobs a year.  The framework agreement contains about 80 pages of detailed interventions, some of which are new and others already announced or repackaged.  Addressing the summit, President Cyril Ramaphosa called for a new approach to growth and development, informed by a collective understanding of all social partners.  He announced that he would meet every three months with business and labour in a presidential committee to monitor the implementation of plans and the unemployment crisis.  The forum is considered by all parties to be a major achievement of the summit.  A key point of contention during the negotiations between the social partners was how to deal with job losses, with labour demanding a moratorium in both the private and public sectors.  The final agreement commits government to an undertaking that “there will be no retrenchments in the public sector”.  Business agreed “that everything possible must be done to avoid retrenchments” and that alternatives to retrenchment should be followed.  The agreement does not use the word “moratorium”.  Public service & administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo said that while there would be no retrenchments in the public sector, early retirement was still on the table.  The filling of critical vacancies would “obviously increase the headcount”, but would in the main be done through redeployment of individuals to where they were needed.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana & Carol Paton in full at BusinessLive

Jobs Summit produced over 70 strategies to deal with unemployment crisis

BusinessLive reports that according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the outcomes of the two-day jobs summit that ended on Friday were building blocks for the upcoming investment summit to be held in two weeks with the aim of raising R1.3-trillion in five years.  He said investors had been eager to see what would emerge from the gathering that produced more than 70 interventions to deal with SA’s unemployment crisis.  Government, business, labour and community constituencies signed an agreement on Thursday, paving the way for initiatives meant to boost the economy and create jobs.  The new interventions that form part of the 80-page agreement include: a commitment by large corporations and government to buy local products; a more aggressive approach to increasing exports; interventions in agricultural value chains, especially fruit, grain and livestock; and support for small and medium enterprises.  Other interventions that have been under way for some time in sectors such as automotive, furniture, and metals and machinery, as well as already announced financing initiatives for black industrialists and farmers and agribusiness, are included in the agreement.  The Employment Tax Incentive scheme, which provides employers with tax breaks for hiring first-time, low-paid youth, will be extended for another 10 years.

Read this report by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Jobs Summit lays foundation for revival of ailing SA economy, at The Citizen

Cosatu disappointed business didn’t commit at Jobs Summit to freeze on job cuts

EWN reports that labour federation Cosatu says that while it’s satisfied with many of the outcomes of the Jobs Summit, it's disappointed that the business sector couldn't commit to a freeze on job losses.  The two-day summit concluded in Midrand on Friday with President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing plans to create over 270,000 jobs annually and to reduce unemployment from 27% to 6% by 2030.  Cosatu’s Bheki Ntshalintshali commented that the labour movement was satisfied that government won’t be retrenching workers and instead announced the number of critical vacancies it wanted to fill.  But he said they would have loved for business to have made the same commitment.  “We are not satisfied with that one,” he indicated.  However, Ntshalintshali added that Cosatu was satisfied that the business sector had promised to do everything in its power to avoid retrenchments.

This short report by Clement Manyathela is at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Government’s grand jobs plan, at City Press
  • Opinion: Summit was about votes not jobs, at IOL News
  • The Jobs Summit – how about Vat? at Moneyweb


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Death threat that she will be dead by today hangs over Richmond municipal manager

Sunday Tribune reports that Bongiwe Mnikathi was upbeat when she was appointed municipal manager at Richmond Municipality, but, more than a year later, she now fears for her life.  Mnikathi claims she was told via SMS that she would be dead by Monday (today).  “My life has been turned into a nightmare.  Knowing Richmond for its violence, I cannot take this threat lightly,” she said.  The threat came via texts on her phone on Friday before last.  Her predecessor Sibusiso Sithole was gunned down in March last year.  “I never thought that I would ever do a countdown to the date of my death.  It’s been a painful week for me.  But I will stand strong,” she said.  Mnikathi said she believed the threat stemmed from a R10-million tender which was advertised while she was on suspension in August.  She was suspended over allegations that she spent R20,000 on alcohol, using the municipality’s credit card - a claim she has rejected and taken to court.  After returning from her suspension, Mnikathi questioned the authority of the person who signed off the tender to tar roads in ward 6 in Richmond.  Despite the threat, Mnikathi has been to work.  She has since beefed up her security detail, which she is paying from her own pocket.

Read this report by Lungani Zungu in full at Sunday Tribune

Parliament commits to independent probe of circumstances surrounding official’s suicide

News24 reports that parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement on Saturday that an independent inquiry into the suicide of a parliamentary official would be instituted.  Section manager for policy in the international and protocol division of parliament, Lennox Garane, committed suicide in his office on 14 September.  During a visit to Garane’s family, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Thandi Modise made a commitment to ensure that the circumstances surrounding Garane’s death would be investigated.  "The probe should, amongst others, assist both the family and Parliament in finding closure and ensuring that appropriate mechanisms are put in place to avert recurrence of such a tragedy," Mothapo stated.  The details of the inquiry will be announced once the process of appointing an independent investigator and the terms of reference are finalised.  A police officer faces disciplinary proceedings for allowing Garane into the parliamentary building without screening on the day of his death.

Read this report by Christina Pitt in full at News24


MINING LABOUR

Village Main Reef concludes three-year wage agreement with NUM, Solidarity and Uasa

The Minerals Council SA (MCSA – previously called the Chamber of Mines) advised on Friday that Village Main Reef had concluded a wage agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and Uasa.  The three-year agreement will run until 30 June 2021.  The three unions represent 76% of employees within the bargaining unit of around 6,400 employees.  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is still considering the offer.  The agreement will see increases to the basic wages of so-called ‘Category 4-8’ employees of R575 in each of the next three years.   For underground entry level employees, this will be a 7% increase in the first year.  Miners, Artisans and Officials will receive increases of 4.25% in the first year, and increases equal to the CPI in each of the following two years.  In addition to the basic wage, the parties agreed to an increase in the Living-out Allowance for Kopanang employees amounting to R100 in September 2018, and R50 in each of the two subsequent years, taking the total to R2,300.  Those at Village’s Tau Lekoa mine already receive that amount.  A number of non-wage items were also agreed upon.  Wage negotiations in respect of Sibanye-Stillwater with Amcu, the NUM, Uasa and Solidarity are continuing under the auspices of the CCMA.  Agreements covering AngloGold Ashanti and Harmony were reached previously.

Read the MCSA’s press statement at Gold Wage Negotiations

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Capacitate communities to facilitate more meaningful engagements, Joburg Indaba panel hears, at Mining Weekly

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Greater beneficiation in South Africa not feasible yet, at Mining Weekly
  • International investment in South Africa’s mining industry lagging, at Mining Weekly
  • RandGold CEO resigns from conservation group after trophy hunting scandal, at News24
  • Minerals Council urges mines to testify on ex-mines minister Zwane’s role, at BusinessLive


PROTESTS / MARCHES / CAMPAIGNS

Hospersa members threaten shutdown of KZN public health services

GroundUp reports that members of the Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) have threatened a total shutdown of public health services if their demands are not met by the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) department of health within 14 days.  KZN community care givers (CCGs), data captures and nurses marched to the office of the premier in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.  Hospersa provincial secretary Popson Kunene said that a resolution had been signed with the employer at a national level for the employees to get backpay from 1 July, but it has not happened.  “The employees have not been paid.  With the CCGs they are earning peanuts.  They are currently being paid R1,950.  The department is now singing a different tune.  They say they were not aware of the agreement … The agreement was that they must implement the R3,500 for the CCG’s.  There is a letter that is dated 1 July,” said Kunene.  A memorandum of demands was accepted by the chief of staff in the office of the premier, who said they would revert to the union within 14 days.

Read this report by Nompendulo Ngubane in full at GroundUp

Community healthcare workers march in Cape Town claiming underpayment

GroundUp reports that dozens of community healthcare workers marched to the Western Cape Department of Health in the Cape Town CBD on Thursday demanding higher salaries.  In a memorandum handed over to the department, the community care workers noted that the national health department had signed an agreement in June 2017 to standardise their salaries and that these would be increased to R3,500.  They claimed the non-governmental organisations that employed them currently underpaid as they received a monthly stipend of only R2,000.  A protestor said the agreement was meant to have been implemented in April.  National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers Union (Nupsaw) provincial organiser Zama Sonjica said community healthcare workers were being exploited by NGOs.  “To avoid exploitation of the health workers, the department must take on the responsibility of paying them.  The long-term goal of the union is to push for the workers to get the same benefits as civil servants,” he stated.  A spokesperson for the Western Cape health minister received the memorandum and undertook to respond within a week.

Read this report by Vincent Lali in full at GroundUp


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Unbundling, sale of Eskom core assets could be on cards, but Saftu vows to fight to ‘last drop of blood’

The Sunday Independent writes that plans to privatise Eskom emerged after senior executives met last week at a closed executive forum, “Eskom cannot save itself”.  Last week, the power utility confirmed that it was working on a new corporate plan that would assess “if any assets will be sold”.  The state-owned entity (SOE) is R390-billion in debt.  Eskom’s Khulu Phasiwe confirmed a new corporate plan would provide guidance on the structure of Eskom and its role in the renewable energy space.  He explained that the plan would address issues such as the utility’s staff complement and “if any assets will be sold”.  “It’s important to note that staff reductions have not been raised in all the engagements that Eskom had with the trade unions.  All these matters will be shared and debated with the trade unions first,” said Phasiwe.  Zwelinzima Vavi of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said that selling off Eskom would be a declaration of war against the poor and Saftu would fight this till “the last drop of blood”.  He added:  They are not going to face Saftu alone.  They will face the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, the National Union of Mineworkers and even Solidarity and all other 147 working-class organisations.”  He also said:  “The handing over of power generation to private institutions will be the last nail in the coffin.  Because of the signing of the IPPs, 90,000 people face being thrown into the streets and we can’t have that.”  A senior source within Eskom revealed that a further 15,000 jobs faced the axe to cut costs and reach its sale revenue targets.

Read a summary of this report by Ayanda Mdluli at The Sunday Independent and read the full report on page 1 of The Sunday Independent of 7 October 2018

Eskom denies report that it plans to sell off core assets

EWN reports that Eskom has refuted claims by the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) that it is planning to sell its core assists to avoid bankruptcy.  SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told The Sunday Independent that the federation was aware of plans by the Energy Department to privatise the state-owned power utility in a bid to solve its financial woes.  Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said that, as far as the board and executive of the utility were concerned, there were no plans to sell off the parastatal and he added that only government, as the sole shareholder of the power utility, could make that decision.  “The shareholder would have to make a decision as to how this process is going to happen.  But, what I know for sure is that the government, through the Department of Public Enterprises, has already said many times in Parliament that they have absolutely no plan to sell Eskom,” Phasiwe stated

This short report by Bonga Dlulane is at EWN


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Tom Moyane wins battle to get his Sars disciplinary proceedings postponed

BusinessLive reports that Tom Moyane has delivered the first blow to the presidency in his disciplinary inquiry‚ forcing proceedings to be postponed pending the outcome of a Constitutional Court (ConCourt) application on the legality of the hearing.  The suspended SA Revenue Services (Sars) commissioner came out triumphant on Thursday when advocate Azhar Bham — who chairs the inquiry — found in favour of arguments to postpone or permanently stay the disciplinary proceedings pending the outcome of the ConCourt matter.  In September‚ Moyane’s lawyer‚ Eric Mabuza‚ filed an application to the court objecting to the disciplinary hearing and retired judge Robert Nugent's commission of inquiry into Sars being conducted at the same time.  It is unclear when the ConCourt matter will be heard.  Delivering the judgment‚ Bham said he needed to weigh up the urgency of finalising disciplinary processes against Moyane with Moyane's right to a fair and equal process.  The presidency unsuccessfully argued that granting a stay of the disciplinary inquiry “would amount to barring the employer for an indeterminate but considerable period of time from exercising its right and prerogative to discipline Moyane on charges of extremely serious misconduct.”  Nugent’s commission of inquiry is expected to continue on 15 October.

Read this report by Amil Umraw in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Moyane disciplinary postponement ‘fair, just and practical’, says disciplinary chair, at Fin24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT TO WORK

At least 320 injured in Kempton Park train crash on Thursday, no fatalities

The Citizen reports that Metrorail has put the number of commuters injured during a collision between two passenger trains at Van Riebeeck Park Station near Kempton Park on Thursday evening at more than 320.  Some 32 of the 320 injured commuters suffered serious, but not critical injuries.  The injured commuters were taken for medical attention at various hospitals.  The company said a board of inquiry would be appointed to investigate the crash, which happened when a train rear-ended another which was experiencing problems while standing stationary at the platform of the station.  Commuters slammed Prasa and Metrorail train services on Twitter, saying an accident was bound to happen.  Following the accident, the United National Transport Union (Untu) called on Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to intervene and suspend the services of Metrorail until the rail operator could provide a safe and reliable service.  "Untu warned that passenger trains are death trains and that the situation is life threatening.  The Minister, the Railway Safety Regulator and Prasa ignored us," said Untu spokesperson Sonja Carstens.

Read this report in full at The Citizen. Read too, Number of passengers injured in Kempton Park train crash climbs to over 300, at News24. Read Untu’s press statement at SA Labour News

Prasa’s trains will operate as usual after court action to halt possible safety permit suspension

News24 reports that Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) announced on Sunday that its trains would continue to operate, despite a possible suspension by the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR).  Spokesperson Nana Zenani apologised to commuters for any uncertainty that might have been caused by the announcement of a possible suspension of the safety permit and assured them that there would be no interruption to the train service.  Metrorail and long-distance passenger services would run as normal as a result of an interim court order, she stated.  On Friday, the RSR communicated its intention to revoke Prasa’s safety permit because of a train-to-train collision on Thursday near Van Riebeeck Station in Kempton Park during manual authorisation.  "The decision by the Prasa Board and management to approach the courts was not arrived at lightly.  Prasa sought to engage RSR to reconsider its decision and rather confine the suspension to the corridor when the accident took place," Zenani indicated.  She added that a meeting between Prasa and the RSR, led by Prasa chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama, had not yielded any results.  Thus, Prasa had been forced to proceed with a court application.

Read this report by Christina Pitt in full at News24. Read too, Prasa challenges potential suspension of its operating permit, at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cape Town asks Nzimande to take emergency action as rail shutdown looms, at The Citizen
  • Train activists launch campaign to extend monthly tickets, at GroundUp

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page