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, 23 November 2018.


TOP STORY – NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

President Ramaphosa signs National Minimum Wage Bill and other labour bills into law

BusinessLive reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed in effect the National Minimum Wage Bill.  It is expected to benefit about 6-million workers that currently earn below R3,700 a month when it comes into force on 1 January 2019.  The president enacted four labour bills on Friday following heightened pressure by union federation Cosatu to finalise the legislation, especially the minimum wage bill, which Cosatu considers a victory after campaigning for it for years.  The minimum wage law, which was formulated at Nedlac, has been in the works since 2015, with parties agreeing to set the minimum hourly wage rate of R20 in 2017.  The other three labour bills which were signed were the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, which extends a variety of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits to retrenched workers; the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which will introduce various changes, including parental and adoption leave; and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, which makes way for the establishment of an advisory arbitration panel to deal with long and violent strike action.  Cosatu welcomed the signings.  It also applauded Ramaphosa, describing him as a “champion of the workers”.

Read the full original report by Theto Mahlakoana at BusinessLive. Read too, Trade unions welcome signing of National Minimum Wage into law, at Fin24

Numsa rejects 'poverty' national minimum wage of R20 per hour

ANA reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has rejected the signing into law of the National Minimum Wage Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa.  The union’s spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said on Saturday: "The minimum wage bill will legalise the poverty wage of R20 per hour.  This is an insult to the working class who fought and died to defeat the apartheid government.  It is a fact that South Africa is one of the global leaders in the gap between CEO’s and ordinary workers.  CEO’s in South Africa are paid obscene amounts of money, while the workers, who create the wealth, earn peanuts."  She went on to say:  "It is shameful that in this so-called democratic South Africa more than six million people earn less than this insignificant amount.  This is an indictment against the ANC government for failing to promote an agenda to genuinely improve and transform the lives of the working class."

Read the full original report at IOL News


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Hunt for ex-pupils after high school teacher kidnapped, gang raped

News24 reports that a Limpopo teacher who was kidnapped and gang raped – allegedly by a group including two of her former pupils – has been found dumped and tied up on the side of a road outside Mokopane.  Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed a “massive manhunt” has been launched to find the suspects involved in the attack on the 28-year-old woman, who teaches at a high school near Marken in the outskirts of Lephalale.  The attackers allegedly broke into her home on Friday while she was asleep.  She was tied up and loaded into the boot of her car.  After police were alerted, a search ensued.  Ngoepe indicated:  “Preliminary investigations have since revealed that two of the suspects involved in this chain of crime incidents are well known to the victim as she previously taught them at the same school.  They are also [living] in this village.”  Cases of burglary, kidnapping and rape are under investigation.

Read the full original report by Tammy Petersen at News24

Reward of R100,000 offered for help in nabbing gang of robbers targeting Limpopo hospitals

News24 reports that a reward of up to R100,000 has been offered by police for information that would help to apprehend a gang that shot and robbed a number of doctors at two Limpopo hospitals.  In the most recent incident, seven robbers went to the Lebowakgomo Hospital on Saturday at approximately midnight and "broke into the doctors' residence and robbed them of money, cellphones and a laptop".  Previously, in the early hours of Thursday morning, three doctors at Letaba Hospital in Tzaneen were attacked by a group of five men.  According to police, one was shot and injured and another struck with a hard object, but the provincial department of health previously advised that all three had been shot.  The doctors were also robbed of money, cellphones, televisions and laptops.  The suspects gained entry in both cases by breaking concrete fencing surrounding the doctors' residences on the hospital property.  In a separate incident, a robber, who had committed a business robbery at the Manganeng Clinic in Ga-Sekhukhune on Saturday, was shot and killed by the police during a car chase.  Another suspect, involved in the same case, was arrested on Sunday afternoon.

Read the full original of this report at News24. Read too, Doctors shot in armed robbery are doing well, says Limpopo Health MEC, at 702

Electrician dies while repairing security light on grain silo

News24 reports that a man in his 20s died on a farm in the Vergezocht area outside Bloemfontein on Thursday while repairing a faulty security light.  According to Trauma Response Africa spokesperson Stanley Schimper, the electrician had climbed on to a grain silo tower to repair the light.  Schimper indicated:  "The owner of the farm passed by and saw the lifeless body of the man lying on the tower and alerted emergency services who responded to the scene.  On arrival the man was examined, but it was found that he had already passed away and that there was nothing more that could be done to save him."  Members of the Mangaung Fire and Rescue Services, assisted by members of the Free State College of Emergency care and Trauma Response Africa, set up a high-angle rope-rescue system and lowered the body of the man to the ground from the 20m-high tower in a recovery effort that continued well into the night.  The cause of the man’s death is not yet known and is being investigated by the SAPS.

Read the short original report by Riaan Grobler at News24


MINING LABOUR

Sibanye-Stillwater granted interdict against Amcu and NUM

Mining Weekly reports that the Labour Court has approved an interdict applied for by Sibanye-Stillwater against the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).  It prevents the unions and their members from, among other things, committing acts of violence, harassment and/or intimidation and stopping any other employees from going to work.  The interdict will ensure that nonstriking employees must be allowed to exercise their right to work, in the same way as we have respected Amcu’s right to strike, CEO Neal Froneman commented.  In a statement on Friday, the company reported that night shifts had been suspended for the duration of the strike in order to ensure the safety of employees.  Day shifts would, meanwhile, start a few hours later, so that employees who wished to report for work, did not have to travel in the dark.  On Friday, Sibanye reported that, apart from isolated incidents at its Beatrix operations in the Free State, the strike action by Amcu members at its gold operations over the previous 12 hours had been more peaceful, with less violence.  The strike to protest for higher wages is taking place despite a settlement signed by the company with the NUM, Solidarity and Uasa.

Read the full original of this report at Mining Weekly. Violence and death mar Amcu’s strike at Sibanye, at BusinessLive

Atmosphere ‘tense’ but violence levels lowered at Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines

Miningmx reports that relative calm has been established at the gold mines of Sibanye-Stillwater (Sibanye) where a strike was called by the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (Amcu) on 21 November.  The company said in a statement on Friday that the atmosphere on the mine was “tense”, but that there had been “a noticeable reduction in levels [of] violence and intimidation, and an increase in the number of employees reporting for work”.  This was after the company secured an interdict against Amcu, which endeavoured to allow non-striking workers to turn up for work without facing violence and intimidation.  An employee was killed and others were injured in a protest at the producer’s Beatrix mine in the Free State on the first night of strike activity.  The company subsequently suspended night shifts, but said it would press ahead with day shifts provided there was a reasonable turnout of staff.  Sibanye also said it had spoken to the unions – including the National Union of Mineworkers – regarding a peace pact which would “formally commit all parties to taking specific actions to maintain peace and stability at Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations”.  The strike comes after Amcu refused to sign a three-year wage agreement, even though it was instrumental in constructing it.  Joseph Mathunjwa, Amcu president, said at a press conference on 21 November that he intended to widen the strike.

Read the full original report by David McKay at Miningmx

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Exxaro’s Nombasa Tsengwa treads unusual path from botany to coal mining, at Miningmx
  • Failing to employ women runs skills and image risk for world mining, at Miningmx

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Historic Xolobeni ruling will change the face of mineral regulation, at BusinessLive
  • Xolobeni ruling could hurt investment, say experts, at BusinessLive


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / GO-SLOWS

Situation ‘getting worse’ in KZN mortuaries due to go-slow

The Witness reported on Friday that the situation at government mortuaries in Pietermaritzburg and Durban was getting worse as a result of a go-slow on the part of workers.  The provincial health department was apparently engaged in talks with striking mortuary workers to resolve the situation.  A senior official in the department’s pathology services unit said:  “In some mortuaries families have been waiting for more than two weeks for the release of the bodies of their loved ones.  A solution has to be found as soon as possible as the current situation can’t be allowed to continue.”  He claimed that there was a backlog of 28 bodies at the Fort Napier Medico-Legal Mortuary.  Pietermaritzburg’s Fort Napier Medico-Legal Mortuary and Durban’s Gale Street mortuary were also affected.  The workers have been embroiled in a protracted dispute with the department over salaries and working conditions in general.  Democratic Alliance provincial spokesperson on health, Imran Keeka, said the impact of the mortuary strike was now being felt in hospitals and clinics across the province.  “What the employees are striking over are old issues which the MEC should have resolved several years ago,” he observed.

Read the full report by Clive Ndou at News24


ECONOMIC POLICY / INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Cabinet approves extension of motor industry support programme to 2035

Engineering News reports that Cabinet announced on Thursday that it had approved the extension of the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) from 2021 to 2035.  The government support programme for the domestic vehicle manufacturing industry was originally scheduled to come to an end in 2020.  The extension of the APDP was approved "with amendments to support the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM)".  SAAM is the newly developed strategic plan for the long-term development of the SA automotive industry, and the APDP will now operate within the framework of this masterplan.  SAAM focuses on six areas, namely local market optimisation; regional market development; localisation; infrastructure development; industry transformation; and technology and associated skills development.  National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa director Nico Vermeulen welcomed the extension of the APDP.

Read the full original report at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • KZN agriculture and tourism sectors take a hit from persistent drought, at Business Report


JOBS

Zuma's sacking of Nene in 2015 cost SA 148,000 jobs, 1% of GDP

News24Wire reports that Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane on Friday told the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture that when Nhlanhla Nene was removed as finance minister in 2015 nearly 150,000 jobs were lost.  At the time, Mogajane had been the deputy director general for public finance at National Treasury.  He told the inquiry chairperson, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo:  "Business confidence was at its lowest following Nene's removal.  148,000 jobs were lost in terms of the model we ran.  We saw a reduction of about R378-billion in the JSE markets capitalisation.  We also costed the impact of at least 1.1 % of GDP by the end of that year 2017."  Nene was replaced by Des van Rooyen, who in turn was replaced by Pravin Gordhan just days later.

Read the original of a short report at Engineering News. Read too, Economy never fully recovered after Nene's axing, state capture inquiry told, at IOL News

Service delivery tied to job creation, Ramaphosa tells municipalities

News24Wire reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged municipalities to adhere to standardised levels of service delivery so they can create the type of environment that will attract investors.  Speaking on Thursday at a National Council of Provinces sitting in Alberton, Ramaphosa said municipalities should be able to coordinate basic service delivery so that companies located in them could benefit and in turn create jobs.  "We must take our work seriously and act against reports of corruption in our municipalities," he said, adding that issues of corruption should be dealt with urgently because when local government failed, it was the people on the ground who suffered most.  Ramaphosa urged members of the public to respect the rule of law when demonstrating against poor service delivery.  However, he also said government should acknowledge that it had failed on several aspects of basic service delivery and should now work on making communities happy.  "Government is responded with arrogance, because it has failed," he stated.

Read the original short report at Engineering News


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

North West head of health on precautionary suspension three days after CCMA nullified special leave

News24 reports that less than a week after the North West head of health (HOD) returned to office after arbitration nullified his special leave, Dr Andrew Thabo Lekalakala was placed on precautionary suspension.  Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo suspended Lekalakala in April over a contract given to Gupta-linked healthcare company Mediosa, which was allegedly awarded a R30m, three-year contract by the health department without it going out to tender.  Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said after the CCMA nullified Lekalakala's special leave, the HOD returned to work last Monday.  He was given notice of his precautionary suspension two days later.  “The precautionary suspension is based on the nature and seriousness of allegations levelled against him as well as the ongoing disciplinary hearing which is scheduled for 11 and 12 December,” Lekgethwane indicated.  The suspension of Lekalakala had been one of the key demands of staff in the department following the allegations.  After they were informed of his return to work, they responded by not reporting for duty.

Read the full original report by Tammy Petersen at News24

 


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