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
Wednesday, 5 December 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY (OHS)

Staff at Leratong Hospital flee in panic as guard stabbed

SowetanLive reports that frustrations over a shortage of stretchers and an overflowing resuscitation room put the lives of staff at a Gauteng hospital at risk.  Health workers at Leratong Hospital on the West Rand were on the receiving end of two violent attacks at the weekend, one of which left a security guard with stab wounds.  The attack was one of a string of violent incidents that have hit various health facilities in the province this year.  Popi Molebatsi, the matron in charge of Leratong Hospital's trauma and emergency unit, observed that the casualty ward was too small to accommodate the large influx of people in the area.  As a result on Sunday, Molebatsi said, staff in the casualty ward were attacked by a group of people who had brought in a man who had been shot in the abdomen.  The patient's escorts apparently demanded that he be attended to urgently and were not pleased that he was not placed on a stretcher.  Molebatsi said two security guards at the hospital were injured after a group of about six people accompanying the patient refused to vacate the resuscitation area while medical staff were assisting the man.  According to Molebatsi, the casualty ward was overwhelmed with 11 workers per shift having to assist an estimated 5,000 people per month.

Read the full original report by Zoë Mahopo at SowetanLive

Man arrested for allegedly assaulting nurse at Vaalwater clinic in Limpopo

News24 reports that Limpopo's health MEC, Phopho Ramathuba, has welcomed the arrest of a man who allegedly assaulted a nurse at a clinic in Vaalwater after the nurse refused to act contrary to departmental policies.  The man was apparently angry because the nurse refused to reissue his companion with a second birth notification form.  Since the incident, nurses stopped working night shifts.  The MEC said the arrest should serve as a warning and deterrent to anyone who dared to commit any form of criminal activity in a health facility.  The department is working with community stakeholders and organised labour to ensure that the clinic works for 24 hours again as soon as possible.

Read the full original report by Pelane Phakgadi at News24


MINING LABOUR

Mineral Resources Department calls for Amcu-NUM peace as mining sector violence escalates

BusinessLive reports that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has urged mining unions to engage in a peaceful and tolerant manner following a series of violent incidents in recent weeks.  At least three people have died and several others were injured following renewed clashes between members of the Association for Mineworkers and Construction (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).  On Monday, the DMR said peace and stability were critical for “long-term sustainability” of the mining sector.  The renewed clashes emanated from a wage strike by Amcu members at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix mine in Welkom, which has since spilled over to its Driefontein operation.  But, Amcu’s Joseph Mathunjwa said while a death at Sibanye was “regrettable”, the union would not call off its strike.  He blamed the violence, which has included shootings, stabbings and beatings at the Beatrix, Kloof and Driefontein gold mines, on Sibanye and its security personnel as a mechanism to seek a court interdict against the protected strike.  NUM, which confirmed one of the slain mineworkers at Sibanye was its member, also had its own internal clashes to deal with.  Regional leader Ndlela Radebe was stabbed during a mass meeting meant to galvanise NUM members to return to work following a five-week strike against retrenchments at Gold Fields’ South Deep mine.  Police are investigating that incident.

Read the full original report by Theto Mahlakoana (with Allan Seccombe) at BusinessLive

Sibanye writes open letter to Amcu amid violent wage strike at its gold operations

Mining Weekly reports that precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater has written an open letter to Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa amid an ongoing strike at the miner’s gold operations.  The strike follows Sibanye reaching a wage agreement with three other unions, which Amcu has refused to sign.  Amcu represents about 43% of the 32,200 of Sibanye’s employees at its SA gold operations.  In the letter, Sibanye expressed its “great concern” at the intimidation and violence that has marked the Amcu strike, which has “resulted in the loss of three lives, employees being assaulted and a female police office being severely assaulted and stripped of her weapon.”  The offer accepted by the other unions was “final and fair”, the gold miner stated.  In terms thereof, an entry-level employee would earn a guaranteed income of over R12,800 a month in the first year of the agreement, increasing to over R 14,900 a month, in year three.  Sibanye urged Amcu’s leadership to consider the wellbeing of all stakeholders and the wellbeing of the industry, which has been shedding jobs over the last couple of years and to engage in good faith in the interest of a sustainable solution for the gold sector.

Read the full original report at Mining Weekly. Read Sibanye-Stillwater’s open letter at BusinessLive

Sibanye-Stillwater fires broadside at Amcu’s Mathunjwa as more striking miners die

Miningmx reports that in the latest broadside fired in the violent, two-week-long strike over wage increases, Sibanye-Stillwater’s executive head of human resources, Themba Nkosi, posted an open letter to Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa, accusing him of making “disingenuous and dishonest” statements.  In the past two weeks, three lives have been lost, several employees have been assaulted and a police officer was also assaulted.  Nkosi said the lawless actions during the past week were primarily caused by Amcu’s members and were the responsibility of its leadership.  Mathunjwa’s accusation that the judiciary (which upheld Sibanye’s interdict against Amcu’s violent behaviour) was biased in favour of big business was “a blatant red herring”, Nkosi claimed.  He reminded Mathunjwa that if the current strike persisted through the December holiday period, Amcu members, as well as the local economy, would experience significant hardship from the loss of wages.  “From prior experience, this strike will not only affect the company, but all other stakeholders, with our employees and their families being worst affected,” Nkosi wrote.

Read the full original report by Charlotte Mathews at Miningmx. Read Sibanye-Stillwater’s open letter at Miningmx. Read too, Amcu strike should be commended, not twisted, says Alternative Information & Development Centre, at BusinessLive

Spend on platinum marketing rather than mining more, Anglo American Platinum boss urges

BusinessLive writes that the best way for SA’s embattled platinum industry to save itself from prolonged difficulties is to switch focus to intensive marketing and spending on creating demand rather than trying to lower costs and mining more metal.  This is the view of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) CEO Chris Griffith.  The sector, in which two-thirds of mines are marginal or unprofitable, has lost thousands of jobs in recent years, with Lonmin cutting 8,000 jobs since 2015 and considering up to 12,600 more.  Impala Platinum has spoken of cutting 13,000 jobs as it shuts old mines.  “Many of our peers still think of the business as a volume industry and getting costs down by producing more, and that volume will always be there rather than investing in creating demand.  Frankly what you should do is cut back on other spending to invest in marketing to create a future for your metals.  You cannot blindly expand into a market where there is no demand,” Griffith observed.  Amplats spends $50m a year on market development, of which $30m is on the jewellery markets, $10m into industrial market development and the balance on encouraging investment and other uses.  While other companies such as Impala Platinum, Lonmin, Sibanye-Stillwater, Northam Platinum and Royal Bafokeng Platinum all make contributions to the jewellery and investment organisations there has to be much greater participation, particularly on the financial side, to encourage these bodies, said Griffith.

Read the full original report by Allan Seccombe at BusinessLive

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Xolobeni turns Mantashe away: 'We have said no to mining for 15 years', at News24
  • Informal miners from village near Newcastle risk their lives to make R25 from a wheelbarrow of coal, at GroundUp


MARIKANA MASSACRE

Activists marching from Marikana to demand compensation for widows arrive in Pretoria

ANA reports that a group of activists walking from Marikana near Rustenburg in the North West to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a list of demands to President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived on Tuesday evening.  The spokesperson for the group, Napoleon Webster, said they would sleep at the Atteridgeville police station on Tuesday night and continue their walk to the Union Buildings on Wednesday morning.  They were due to hand over their demands to Ramaphosa at noon.  Webster said the activists were demanding the finalisation of the compensation to widows of the Marikana massacre.  They also wanted communities to share in the profits of the mines.  The group of activists come from mining communities such as Mopotokisi, Reutlwile View, Seraleng, Sondela and 34 Mambush Marikana.  Webster described their march of more than 80km as 'tough but worth it'.  "It was difficult, we did not have a sponsor.  Communities helped us along the journey they offered us food and water.  Furthermore they offer us their houses to shower."

Read the full original report by Molaole Montsho at IOL News


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Saftu backs 'Dis-Chem D-Day' on Wednesday as pharmacy workers ramp up strike

TimesLive writes that Dis-Chem pharmacies were due to be hit by protest action on Wednesday, with striking workers around the country planning to air their grievances.  Dis-Chem employees affiliated to the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw), who initially went on strike on 16 November, intend to ramp up the pressure with pickets.  They have declared Wednesday “Dis-Chem D-Day”.  The SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) pledged its support for the striking workers, whose demands include higher wages and an annual bonus.  “Saftu is calling on all its members and all workers to demonstrate their solidarity on that D-Day with a nationwide protest," the union federation said in a statement.  Wage talks between Nupsaw and Dis-Chem deadlocked over the union’s demands for a minimum wage of R12,500 across the board, an increase of 12.5% for those earning above R12,500, a guaranteed annual bonus and a review of the bonus policy.

Read the full original report by Nomahlubi Jordaan at TimesLive

Go back to work or face arrest, KZN health MEC warns mortuary staff

Daily News reports that striking staff from the Fort Napier Medico-Legal Mortuary in Pietermaritzburg could be arrested if they do not return to work on Wednesday.  The Department of Health in KZN has given them that ultimatum or face arrest for up to 30 days for contempt of court.  This came after numerous attempts to persuade the workers to abandon the go-slow that they had embarked upon two weeks ago failed.  Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, provincial MEC for health, said the department first issued an ultimatum, which was followed by an interim order granted by the court to try and interdict the workers from participating in an illegal strike.  He explained that on Tuesday the court pronounced on two applications, firstly, granting the final order to interdict workers from embarking on a wildcat strike and secondly, granting an order for the workers being in contempt of court.  However, the union representing the worker, Nehawu, pleaded for the immediate suspension of the implementation of the court order and committed that workers would abide by the order from Wednesday.  The department then afforded the workers “this very last opportunity, to go back to work.”

Read the full original report by Zainul Dawood at Daily News


HIGHER EDUCATION / QUALIFICATIONS

NSFAS applications show that students overwhelmingly prefer universities to TVET colleges

TimesLive reports that only 24% of applications received by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the 2019 academic year were from pupils planning to enrol at TVET colleges, with the balance of 76% being for universities.  This was revealed by Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday after the NSFAS officially closed the application period.  Pandor said the scheme received over 400,000 applications between 3 September and 3 December and was evaluating all applications received.  Funding is only confirmed once a student has met the financial eligibility criteria and is formally registered at a TVET college or university for an approved funded programme.  Successful students will receive bursary funding to cover their tuition fees and an allowance for learning materials.  “I am pleased that the 2019 application process has performed well in terms of systems, applications received, as well as user experience,” said Pandor.  The majority of applicants were female (63%).  Across the provinces, KZN had the most applications, with 91,523 (but which represented only 45% of the total number of pupils who wrote their national senior certificate exams in the province).  The lowest number was from the Northern Cape with 2,573 applications, representing only 18.04% of the total number of pupils who wrote in that province.

Read the full original report by Nonkululeko Njilo at TimesLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Firing of Moyane from Sars was a matter of Ramaphosa exercising his executive power, court hears

BusinessLive reports that arguments were heard on Tuesday in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on the bid by fired SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane’s to get his job back.  At the heart of President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s case opposing the bid was the argument that a loss of confidence on his part in Moyane was enough for him to exercise his executive power to fire Moyane, provided it was rational.  Moyane’s counsel, Adv. Dali Mpofu, told the court that Moyane did not want to “go back to his desk”, but was happy to remain on suspension and face the disciplinary inquiry against him.  Mpofu argued that there would be no “inconvenience” to Ramaphosa if he were to reinstate Moyane to his post.  But, Adv. Kameshni Pillay, for Ramaphosa, argued that reinstating Moyane would be depriving the president of his right to exercise his executive power as the appointment and, by extension, the removal of the Sars commissioner was at the discretion of the president.  Pillay also told the court that Moyane has not demonstrated that he had been treated unfairly.  She said Ramaphosa had offered him an opportunity to rebut the evidence in the interim report of the Sars commission of inquiry chaired by retired judge Robert Nugent, which recommended Moyane’s axing.  Judge Fabricius said he would hand down judgment before 14 December, which is the deadline for Nugent to submit his final report to Ramaphosa.

Read the full original report by Natasha Marrian at BusinessLive. Read too, Tom Moyane’s axing was justified, court hears, at The Citizen


SEXUAL HARASSMENT / ABUSE

Old sex scandal leads to teacher's dismissal after his questionable return to teaching

News24 reports that a Cape Town teacher who was struck from the roll of educators after inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a pupil has been dismissed following his suspicious return to the classroom.  Arnold Robertson returned to teaching at a primary school in Bonteheuwel, allegedly using a professions council certificate issued 11 years ago.  Until Monday, he had been a teacher at Central Park Primary, but Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond confirmed that Robertson's appointment had been retracted.  Robertson, a former teacher at Stratford Primary in Eerste River, was sanctioned for misconduct in 2011.  The matter was referred to the SA Council of Educators (SACE) which, after a disciplinary hearing, struck him from the roll.  The WCED terminated his services in terms of the Employment of Educators Act and he was deemed to have resigned.  At that time Robertson took the matter on review to the Western Cape High Court.  "The judgment given was for SACE to register him on a three-month provisional registration and that he was supposed to provide proof of attendance of rehabilitation before any extension is given," said SACE spokesperson Themba Ndhlovu.  He could not immediately confirm if such documentation had indeed been made available.

Read the full original report by Tammy Petersen at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • What the law says about workplace sexual harassment, at IOL News


OTHER REPORTS

No end to delays in issuing of driver licence cards due to labour dispute

The Mercury reports that motorists who have still not received their driving licence cards and whose temporary licences have expired might have to reapply for another temporary driving licence.  A labour dispute has led to a nationwide backlog in the issuing of driving licence cards, with some motorists having waited for up to four months.  In October, the Department of Transport advised all those waiting for their new driving licences to get a temporary licence.  However, temporary licences have now also expired.  The backlog is a result of industrial action that started in July at the Driving Licensing Card and Account (DLCA) in Gauteng.  The DLCA is the only national government department responsible for the printing of all driving licence cards for both provincial and municipal licensing centres.  In KwaZulu-Natal, the issuing of driving licences would usually take three to six weeks for delivery of the new licence card, but since the strike some people have waited for more than four months.  The wait might be even longer as the entire production team at DLCA has not been allowed to work until they sign their contracts.

Read the full original report by Kailene Pillay at The Mercury

 


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