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, 10 January 2019.


Profit from platinum mines means strikers at gold mines hurting themselves more than us, says Sibanye

BusinessLive reports that Sibanye-Stillwater told shareholders on Thursday morning that it would be able to survive the strike at its SA gold mines thanks to the growing profitability of its US and SA platinum mines.  “The strategic benefits of the group’s commodity and geographic diversification are clearly evident, with operational disruptions in the gold division offset by rising platinum group metal (PGM) prices and the solid operational performance of the PGM operations,” Sibanye said in a strategic update.  Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been on strike since 21 November 2018.  “We are saddened that there have been four employee fatalities, and several other employees have sustained injuries as a result of violent behaviour related to the strike,” Sibanye said.  Thursday morning’s statement indicated that Sibanye might have actually benefited monetarily from Amcu’s strike.  This was due to expected gold production for 2018 only slightly missing its previous guidance and yet, as per convention, “employees who do not report for work are not paid, with wages generally accounting for around 50% of operating costs at the deep-level goldmines.”

Read the Robert Laing’s original report on this in full at BusinessLive. Read Sibanye’s strategic update at Moneyweb

Amcu reveals 2019 plans amid ongoing wage gold strike at Sibanye-Stillwater

Mining Weekly reports that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa on Wednesday said the union would continue its protected strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations until its demand for a R1,000 annual increment for the next three-years was met.  He assured members and media at the first central mass meeting of this year that the strike would proceed despite the multiple attempts made by Sibanye to hinder it.  He also stated that the protected strike would encompass several marches to key locations, including a march to the JSE’s offices, in Sandton.  Mathunjwa also revealed some of the union’s other plans for the year ahead, including a secondary strike in the platinum sector in support of the Sibanye gold strike.  He indicated that in a demonstration of the right to free association, Amcu would this year stage a national central mass meeting that would incorporate all Amcu regional offices.  The purpose of this meeting would be to help establish a government that will ensure the protection of workers’ rights.

Read the original report in this regard in full at Mining Weekly. Read too, Sibanye-Stillwater expects gold output to miss forecast amid wage strike, at EWN. And also, Sibanye reports good PGMs performance, but gold output falls amid strike, at Mining Weekly

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Xolobeni youth distance themselves from Mantashe ban, want him to visit village, at The Citizen


Black professionals leaving SA outnumber white professionals

BusinessTech writes that for years, poor governance and policy changes in SA have pushed skilled professionals into seeking greener pastures overseas.  While this has mostly been associated with whites, more recent findings show that black professionals are now more likely to jump ship.  Johannes Wessels, director of entrepreneurial non-profit at the Enterprise Observatory of SA (EOSA), has highlighted some alarming findings in the Department of Home Affairs’ 2017 white paper on emigration.  For every professional immigrating to SA, eight professionals are emigrating, the researchers found.  While a large number of white professionals were making the jump, in recent years the annual number of black professionals leaving SA exceeded the tally of professional white emigrants.  According to Wessels, taking the findings of the white paper into consideration, it can conservatively be calculated that at least 400,000 professionals have left SA.  White South Africans are more likely to leave due to various “push” factors – like fear of change and lack of opportunities open to professionals due to BEE and other government policies.  But, highly skilled blacks now outnumber their white counterparts, bound in solidarity by a deep non-racial ‘gatvolheid’ in the slide into corruption, lawlessness, dismal public services and the undermining of property rights.”

Read the original report in this regard in full at BusinessTech

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Judasa concerned about the placement of medical graduates, at SABC News


Work experience shouldn’t be required for youth employment, Ramaphosa tells ANCYL

ANA reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa told a crowd of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) members on Wednesday that work experience should not be a requirement for young people when applying for employment.  “Experience must not be a requirement that is used for young people to get jobs.  I use the argument, which is quite logical, if we say you must have experience, where are you going to get that experience?” said Ramaphosa.  The president was speaking in Durban at a youth rally in honour of Peter Mokaba, who was the first youth league president after the unbanning of the ANC.  He said he would “do away with” the notion that experience was essential in the public sector and would push the private sector to follow suit.  Ramaphosa also commended the league for fighting for economic emancipation and said that 20% of those nominated onto ANC party lists for the upcoming national election were youth.

Read the original report in full at The Citizen

ANC election manifesto will respond to pleas for jobs, says Paul Mashatile

BusinessLive reports that ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile said on Wednesday that the ANC’s election manifesto would provide solutions to solving unemployment, which the governing party had identified as the biggest problem facing South Africans.  Campaigning in Durban, Mashatile said the majority of people that ANC leaders had met complained about joblessness.  He was trying to encourage people to attend the ANC’s manifesto launch on Saturday at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.  Mashatile also said the ANC realised that a positive election outcome was possible only if the party was united and that division in an election year was “not an option”.  He conceded that there were pockets of division in some parts, but he said people were largely committed to working against a dip in support for the party.

Read the original report by Qaanitah Hunter and Zimasa Matiwane in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ramaphosa pledges government support for business ideas of young professionals, at EWN


No 2018 bonuses for Tiger Brands executives in year that saw listeriosis crisis

Financial Mail reports that Tiger Brands’ 2018 financial year was a truly nightmarish one when the difficult economic conditions drove every performance measure sharply south.  So, it must have been a relief for the remuneration committee that it didn’t have to grapple with whether to pay bonuses in a year in which 209 customers died of listeriosis.  There was absolutely no chance of short-or long-term bonuses for any Tiger Brands executives.  Revenue was down 9%, operating income slumped 28% and headline earnings were 26% lower.  Remarkably, if there had been earnings growth, there’s nothing in the group’s remuneration policy that would have stopped the committee from paying generous rewards, despite hundreds of people dying as a result of listeriosis picked up through one of the firm’s products.  Uncertainty about how the listeriosis crisis would be handled by management and the board was a major factor in the halving of the share price during 2018.  That was the second consecutive year the executive directors were not awarded any short-or long-term bonuses.  Separately, it was decided not to pay any of the directors for the 10 additional board meetings called to deal with the listeriosis crisis.

Read the original report by Ann Crotty in full at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Purple Group backtracks over chair Mark Barnes’s R2.8m pay, at Moneyweb


Understanding the National Minimum Wage Act

Jacques van Wyk, director and labour law specialist at Werksmans Attorneys, has written an informative article about the National Minimum Wage Act, which came into effect on 1 January 2019. Barring a few exceptions, the national minimum wage is R20 an hour.  The topics Van Wyk covers include: Who does it apply to? What is the national minimum wage? How is the national minimum wage calculated? Does a worker have a right to the national minimum wage? Must a worker’s contract of employment be amended in light of the Act? When do the provisions of the Act come into effect? Can an employer be exempt from paying the national minimum wage? What is the role and responsibility of the National Minimum Wage Commission?

Read this useful article in full at Moneyweb

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cosatu: Too early to say whether employers are implementing minimum wage, at EWN


Sadtu calls on Western Cape education department to intervene at overcrowded schools

EWN reports that the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has called on the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to intervene where there have been reports of overcrowding at schools.  On Wednesday, teachers and parents at the Bergville Primary School, as well as Bishop Lavis community activists, handed over a memorandum to the department.  Various grievances were cited, including overcrowding, staff shortages and safety concerns.  Bergville Primary School principal Aleem Abrahams indicated that overcrowded classrooms were impacting on the quality of education learners were receiving.  Abrahams said that in one class, the teacher had more than 70 pupils.  Sadtu's Jonovan Rustin said this was unacceptable:  "We are deeply concerned about overcrowding in the province and we are in the process of monitoring where we find instances where there are no teachers with the overcrowding."  The WCED said it was looking into the matter.

A short report by Shamiela Fisher is at EWN


Mr D Food fires driver caught on video masturbating outside customer's home

Independent News reports that Mr D Food has terminated the contract of one of its drivers who was caught on video masturbating openly just moments after handing over a delivery to a young woman.  The video, which was extensively shared on social media on Wednesday morning, shows the driver hand over a package to the customer.  She turns around to walk back inside the gates and the driver can then be seen watching the woman as he opens his fly and starts masturbating.  "Mr D Foods condemns the behaviour of the driver in the strongest possible terms and we sincerely apologise to the affected customer.  As soon as the incident was brought to our attention, the driver was identified and his contract has been terminated with immediate effect," said Devin Sinclair, head of Mr D Foods.  "We do not tolerate this behaviour and our national driver management structures will ensure this type of incident is not repeated.  As part of our recruitment and vetting process all drivers go through face-to-face interviews with regional branch managers and receive customer service training," said Sinclair.

Read the original report by Lou-Anne Daniels in full at IOL News. Read too, Masturbating Mr D driver dismissed after video goes viral, at News24

Teacher at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke suspended over alleged racial separation of learners

ANA reports that a teacher who allegedly separated black and white children in the Grade R class at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke in North West has been suspended with immediate effect.  Sello Lehari, education MEC in the province, said on Thursday that the suspension was to allow investigations to continue.  The teacher reportedly sent a photo showing segregated seating to parents via Whatsapp intending to show them how the children were settling in on their first day at school on Wednesday.  Lehari said the school's explanation was that black children were separated because they were new at the school and could not speak Afrikaans or English.  "We did not accept the explanation," he told community members.  Lehari indicated that a decision on the fate of the principal had not been taken.  On Thursday, protesters, many donning political party T-shirts, gathered outside the school gates to protest against what they viewed as racial segregation at the school.

Read the original of the report by Molaole Montsho in full at IOL News. Read too, Children removed from Schweizer-Reneke school amid protests over segregated seating, at EWN. And also, Viral race row picture only captured a single moment, says Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke, at News24


Pule Mabe's former PA denies ‘chickening out' of attending his sexual harassment hearing

News24 reports that the woman who has accused ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe of sexual harassment has denied that being unable to attend his hearing this week was proof that she had cold feet over her claims.  She apparently informed the ANC this week that she was not available to appear at the second sitting of a commission into the sexual harassment claims she levelled against Mabe in December 2018.  Mabe, who had been meeting with community members and campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal, ahead of the ANC's election manifesto launch on Saturday, confirmed to journalists that the second sitting of his hearing had been postponed at the request of the complainant.  He reiterated his commitment to a speedy resolution, insisting he was ready to plead his case to the committee.  However, the complainant said the meeting date was communicated to her late and she already had family commitments.  "It's not true that I've chickened out, because had I chickened out I would not have reported the matter to the police," the former PA pointed out.

Read the original report by Tshidi Madia in full at News24. Read too, Mabe says he is ready for findings following sexual harassment hearing, at Mail & Guardian


Miscommunication between train driver and controller blamed for Pretoria rail crash

TimesLive reports that a preliminary report by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) has found that a breakdown in communication between a control officer and a driver led to the deadly train crash near Pretoria's Mountain View train station.  Four people died and 620 other commuters were injured when a train en route to Pretoria station collided with the rear of another train heading to Belle Ombre station.  After the driver repeated the authority incorrectly, the train control officer (TCO) acknowledged the incorrect authority.  RSR spokesperson Madelein Williams said this resulted in the train entering the section between the Pretoria North and Mountain View stations wrongfully.  "The train driver and TCO did not comply with the language policy when authorising," said Williams.  The report also indicated that damage observed on the coaches of both trains indicated that the train to Pretoria station might have been travelling at considerable speed.  The RSR will be continuing its investigation.

Read Iavan Pijoos’ original report on this in full at TimesLive

Cape Town mayor declares Rail Enforcement Unit a success story

ANA reports that Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato on Wednesday said the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU), which provides an additional 100 law enforcement officers to the existing security personnel in meeting Metrorail’s security challenges, has been a success story.  He indicated:  “The REU’s successes to date give me a good reason to believe that this unit will assist us in stabilising the urban rail service over the next few months.  With less crime and vandalism, we can expect a decrease in delays and cancellations, and with that, we can expect more commuters opting for trains as opposed to road-based transport.”  REU was launched in October last year.  It is jointly funded by the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).  The unit has recorded about 36 arrests on a range of charges including assault, possession of drugs and stolen property, malicious damage to property and theft, and has confiscated 379.5m of cable and 800kg of railway signal cable, among other successes.  Western Cape MEC for transport and public works and chairperson of the RMTT, Donald Grant, commented:  “The initial results and arrests are testaments to the initiative’s effectiveness and our officers’ commitment on the ground.”

Read the original report in this regard in full at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cape Town train arsonists still evading authorities, at EWN


  • Unisa campus shutdown enters fourth day on Thursday, talks unsuccessful, at Mail & Guardian
  • City of Johannesburg appoints a new Group Chief Financial Officer, at Business Report
  • Baragwanath hospital gets new CEO - after three years without one, at TimesLive
  • How to use social media to find your next job, at Businesss Report
  • Job candidates advised to grow skills ahead of fourth industrial revolution, at SABC News


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page