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
Monday, 21 January 2019.


MINING LABOUR

New study debunks claims about mines benefiting communities

Independent News writes that a new study has found that the mining industry only benefits a few while condemning mining-affected communities to poverty and violence.  The research, to be officially unveiled next month, was conducted by ActionAid SA (Aasa) on the socio, political and economic conditions of mining-affected communities in SA.  “(The) research completely debunked claims by the Minister (of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe), that mining will bring jobs and development to communities such as Xolobeni (in Eastern Cape),” the study found.  The research was conducted in eight communities across SA.  Among the findings were that 73% of respondents indicated that no individuals in their households were either currently employed or previously employed by the mine; of the 27% who said that someone in their household was employed at a mine, 41% indicated that they were casual or manual jobs; 79% indicated that there was no benefit from the mines at all; and 40% of women indicated that jobs were only accessible through sexual favours.  The study also found that mining-affected communities were faced with deteriorating health and well-being.  Aasa’s Christopher Rutledge commented that “the promise of progress and development driven by Social and Labour Plans and the Mining Charter are not evident.”

Read Sibongile Mashaba’s report on this matter in full at The Mercury

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Department of Mineral Resources 'transfers' Lily mine to new owners without due process, at Business Report


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Cosatu expects detail of ANC election manifesto to be dealt with at lekgotla

BusinessLive reports that Cosatu has called on the ANC to use the party’s lekgotla, held over this past weekend and expected to end on Monday, to give detail on the assurances it made to thousands of its supporters at its manifesto launch the previous weekend.  “For us the lekgotla must include a new orientation because you can’t adopt a manifesto and then pretend that you did not present it.  A manifesto is a commitment and a promise so our position is let’s go to the lekgotla and give detail to the content of the manifesto,” said Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.  The lekgotla was arranged as a gathering of the governing party and its alliance partners to take stock of urgent priorities and to help to guide the work of ANC officials deployed in government in the year ahead.  Cosatu, the SACP and Sanco are part of the alliance with the ANC.  The aim of the meeting was to compile a plan of action to put in practice the commitments made in the party’s 8 January statement and its election manifesto.  Pamla said they would be interested in whether the promises listed in the party's manifesto would be the message that Team SA — led by President Cyril Ramaphosa — would be explored at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Read Neo Goba’s report in this regard in full at BusinessLive

Amcu lashes out at DA over 'insensitive' billboard listing Marikana victims

TimesLIVE reports that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said last week that Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane, as a South African and "in particular as a black person", should respect the cultural protocol of dealing with those who had lost their lives.  This was said after the DA last Wednesday unveiled a billboard in Johannesburg listing the victims of the Marikana massacre.  Amcu said the DA was using a "sensitive matter" to score political points in an election year.  "Amcu is extremely disappointed with the DA and its leader, Mmusi Maimane, for utilising a painful part of history as part of their election campaign.  We view it as highly opportunistic and totally out of order," the union stated.  Amcu blamed the government’s delay in paying reparations to the families of the victims "for opening the gap to allow in narrow political point-scoring".  The billboard, which also listed the names of children who died after falling into pit latrines and the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, was vandalised on Thursday.

Read Nico Gous’ report on this matter in full at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ramaphosa could use Davos to apply pressure on Zimbabwean government, Cosatu reckons, at Fin24


STAFFING / VACANCIES

No places in sight for new nursing students in KwaZulu-Natal

Sunday Tribune reports that thousands of prospective students in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) entered this year with the hope of pursuing their studies in nursing despite clear indications that the field was saturated and that jobs would be hard to get.  Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo recently estimated there were at least 10,000 unemployed nurses in the province and the situation was unlikely to get better in the near future.  Nonetheless, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) received 14,668 applications for nursing degrees this year, although most of the hopefuls had had to be turned away as the university could only accommodate 80 students in nursing.  Dhlomo has criticised the 28 private nursing colleges in KZN, saying they trained students at an exorbitant cost without considering whether there were enough posts in the public and private health-care sectors to accommodate them.  A student who attempted to register for nursing at a private college in Durban this year, was unsuccessful, being told that “the college will not take any first year nursing students until the year 2020”.  The college also informed her that most private nursing institutions in the province were not accepting new nurses this year.  Netcare’s Shannon Nell said its institutions made provision for nurses to specialise and this minimised the number of students who were unemployed.

Read Kwandokuhle Njoli’s report in this regard at Sunday Tribune

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

Future of student nurses from Ann Latsky Nursing College in Johannesburg in limbo, at SowetanLive


REMUNERATION / SALARY INCREASES

SA workers expected to receive only a 1% real salary increase this year

Independent News reports that South African salaried workers are expected to receive only a 1% real increase in salary in the current year, among the lowest gauged in the Korn Ferry 2019 Global Salary Forecast.  The workforce is expect to get a 6.5% nominal salary increase, to be whittled down by inflation considerations to the 1% real gain.  SA’s workers will trail their counterparts in Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria, who are expected to get the highest nominal increases of more than 10%.  Real salary growth is predicted in Ghana, Morocco, Mozambique and Tunisia.  The report notes that although top-line salaries will increase by 7.7% in Africa, high inflation will mean the real increase will only be 0.9%.  For example, in Egypt, on average salaries are expected to increase by 15%, but a 14.4% inflation rate means employees will only see a 0.6% real-wage increase.  The Korn Ferry forecast reveals that real-wage salaries globally are expected to grow only an average of 1% in 2019, down from a 1.5% prediction for 2018.

This short report by Banele Ginindza appeared on page 17 of The Star of 18 January 2019


EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT SCHEMES / BONUSES

Ex Sasol employees cry foul over poor payout from empowerment scheme and exclusion from new scheme

Sowetan reports that a group of former Sasol employees is exploring its legal options after the company’s Inzalo scheme paid them less than they had expected.  The broad-based black economic empowerment scheme matured last year.  The former workers, who left the company for various reasons, including voluntary retrenchment and early retirement, said they thought the scheme was doing well as the company had paid them dividends twice a year during the lifespan of Inzalo.  But, the ex-employees were apparently told by the company they would not receive any share payouts because Inzalo did not do well.  The news devastated them because they had planned their lives around the payout.  Sasol spokesperson Matebello Motloung said each employee received approximately R57,000 in dividend payouts over the 10-year period of the Inzalo scheme, but the Sasol share price had not increased sufficiently over the 10 years for a share payout.  Motloung also said ex-employees who were not employed by Sasol on 1 June 2018 were ineligible to participate in the new Khanyisa scheme.

Read more of this Sowetan report by Pertunia Mafokwane at SA Labour News

Banyana Banyana unhappy over late payment by Safa of Africa Women’s Cup bonuses

Independent Media reports that Banyana Banyana striker Jermaine Seoposenwe has admitted “there was a large amount of unhappiness” due to the late payment of their Africa Women’s Cup of Nations bonuses, but the players were never threatening any form of strike action.  Upon arrival home from Ghana, where Banyana finished runners-up and qualified for the Fifa World Cup for the first time, the players only received a portion of the R2.4 million bonus they were promised from Safa.  “We felt disrespected as players as there was no communication.  As players, we don’t want to go into games of this magnitude (Friday’s game against Netherlands) with unhappiness,” said Seoposenwe.  But at no point were the players not going to take the field.  Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul admitted that the Awcon bonuses payments would be made later than initially promised, but praised the players for the manner in which the issue was resolved.  “We listened, and we made the commitment to pay by February 15.  The players obviously would have liked it earlier and, in fact, I can confirm that the payment will, be made today (Friday, 18 January),” he said.

Read Zaahier Adams’ full report on this story at Weekend Argus


WORKING TIME

Home Affairs plans new law to compel its staff to work shifts

BusinessLive reports that the Department of Home Affair (DHA) plans to introduce new laws to strengthen its hand in getting its staff to work shifts, a move likely to run into stiff opposition from labour unions.  The department has previously clashed with unions over its attempts to get staff to work on Saturdays.  It hopes to get around the issue by introducing measures in a new Home Affairs Act that will enable it to employ staff outside the confines of the Public Service Act.  Acting director-general Thulani Mavuso said on Sunday:  “We want our offices to open seven days a week, so we need to be able to create a shift system that is in line with our legislation.  We want our immigration officers to be employed as shift employees so they can operate 27/7.”  The DHA also wants to be able to pay market-related rates for highly specialised skills, particularly in IT, said Mavuso.  Legislation presently sets limits on the pay packet of every level of employee, from cleaners to directors-general.  Employees of the Department of Correctional Services and the SA Police Service fall outside the act, and are expected to work shifts.  The policy groundwork for the DHA was laid out in a white paper published in the government gazette on Friday.  However, it did not raise the labour issues highlighted by Mavuso.

Read Tamar Kahn’s report on this story in full at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Disabled doctor takes on hospital giant Life Healthcare that fired her

TimesLIVE reports that 33-year-old Sarah Whitehead, a doctor with a disability, is taking Life Healthcare to the labour court, accusing it of unfairly dismissing her from Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town.  Whitehead was fired last August after more than four years as a part-time doctor in the rehabilitation unit, where she worked with disabled patients.  Ironically, she says, she was fired on the basis of her disability.  But, Life Healthcare HR executive Chris Gouws said:  “She unfortunately could no longer respond in terms of the services the rehabilitation unit required.”  Whitehead was diagnosed with developmental venous anomaly when she was in matric.  The condition impairs her mobility and balance.  Her lawyer, Glyn Williams, related that in August 27 last year, Whitehead was called into a meeting and told there were “concerns” about her ability to care for patients, and that “they would find someone else to perform her duties”.  Whitehead was “shocked and profoundly distressed” and two days later, received a letter of termination.  Gouws claimed that Whitehead was an independent contractor and that her appointment as such was “lawfully terminated”.  According to Williams, this was untrue, and that she had been a part-time permanent employee.  Williams also said that until last August there was never a single complaint, disciplinary hearing or inquiry into Whitehead’s alleged incapacity.  The case will be heard in the labour court in June.

Read Tanya Farber’s report on this story at TimesLIVE

KZN private school sacks female teacher for 'inappropriate behaviour', but denies sexual relationship with pupil

TimesLIVE reports that an upmarket private KwaZulu-Natal school has denied that a married teacher it dismissed for "inappropriate behaviour" had had a sexual relationship with a pupil.  Curro Mount Richmore, located on the grounds of the Mount Richmore Estate on the North Coast, stated in a circular to parents last week that "there was no evidence whatsoever of a sexual relationship".  This followed a community newspaper report, which alleged that the woman, who taught high school pupils, had engaged in a sexual relationship.  The school’s executive head, Samantha Smit, told parents in the circular that a disciplinary hearing against the teacher - chaired by an independent labour consultant -had been finalised on Wednesday.  The teacher was dismissed "on account of her inappropriate behaviour".  Smit dismissed the community newspaper report as "misleading, irresponsible, sensationalist and factually incorrect".

Read Suthentira Govender’s report in this regard in full at TimesLIVE


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Bosasa used workers’, relatives' death benefit pay-outs to generate cash for bribes

Independent News reports that former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi on Friday revealed shocking details of how the controversial company used the deaths of its employees and their relatives to generate money to pay for bribes and corruption.  Testifying at the commission of inquiry into state capture, explained that the scheme involved Bosasa taking out insurance through the Metropolitan Death Benefit Fund to assist bereaved families of its employees.  In its books, Bosasa would make the payment while the family was waiting for the death certificate and then claim it made a double contribution.  In fact, once the fund had paid Bosasa, the money raised was used to pay bribes and for corruption.  Agrizzi said the estimated monthly amount generated was R300,000 through deaths of employees and their family members.  "Employees didn't know about the death benefits scheme," he indicated.

Read Loyiso Sidimba’s report on this story at IOL News


WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Ex-Spar driver who claims he was assaulted blasts NPA for ‘shielding’ boss

Sowetan reports that a former Spar employee who was allegedly assaulted by his boss has accused the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police of “bungling” his case.  Jacob Vurayai, 30, a former truck driver at a Spar franchise in Sinoville, north of Pretoria, has opened a case against his ex-boss Chris Giannacopolous, who owns several franchises, including Food Lovers Market in Hartbeespoort.  Vurayai said he was informed by the NPA that his case had no prospects of a successful prosecution.  But Vurayai claimed his case was “doomed” from the beginning after his initial attempts in August to open the case against the powerful businessman were blocked until he threatened to approach the media.  He claims Giannacopolous assaulted him with a wooden pallet for more than three hours after accusing him of him of being an accomplice to the theft of stock by another driver.  This was not the first employee who has accused Giannacopolous of assault.  Last October, Sowetan reported that Memory Mapundu had laid an assault charge against Giannacopolous after he allegedly punched her at work.  Giannacopolous has denied all allegations made against him.

The original of this report by Promise Marupeng appeared on page 5 of Sowetan of 21 January 2019


OTHER MISCELLANEOUS NEWS HEADLINES

  • Three cops wounded on Monday in Zululand gun battle, at TimesLive
  • Aveng sells treatment business as it tries to keep its head above water, at BusinessLive
  • Fitch Solutions has poor outlook for manufacturing and agricultural sectors, at Business Report
  • Dispute with contractors leaves uncollected rubbish festering in heat n uMlazi, at Sunday Tribune

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page