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
Tuesday, 22 January 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Eastern Cape police commissioner condemns deadly attack on cop in Port Elizabeth

EWN reports that the Eastern Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga, has condemned an attack in which a police officer was shot dead on Monday in Port Elizabeth.  Police had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery in progress at a bakery.  At the scene, four armed robbers were killed and one escaped.  Constable Dwane Alistair Kemp (31) was shot in the upper body.  He was rushed to the hospital, but later died.  The police's Thembinkosi Kinana said:  "The provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga has learned with shock about the passing away of the injured flying squad member.  The member died in hospital after an attack by criminals who were robbing a business in Port Elizabeth."

The original of a short report by Ayanda Felem is at EWN

SAPS national commissioner condemns attack on police at KZN filling stations

ANA reports that the national police commissioner, Khehla Sitole, on Tuesday condemned the attack on police officers who had responded to business robberies at two filling stations in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) on Monday morning.  Police spokeswoman Brenda Muridili said members of Nongoma visible policing were ambushed while responding to calls of business robberies at two filling stations.  “On arrival at the scene they were met by a hail of bullets and they retaliated.  Suspects fled the scene and three police officers have been injured and were taken to hospital,” said Muridili.  General Sitole commended the members for their bravery and also wished the injured members a speedy recovery.  The chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on police, Francois Beukman, also condemned the attack.  He said that the committee favoured the deployment of specialised units in hotspot areas and added that the spread of illegal firearms continued to be a worrying trend.

Read the original of this report in full at Independent News

Durban metro cop killed by taxi at roadblock ‘took pride in his uniform’

Daily News writes that eThekwini Metro police inspector Johan Deysel was a professional who was dedicated to the job in his more than 35 years in the force.  This was said at his funeral by fellow officers who had worked with him over the years.  Deysel died earlier this month when he was struck by a taxi at a roadblock outside Galleria Mall.  Deysel’s colleague Constable Nevesh Nameekumar said he had known him for 10 years.  He said his partner took pride in his uniform and went the extra mile for people when conducting his duties.  Deputy mayor Fawzia Peer offered her condolences to Deysel’s wife, Rina, and said policemen and their families had a difficult time as they were not sure they would return home each time they left for duty.  She noted that police officers often worked in difficult circumstances without expecting a “thank you” from the people they served.  Nhlakanipho Cele, who is alleged to have knocked Deysel over, faces charges of culpable homicide.  He was granted bail of R2,000 in the eManzimtoti Magistrate’s Court last week.

Read Mphathi Nxumalo’s report in full at Daily News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • How exercise can fast-track your workplace well-being, at BusinessLive
  • Dobsonville security officer robbed of his firearm in parking lot, at News24
  • Firefighter injured as raging wildfire destroyed two homes in Mossel Bay on Monday, at TimesLIVE


MINING LABOUR

Sibanye-Stillwater weighs Amcu support for sympathy platinum strike

BusinessLive reports that precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater is closely watching the support that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) attracts ahead of a possible sympathy strike in its platinum division.  Amid reports of violence in the protracted gold wage strike at Sibanye’s three gold mines called by Amcu on 21 November 2018, the company is gearing up for a secondary or sympathy strike at its platinum mines around Rustenburg.  “We are getting a sense that Amcu might not get the support it wants for a strike in the platinum mine, but as we’ve seen in the gold strike it only takes a few hostile people to intimidate others to stay away from work,” said Sibanye’s James Wellsted.  A measure of the extent of Amcu’s support for a secondary strike will be the union’s march to the Minerals Council SA (previously called the Chamber of Mines) on Tuesday to highlight its unhappiness over miners’ wages.  Sibanye is considering its legal options to stop a secondary strike at its platinum division, but has yet to apply for an interdict to prevent it.  Little more than half the workforce are continuing to work at the gold mines.  Sibanye and Amcu are locked in a legal tussle over the verification of membership numbers there, which could determine whether a wage settlement with three other unions can be extended to the whole gold workforce.  

Read Allan Seccombe’s report on this story in full at BusinessLive

Numsa opens Ipid 'police brutality' case after miner killed, others wounded during picket at LanXess Chrome

EWN reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has opened a case of police brutality with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in the North West.  The union has accused officers of opening fire on striking workers during a picket outside LanXess Chrome Mining last week.  One worker was killed and others were wounded.  Numsa members are currently on strike over wages at the mine.  Regional secretary Jerry Morulane claimed the police acted illegally:  “We’re saying Ipid needs to come through and investigate.  They must investigate that police used live rubber bullets on our members for no reason.”

The original of this short report by Bonga Dlulane is at EWN

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Amcu march on Tuesday: Motorists warned to stay out of Joburg CBD, at Mining Weekly


PROTESTS / MARCHES / PICKETS

Uitenhage conveyor belt workers picket against new payroll system, call for independent audit

GroundUp reports that about 40 employees of conveyor belt manufacturer ContiTech picketed outside the company’s Uitenhage factory on Friday to show their dissatisfaction with its payroll system which they claimed was deducting too much from their earnings.  The workers, affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), called for an independent auditor to scrutinise their salaries ever since 2016 when the new system first came into place.  ContiTech, a subsidiary of Continental, manufactures heavy conveyor belts for the mining industry.  It employs 130 workers at its Uitenhage plant.  Machine operator Thandisizwe Dyakumeni has worked at ContiTech since 2007 and earns a weekly wage of R1,300.  He said his net earnings have been less since the new payroll system was put in place.  “The old system separated annual bonus, monthly wage, public holidays and overtime allowances.  Bonus should be taxed on its own,” said Dyakumeni.  Numsa regional secretary Mziyanda Twani indicated:  “We are bringing in auditors and SARS to do verification of the system because our members feel they are not being paid enough.”

Read Joseph Chirume’s report on this story in full at GroundUp


EXECUTIVE PAY

Multichoice’s top executives to earn a massive R55 million in remuneration this year

BusinessTech reports that Imtiaz Patel, former Multichoice CEO and the group’s current chair and executive director, will be taking home over R22 million in the 2019 financial year.  Other executives will also be raking in millions.  This was revealed in the video entertainment group’s pre-listing statement, with the company preparing to go public in February 2019.  According to the statement, the group’s 10 directors will get paid out a total of R55.3 million in 2019, up from R44 million in 2018, with the addition of two new names on the list.  Patel will earn R22.15 million in the year ending March 2019, up from R19.7 million the year before.  This includes a basic salary of R7.6 million and a bonus of the same amount, on top of R4.5 million in other benefits.  The second-highest paid executive at the group is non-executive director Elias Masilela, who will take home R8.5 million, down from R9.3 million the year before.  Multichoice’s new CEO, Calvo Mawela, will get a pay cut, taking home R7.7 million under the company’s new public structure.  This is just below the group’s CFO, Nolo Letele, who will receive R7.9 million.

Read the full original of this report, which includes a table of what the top executives will earn, at BusinessTech


WORKPLACE CONDITIONS

Bargaining Council probe into waitron conditions at Mugg & Bean outlets after Cosatu pressure

The Citizen reports that labour inspections are to be conducted at all Mugg & Bean outlets, according to the Bargaining Council for the Restaurant, Catering and Allied Trades.  This follows a report by The Citizen on the plight of waitrons at various franchises in Johannesburg.  Maggie Pooe, the council’s general secretary, said the inspections would be to ensure compliance with the council’s collective agreement rules.  Trade union federation Cosatu has demanded answers from the body, following the news report.  Cosatu was outraged by allegations that waitrons were made to pay a breakage fee, among other deductions, despite not earning an actual salary.  According to the council, a deduction is only permitted with the written consent of the employee.  More waitrons have since come forward to complain, alleging that they do not earn a minimum wage.  According to the council, employees can be remunerated on a commission, but such remuneration cannot be less than the minimum wage rate prescribed by the council.  As of July last year, this amounted to R20.50 an hour.  One waitron’s account of working conditions at a Mugg & Bean outlet near Midrand painted a bleak picture of what waitrons have endured there over the past year.  The franchisers have denied responsibility for the practices of their franchisees, saying all Mugg & Bean outlets were obliged to comply with the law.

Read more of this report by Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni, which appeared on page 5 of The Citizen of 21 January 2019, at SA Labour News


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

About 100 job cuts loom as Distell restructures supply chain network

BusinessLive reports that listed company Distell, producer and marketer of wines, spirits, ciders and other alcoholic beverages, could retrench about 100 employees as part of the restructuring of its supply chain network.  The company has over 4,000 employees.  The changes, which will entail closure of some operations, as well as increased capacity at other sites, are meant to improve efficiency and unlock growth potential.  The move is part of the company’s strategy to move bottling activities closer to market.  Distell announced on Monday plans to scale down manufacturing activities at its Green Park operation in Cape Town, by relocating the bottling and processing activities at the plant to other existing operations such as Adam Tas in Stellenbosch and to operations in Gauteng.  The Green Park scaling down will affect about 800 employees.  The company has, however, created a total of 550 new positions at its facilities in the Western Cape and another 150 in Gauteng following changes to existing facilities in Wadeville and Springs.  The number of employees affected by forced retrenchments could be less than 100 if other employees within the group take up an offer to older staff of voluntary retrenchments.

Read Siseko Njobeni’s report on this matter in full at BusinessLive

SABC says staff retrenchments not cancelled, process still on hold

News24 reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said on Monday in a statement that it had not made a decision to cancel staff retrenchments, but that the process was still on hold.  The financially-stressed public broadcaster issued the statement in light of what it said were incorrect reports that its board had taken a decision to suspend the retrenchment process.  Last September, the SABC announced a restructuring process that would involve the retrenchment of 1,200 freelancers and 981 permanent employees.  The so-called ‘Section 189’ was later put on hold.  "This is still the case and to date no decision to the contrary has been made," Monday's statement read.  The broadcaster said it was continuing "to engage with relevant stakeholders" on various matters and was working to find solutions.  The Department of Communications in 2018 repeatedly voiced concerns over the proposed retrenchments.

Read Lameez Omarjee’s report on this story in full at Fin24


RETIREMENT AND OTHER EMPLOYEE FUNDS

Behind new cautious approach of unions towards prescribed pension fund assets

BusinessLive reports that organised labour, which has championed the notion of prescribed assets for pension funds in the past, says high levels of corruption mean that workers must be cautious about how their funds are used by the state.  Labour federation Cosatu, which has been at the forefront of the campaign calling for pension funds to have to dedicate a set portion of their portfolio to investment in the state, is now calling for caution on the adoption of the proposal.  In its recent general election manifesto, the ANC said it would "investigate the introduction of prescribed assets on financial institutions’ funds to unlock resources for investments in social and economic development".  This could lead to the country’s savings pool being used towards funding state-owned entities (SOEs) as well as housing and infrastructure.  But on Monday, Cosatu’s Matthew Parks said they would not allow pension funds to be used as "petty cash for the state".  He emphasised Cosatu’s long-standing position that it supported investment in social and economic development such as infrastructure, but said the backing was conditional on guarantees of healthy above-inflation investment growth and sustainability.  “Prescribed asset investments must be transparent and protected from corruption," Parks said.  The Public Service Association (PSA) has also taken a cautious approach.  The SA Federation of Trade Unions (Fedusa) said, while labour had campaigned for prescribed assets, it was worried "about the levels of corruption and certainly do not want to open another trough".

Read Theto Mahlakoana’s report on this matter in full at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS / SPECIAL LEAVE

Two PIC officials involved in Ayo transaction suspended

BusinessLive reports that in an announcement on Tuesday at the start of the second day of the inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), it was announced that the executive for listed investments, Fidelis Madavo, had been suspended by the PIC with immediate effect.  The PIC subsequently released a statement that assistant portfolio manager Victor Seanie had been suspended along with Madavo.  The PIC said:  “A preliminary investigation report was submitted to the board on January 21.  The preliminary report clearly reflects a blatant flouting of governance and approval processes of the PIC.  Employees of the PIC have also been implicated in these irregularities.”  The investment in Iqbal Survé’s Ayo Technologies by the PIC had been a controversial transaction.  The PIC invested R4.3bn in Ayo at the time of its listing on the JSE for just a 29% stake.  Rumours circulated that no substantive due diligence had been done by the state-owned asset manager on the investment.  Some analysts also questioned how the PIC could justify the valuation for a business that had a net asset value of just a few cents per share.  Madavo was present at the inquiry on Tuesday and has agreed to testify under oath to the commission.

Read Warren Thompson’s report on this story in full at BusinessLive. Read too, PIC suspends two staff members following probe into Ayo deal, at City Press

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Armscor CEO Kevin Wakeford on special leave after Bosasa claims, at BusinessLive


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT TO WORK

Nine platforms at Cape Town train station to be closed for a week for upgrade of signals

Cape Times reports that nine platforms at Cape Town railway station will be closed to the public for a week to allow for a signal system upgrade.  Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott indicated that the upgrade would be from 26 to 30 January.  She said the installation of the new resignalling project was vital to address obsolescence in the rail network because the current signalling system was old, heavily copper-reliant and prone to copper theft and vandalism.  The upgrades formed part of completion of the second-phase commissioning at the station.  The fire-damaged platforms, numbers 17, 18 and 19, were still under repair and would also be commissioned for the signalling upgrade after their refurbishment.  Commuters are advised to scrutinise the region’s social media or phone the toll-free Transport Information Centre at 0800-656-463 for daily updates.

Read Raphael Wolf’s report in this regard in full at Cape Times


OTHER REPORTS

EFF student leader in trouble for wearing SANDF gear in TV interview

TimesLIVE reports that the military has not taken kindly to an EFF student leader who appeared on television on Monday wearing a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) camouflage shirt and a red beret.  Aseza Mayaphi, EFF student command secretary at the University of the Western Cape, was interviewed by eNCA wearing the outfit.  The SANDF said in a statement that anyone who was not a member of the army but wore its uniform was committing an offence and would be prosecuted.  Noting that the “young man” who was interviewed on television was "not a SANDF member", the force further reiterated that “wearing the SANDF uniform when you are not a SANDF member is a punishable offence and anyone who is caught committing this illegal act will be prosecuted.”

Read Ernest Mabuza’s full original report on this story at TimesLIVE


OTHER MISCELLANEOUS NEWS HEADLINES

  • Sixteen top jobs in South Africa that pay more than R2.5 million a year, at BusinessTech
  • The salaries that top finance and accounting professionals can expect to earn in 2019, at BusinessTech
  • Cape Town teacher slams allegations of lessons about Satanism, at Daily Voice

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page