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, 6 March 2019.


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Nehawu not aware of interdict against strike at Dr Yusuf Dadoo Hospital

EWN reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) says it has not received notification of a court interdict to stop its action at the Dr Yusuf Dadoo Hospital in Krugersdorp.  Workers’ complaints relate to poor working conditions, corruption and mismanagement, but patients are bearing the brunt of the feud between staff and hospital management.  On Tuesday night, hospital management said that it had obtained an urgent interdict forcing employees to return to their posts on Wednesday morning.  Nehawu's Tshepo Mokheranyane said:  "We can confirm our workers are on strike.  On Monday workers across unions decided to disengage.  They want to get management’s attention."  Meanwhile, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa), whose members are also part of the demonstration, said service delivery at hospitals should never be disrupted, but workers’ issues must not be ignored.  The union's Simphiwe Gada said:  "We believe that this could have been prevented.  All workers wanted to do last week was engage with management, but management became stubborn."

Read the original of Mia Lindeque’s short report on the strike at EWN. Read too, Hospital’s key units shut down as workers strike, on page 8 of Sowetan of 6 March 2019. And also, Striking workers say kitchen situation at Krugersdorp hospital dire, at EWN

Tiso Blackstar employees get CCMA nod to strike over non-payment of bonuses

The Star reports that thousands of disgruntled Tiso Blackstar staff may soon embark on national strike action following a decision on Monday by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to grant them a certificate of non-resolution of a dispute.  The workers are unhappy about the non-payment of bonuses to certain units in the media group, which owns The Sunday Times, Business Day, Sowetan, Daily Dispatch and Financial Mail.  Last month, an internal memorandum sent to senior management was leaked after the group’s non-payment of bonuses.  Employees then sought representation from the Information Communication Technology Union (ICTU), which approached the CCMA.  On Monday, the union members were granted permission to strike.  Tiso Blackstar managing director of media, Andy Gill, said the company did award bonuses to divisions that had met the criteria, as well as awarding discretionary bonuses to top performers.  Gill said the union had yet to issue a strike notice.  ICTU deputy president Origenius Mogoatlhe advised that the logistics of the strike had not yet been worked out.  Mogoatlhe added that the workers were demanding 25% of the total cost to company with regard to the profit that the company made.

Read more of the report on this story at SA Labour News


PROTESTS / MARCHES

Community health workers blockade entrances to Gauteng health department building in Pretoria on Tuesday

GroundUp reports that on Tuesday Gauteng community health care workers blocked entrances to the Department of Health building on Thabo Sehume Street in Tshwane.  They barricaded the main gate with stones and branches of trees.  “We are tired of being ignored … They are taking us for fools,” a protester shouted.  The workers were demanding to see Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who was not in the building.  Later, security personnel pepper-sprayed some of the workers, who hurled insults in return and shut the gates.  At issue was the one-year fixed term contract currently being distributed to community health care workers.  Two weeks ago the workers protested over the contracts at the Department of Health in Johannesburg and officials promised a reply within a week, but it did not materialise.  Tshepo Masego from Simunye clinic in Ekurhuleni, said:  “We completed all training under the department … We want to earn R10,500, which is a living wage.  We should earn the same as other nurses.  We will continue fighting until things become right.”  Meanwhile dozens of community health care workers from around Pretoria filled the Department of Health Tshwane District Office at the corner of Lilian Ngoyi and Pretorius streets.  Many of them have been out of work since refusing to sign contracts in 2016.  A departmental spokesperson said they would respond on Wednesday.

Read the full original of Kimberly Mutandiro’s report on the protest at GroundUp


PRICES / TARIFFS

Petrol and diesel increase will have negative effect on economy, cautions Uasa

ANA reports that the United Association of SA (Uasa) on Monday said the 74 cents per litre of petrol increase and almost R1 per litre of diesel increase that workers will pay as from Wednesday, combined with the increase in toll gate fees that came into effect on Friday, would have a negative effect on the economy.  The trade union’s spokesperson Stanford Mazhindu said:  "Uasa is far from happy with these developments.  Not only will this increase the cost of travelling, but the ripple effect on the prices of consumer goods will deplete workers’ finances and buying power even more."  The trade union said that coupled with the carbon tax, which will come into effect on 1 June this year and is expected to add another 30 cents to the fuel levy, workers and poor people will be hit the hardest.  "The resulting higher costs of travelling will make it even harder for the employed to get to work and for unemployed job seekers to travel to job interviews – a worrying point given our sky-high unemployment rate," said Mazhindu.

The original of this short report is at Business Report


LABOUR MARKET / JOBS / WORK OPPORTUNITIES

VWSA provides 560 work opportunities under the YES programme

Engineering News reports that Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has created work opportunities for 560 unemployed youth through the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme, the company indicated in a statement on Tuesday.  The group began a 12-month employment period with VWSA on 1 March.  The group will be placed across the country and in different business areas such as VWSA’s National Sales Organisation, in Gauteng, and in technical areas in the manufacturing plant, in Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape, which has employed 70 people.  The VWSA dealership network has also taken in 230 people, while YES small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) host partners taking are 260 people.  YES, which was recently launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is a business-led collaborative programme, the aim of which is to enable young people (black youth between the ages of 18 to 35) without formal qualifications to get work and internship opportunities for a 12-month period, with the ultimate aim of improving their chances of gaining long-term quality employment.  VWSA will pay the salaries of each of the candidates and each candidate will receive work readiness training that will assist in preparing and guiding them through their work experience.

Read the full original of the report on this story at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Shocking youth unemployment figures revealed, at Saturday Star
  • Opinion: SA’s job problem can be fixed by small business, at BusinessLive


SPORTS TRANSFORMATION CHARTER

Solidarity in court on Wednesday to have sports transformation charter set aside

The Citizen reports that Solidarity on Tuesday presented its case to oppose the Ministry of Sport and Recreation’s proposed Transformation Charter and have it set aside.  The trade union presented arguments in the Labour Court in Braamfontein, contending that the government was violating international regulations at more than one level.  Solidarity’s arguments suggested that the proposed charter might create employment barriers, especially against people who were not considered black.  The trade union questioned the constitutionality of the proposed charter.  Among the bodies opposing the application were the South African Rugby Union, Cricket South Africa, Athletics South Africa, Netball South Africa, and the department of sports and recreation.  Solidarity’s Werner Human said that, should the charter be approved, it would mean sports minister Tokozile Xasa would yield unlimited power over sport, with the result that should a sport not meet the quota percentage, that particular sport’s funding could be stopped.

Read the full original of the report on this matter at The Citizen


GOLDEN HANDSHAKE

VUT pays director R4m golden handshake to go after feud with varsity head turned toxic

Sowetan reports that the breakdown in relations between the vice-chancellor of the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and a senior director has led to the latter walking away with a R4m settlement.  Mpho Diago left with a settlement worth two years of his salary and his ongoing studies being paid for.  He and the vice-chancellor, Professor Gordon Zide, have been clashing since 2017 when Zide was appointed as head of VUT.  The settlement states that their working relationship had broken down and both agreed to “terminate the employment contract and resolve [their] dispute”.  Diago was paid out last week and left the university.  He has withdrawn a CCMA case of victimisation.  A university spokesperson said senior HR staff and management had tried to resolve issues between the two, but Diago would not “smoke a peace pipe”.  In November, Diago complained in a letter to the VUT council about the running of the university and asked Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor to get involved.  He alleged fraud, mismanagement and breach of human resource policies.  He has now lodged a complaint at the public protector’s office and is waiting for the council to investigate the issues he raised, as ordered by Pandor.  He has handed over his alleged evidence to union Nehawu, which said last week it would send it to the minister, the ANC and the police.

Read more of the Sowetan report on the above by Katharine Child at SA Labour News


BASIC EDUCATION

Eastern Cape principal and head of department suspended for destroying exam papers of five pupils as punishment

DispatchLIVE reports that an Eastern Cape school principal and his head of department have been suspended after admitting to destroying the examination papers of five pupils last year.  The education department said the two had told them that they destroyed the papers to punish the pupils for bunking extra classes in preparation for the final exams.  The school is in Port St Johns.  The pupils were in grade 12 and the papers were for technical science.  The incident came to light after markers picked up that the names of the affected pupils were scratched off the register.  Upon investigation, it transpired that the parcel containing the scripts had the number of the scripts changed from 31 to 26.  Provincial education superintendent-general Temba Kojana said that the conduct of the teachers was unacceptable.  One of the pupils, Mzuvukile Majali, spoke of his shock when the principal told him that his paper had been lost in Bhisho.   Read the original of Sino Majangaza’s short report on this story at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • “If I was able to do something else, I would,” says Khayelitsha teacher, at GroundUp
  • SAHRC commissioners shocked at how teachers have to deal with 100 pupils at a time at Mfuleni schools, at Cape Times


SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / QUALIFICATIONS

Pawusa lambasts waste of R40m on unaccredited DUT courses for mortuary staff

Daily News reports that the Public and Allied Workers’ Union of SA (Pawusa) has lambasted the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) health department for “wasting” about R40 million on an unaccredited course for mortuary technicians.  The funds were paid for training at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in about 2008, but the course was not recognised by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) or the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA).  Mortuary technicians dissect bodies for forensic pathologists to examine.  The health department had managed to get the course registered only with the Higher Education Department.  The HPCSA declined to register the course and the training was postponed after running for two years.  Pawusa’s Halalisani Gumede said they wrote to the department last year requesting an investigation and the possible recovery of the money spent on the course.  In a written reply dated 21 February, the department said the matter had been closed because irregularities could not be identified due to a lack of relevant documents.  Gumede said the department was short of professional technicians and that the lost money could have been better used to recruit or train more people in the speciality.  Mary de Haas of the Medical Rights Advocacy Network said staffing issues were central to the current “dysfunctionality” of the mortuaries.

Read the full original of Chris Ndaliso’s report on the above at Daily News


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Tshwane's Mayor Mokgalapa says he lacks the authority to remove city manager Mosola

EWN reports that Tshwane’s new mayor Stevens Mokgalapa has defended Moeketsi Mosola remaining in his position as city manager, arguing that he lacks the powers to oust him.  Mosola has been accused of disregarding legal processes in the awarding of a R12 billion contract to engineering firm GladAfrica.  The contract was cancelled after an Auditor-General’s report found that it was irregular.  Mokgalapa, who has been accused of failing to act against Mosola, was on the Karima Brown Show on Tuesday night and said:  “Remember the municipal manager is a Section 56 employee of council.  This means he gets fired by council.  It can be taken to council, but as you know it was turned down thrice by the ANC and EFF.”  Former mayor Solly Msimanga fell out with Moeketsi after the scandal came to light last year and recommended to council that he be suspended.

The original of this short report by Theto Mahlakoana is at EWN


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

PIC accused of rewarding corruption cover-ups with extra pay, bonuses

Bloomberg reports that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) rewarded employees with extra pay and bonuses for helping to cover up a culture of mismanagement and corruption at the money manager, according to the former chief technology officer.  The PIC, which has assets of more than R2-trillion and manages the pension funds of government-workers, has increasingly come under the spotlight as board members, managers and other workers testify at an ongoing commission of inquiry into its affairs.  Luyanda Ntuane said at the inquiry on Tuesday:  “I believe the commission must investigate and look into the payroll of the PIC and note the changes in salaries and bonus payouts over the years.  Some of the employees have enjoyed this growth in salaries, but equally know that the context under which they were applied was usually to hide the true beneficiaries of the increases.”  In the three and a half years Ntuane worked at PIC, he said the restructuring of departments at least five times was used to justify increases.  He described how the salaries of some newly graduated employees would more than double before they had gone through a single review period and how there were instances where workers who were toeing the line would end up earning more than their managers.

Read the full original of Janice Kew’s report on the above at Fin24

Domestic worker accused of stealing employer’s casino winnings denied bail

The Citizen reports that a 34-year-old domestic worker, who was arrested following a theft at a home in Umhlatuzana, KwaZulu-Natal, has been denied bail.  Nobukhosi Nelly Phakathi, who was arrested in Ntanini Reserve in Eshowe, where a large sum of cash was also found, appeared in the Chatsworth Magistrate Court last week.  She was remanded into custody and will reappear in court for a formal bail application this week.  The homeowner said he won the large amount of cash at a casino on 14 February.  He reported further:  “I won R1,050,000 at the casino and my family and I [were] still shocked at winning such a large amount of money.  We kept the money in the safe at our home.  While I was away from home, I received a call saying the domestic worker, who we had employed for the last three and a half years, was packing up her stuff and leaving.  Becoming suspicious, we got home to find her belongings removed and the safe, which held the money and my firearm, was empty.”

Read the short original report on this story at The Citizen


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT TO WORK

Soweto passengers lucky to survive burning taxi on Golden Highway as bystanders get them out

TimesLIVE reports that a passenger in the front seat had to be hauled out of a burning taxi through the driver's shattered window on the Soweto Golden Highway, near Booysens, on Wednesday morning.  Witness Bruce Khonte said:  "I first heard the taxi making a weird sound and driving at a very high speed … Then it stopped and fell on its side.  My colleague and I ran towards it and more people started coming.  We were able to get it back on to its wheels, but it started burning from the back, just before all the people could get out."  According to Khonte, the taxi was carrying about 10 passengers but only one, the passenger in the front seat, was badly injured.  The cause of the fire is unclear.  Only the taxi’s scorched metal frame remains.  The taxi was reportedly transporting passengers from Meadowlands to the Johannesburg CBD.

Read the full original of Nonkululeko Njilo’s report on this story at TimesLIVE


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • SARB still sees 2019 growth at 1.7%, at Engineering News
  • Hardworking and dedicated, but these janitors in East London can go unpaid for weeks, at GroundUp

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page