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, 12 September 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Gauteng government issues OHS compliance notices to landlords it leases building from

News24Wire reports that the Gauteng government has issued landlords who own the 13 properties leased by the province with compliance notices in a bid to improve on the Occupation Health and Safety (OHS) of all employees working in the buildings.  Infrastructure Development MEC Tasneem Motara advised that in 2017 her department had initiated a project to do condition assessments on all occupied GPG buildings.  The assessment was completed at the end of August 2018, only a couple of weeks before the tragic Bank of Lisbon fire in September 2018.  Motara advised further that:  "Stemming from the report, affected buildings were voluntarily evacuated.  We undertook emergency OHS compliance activities such as clearing fire escape routes, ensuring that signage was put up and visible, air and water quality assessments, as well as training of staff from various departments on OHS."  She said they would continue to ensure that their staff were trained and up to date with the safety measures required in occupied buildings.  “We are committed to house our tenants in fully compliant, safe and reliable facilities so that service delivery provided by GPG will not be adversely affected at any point,” she said.

Read the full original of the above report at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Hell run for foreign truckers in SA, at Financial Mail
  • Shot Cape Town cop raring to get back to work once he’s recovered, at The Citizen
  • Report on parliamentary official’s suicide to be presented to his family, at The Citizen


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Samwu distances itself from faction-signed MOU with City of Johannesburg

The Star reports that a faction of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has set itself on a collision course with the City of Johannesburg’s mayor Herman Mashaba following his decision to recognise another rival group.  Last month, Mashaba and the rival Samwu members entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which both agreed to resolve disputes on all labour-related matters, including strike actions.  However, general secretary Koena Ramotlou on Tuesday noted that his union’s special central executive committee (SCEC) meeting held at the weekend had been informed of the MOU signed “by individuals purporting to be representing Samwu and the City of Johannesburg”.  He said that the SCEC considered the agreement “as non-binding to the union” and as such supported the intentions by its members in the City of Johannesburg to declare a dispute over the MOU.  “We reaffirm that a strike is a constitutional right of workers and as such cannot be taken away from our members through the signing of MOUs.  We, therefore, distance the union from this personal arrangement with the City of Johannesburg, as it contradicts the prescripts of the Labour Relations Act and is not in the interest of municipal workers, and our members in particular,” Ramotlou indicated.  The city declined to comment on his statements.

Read the full original of the above report by Baldwin Ndaba at Independent News


MINING LABOUR

100,000 coal jobs at risk by 2030 if government fails to lock in future for SA coal sector, warns Lurco’s Aubrey Chauke

Miningmx reports that Aubrey Chauke, COO of Lurco Group, a privately-held coal miner, has noted that jobs were at risk in SA’s coal sector owing to difficult trading conditions in export markets and unattractive regulatory prospects domestically.  He warned that 100,000 jobs might be lost by 2030 if coal was less preferred than other energy sources in the SA government’s energy blueprint, the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).  The IRP is due to be submitted to Cabinet by mines and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, this month.  According to the Minerals Council SA (previously called the Chamber of Mines), the coal industry contributed R130bn to the economy annually and was responsible for about 86,000 direct jobs and 170,000 more in adjacent industries.  “Despite coal’s contribution to the economy in past years, the sector is under attack on several fronts, reflecting a global shift away from coal towards gas and renewables.  While there is no question about the need to move towards cleaner energy sources, the wholesale rejection of a coal sector that has kept — and continues to keep — the lights on is alarming,” said Chauke.

Read the full original of the above report by David McKay at Miningmx

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • SA mining output rises for first time in 9 months, at Fin24
  • A bad week for Gwede Mantashe, at BusinessLive


SOEs IN CRISIS

Cosatu warns of unprecedented mass strike if Eskom workers are retrenched

BusinessLive reports that trade union federation Cosatu says it will not compromise on its demands that no Eskom employee be retrenched during the turnaround of the utility, and that the parastatal not be privatised.  Reducing Eskom’s bloated staff complement of 48,000 employees is regarded by some analysts as an essential part of any drive to reduce costs and putting the power utility on a sound financial footing.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a Cosatu affiliate, supported the federation’s demands in a submission to MPs.  “No serious union can agree to see its members thrown into the unemployment queue,” Cosatu parliamentary liaison officer Matthew Parks told MPs.  He stated that both Cosatu and the NUM supported additional funding for Eskom, albeit with conditions.  “Any attempt to retrench workers will be an unmanageable provocation.  It will force workers to go on an unprecedented mass strike,” he warned.  Parks said Cosatu and the NUM would engage with the government at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) in the next 10 days to ensure that a turnaround plan was put in place.

Read the full original of the above report by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive. Read too, Unions back government’s extra R59bn funding for Eskom, at The Citizen

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Treasury approves R300m bailout for SA Express, airline's CEO says, at BusinessLive
  • Motsoeneng denies making irregular appointments at the SABC, at The Citizen
  • ‘I'm not an angel,’ says Hlaudi Motsoeneng as he concedes to ‘many mistakes’ at the SABC, at BusinessLive


LABOUR MARKET / JOB CREATION

Motor industry set to create 16,000 new jobs in next five years

BusinessLive reports that as much as R60bn could be invested in the SA vehicle and component manufacturing industries in the next five years according to Andrew Kirby, President of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa).  Kirby, who is CEO of Toyota SA Motors, indicated at the annual Naamsa Conference on 22 August that the investment could be made up by R40bn in direct investments by the seven vehicle manufacturers with an additional R20bn going into component making.  Kirby said the local motor industry was not only leading the drive to increase industrialisation in the country but also employed 407,000 people directly.  In his view, this number could be tripled either directly or indirectly in the overall automotive industry.  Also speaking at the conference, trade, industry and competition minister Ebrahim Patel said the government realised the importance of a healthy and growing motor industry and identified six focus areas to drive the industry forward.  He stated noted that the Motor Industry Masterplan, which was announced last November, by 2035 aimed to grow local vehicle production to 1% of global output, double employment, increase local content to 60%, improve global competitiveness and achieve transformation.

Read the full original of the above report at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • How 4IR will change the automotive jobs market, at BusinessLive


RECRUITMENT / STAFFING / INSOURCING

KZN health lifts last week’s surprise ban on recruiting foreign doctors

BL Premium reports that the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) health department published a circular last week banning the recruitment of foreign doctors.  This came amid a wave of xenophobic attacks and deadly violence that has heightened tensions between SA and its African trading partners.  The department said it wanted to make space for newly qualified locals who were returning from training in Cuba.  The department retracted the circular on Wednesday for reasons it has yet to explain, according to the national health department and SA’s biggest doctors’ union, the SA Medical Association (Sama).  In the circular, dated 4 September, KZN’s acting head of health, Musa Gumede, said the recruitment and employment of foreign health professionals had been suspended.  He advised that the department had recruited “a huge number” of SA citizens to be trained as doctors in Cuba, and would have insufficient posts and funds to absorb them unless the recruitment and employment of foreign doctors was halted.  The KZN health department apparently employs 336 foreign doctors from 57 countries.  Sama’s Mvuyisi Mzukwa commented that the directive was ill-considered and also puzzling, as government policy prioritised the hiring of SA doctors over foreign nationals.

Read the full original of the above report by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive (paywall access only). Read too, KZN health bosses under fire over foreign doctors to-and-fro, at The Citizen

Survey shows employers playing it safe with recruitment in tough times

The Citizen reports that the overall South African employment outlook for the fourth quarter of the year stands at +4% hiring prospects, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.  The survey indicated that employers had soft hiring intentions for the last quarter of the year.  While 10% of employers anticipated an increase in payrolls, 6% expected a decrease and 82% saw no change.  Lyndy van den Barselaar, MD of ManpowerGroup SA, commented:  “As we move into the last quarter of 2019, South Africa’s economy continues to be weighed down by factors such as slow economic growth, policy uncertainty and a high unemployment rate.  This can translate into businesses exercising caution around hiring and spending-related activity, which is reflected in 82% of responding companies expecting to make no change in their hiring strategies during the October to December timeframe.”  She said the Eastern Cape employers forecasted the strongest labour market, reporting a net employment outlook of +7%, while outlooks of +6% and +5% were reported in KwaZulu-Natal and Free State, respectively.  “There are currently initiatives taking place in the Eastern Cape that are focused on the development of the region that are well-placed to create employment,” noted Van den Barselaar.  She mentioned that the Coega Special Economic Zone in Nelson Mandela Bay recently announced it had secured an additional 18 investors during the 2018-19 financial year.

Read the full original of the above report by Gcina Ntsaluba at The Citizen

UCT says it won’t bow to pressure from outsourced workers demanding jobs

News24Wire reports that the University of Cape Town (UCT) says it will not tolerate further disruptions by a group of people not employed by it, but who have protested on its campus wanting the institution to give them jobs.  According to the university, the protesters comprise about 60 workers employed by Bytes Document Centre, Protea Boekwinkel, Food and Connect (Pty) Ltd, Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, Protea Hotel Mowbray, Food Vendors and the Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (Shawco).  They provide a range of services to the university and have been protesting at UCT for the past two weeks, demanding to be in-sourced.  The institution was, however, unable to address their demands as they were employed by independent business entities outside of the university, UCT spokesperson Elijah Mohololahe indicated.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, the group entered several UCT buildings, including kitchens and classrooms, and instructed staff and students to leave the buildings, resulting in several classes being abandoned.  The disruption meant students could not get food in campus cafeterias and had to be given vouchers.  The institution also clarified that the protests were in no way related to sexual and gender-based violence or labour issues by its own staff.

Read the full original of the above report at The Citizen


RETRENCHMENTS / RESTRUCTURING

Tongaat Hulett’s financial meltdown hits home with retrenchments and evictions

The North Coast Courier writes that the human impact of the huge financial meltdown faced by sugar giant Tongaat Hulett bit this week, when 210 families living in the company compound were told to pack their bags.  Workers were issued with their severance pay letters on Monday, with their employment officially terminating on 30 September.  They are but a fraction of the 5,000 people who have been handed notice since the company, the largest employer on the North Coast, began stringent cutbacks to avoid financial disaster.  The 210 workers living at Tongaat’s Maidstone Mill compound have also been served with eviction notices to vacate their homes.  Farm workers in the surrounding farms also face losing their jobs.  However, workers with children attending local schools have been granted a reprieve in their eviction notice until the end of November to accommodate their children completing the school year.  In a shareholder note issued on 31 May, Tongaat Hulett advised that a financial review had revealed that “certain past practices” did not reflect the company’s business performance accurately.  The company’s equity in its 2018 financial results had been overstated by between R3.5 billion to R4.5 billion.  Industry experts have claimed that the sugar market has been in crisis for more than 10 years now, and in SA specifically, sugar production has dropped by around a third between 2002 and 2012.  Company spokesperson Michelle Jean-Louis confirmed that “notice of retrenchment and appropriate severance packages” had been issued to a number of workers on some of the farms, but declined to provide details on the eviction notices.

Read the full original of the above report by Penny Fourie at The North Coast Courier

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Shareholders approve Group Five business rescue plans, at Moneyweb


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Head of Mpumalanga’s education department axed

News24Wire reports that Mpumalanga’s education department head, Mahlasedi Mhlabane, has been fired following an internal investigation by the integrity unit in the premier’s office.  Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane confirmed on Tuesday that Mhlabane’s contract had been suspended and would not be renewed.  Mhlabane was suspended in March while investigations were under way.  The investigation found that Mhlabane lied to the provincial government by changing figures in the department’s annual report and that she might be involved in corruption and maladministration.  Two of the main issues related to the school nutrition scheme and the supply of textbooks to pupils.  The province is facing a R100-million lawsuit from nine companies after Mhlabane apparently decided to award the nutrition scheme contracts to 17 companies that were not in the running for the tenders.  Evidence against Mhlabane included a SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) finding that, although she stated in her 2017 annual report that 63% of pupils had received textbooks, only 36% actually received study material.  

Read the original of the above report at The Citizen

Parliament set to fire its secretary – two years on

ANA reports that suspended Secretary to Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana, who was suspended more than two years ago, could face the axe after a disciplinary panel recommended that he should be summarily dismissed on four of the charges levelled against him.  Briefing MPs on Wednesday, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said Mgidlana faced a total of 13 charges.  One of the charges was withdrawn because of a lack of evidence, while he was found not guilty of five because there were no clear policies around the charges he was facing.  Modise said that on the seven charges in respect of which he was found guilty, the disciplinary panel recommended Mgidlana receive a written warning for three and be summarily dismissed because of the seriousness of the other four charges.  The recommendation will now go to the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces for a final decision.  Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen asked Modise if it would not be cheaper for Parliament to wait until Mgidlana's contract ran out later this year.  However, Modise ruled that out, saying it would leave Mgidlana free to leave the institution and walk into another job with an unblemished record.

Read the original of the above report at OFM


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

SABC dealing with cases against staff left ‘by the previous management’

News24Wire reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has indicated that it has been dealing with a number of disciplinary cases against delinquent staff members at the public broadcaster.  Cases against staff members under investigation include fraud, mismanagement, sexual harassment, editorial interference, irregular salary increases, and irregular appointments.  Spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu indicated on Thursday:  “Some of the cases date back a number of years, but were left unresolved or simply abandoned by the previous management.  Some of the employees are going through disciplinary processes, while others are either suspended or have been dismissed.”  The disciplinary processes being actively pursuing emanate from the February 2014 report of the former public protector; the February 2017 parliamentary ad hoc committee report; a number of internal audit forensic reports; and Special Investigating Unit reports.  Mthembu commented:  “All the above-mentioned reports detail malfeasance, systematic collapse of good corporate governance and complete disregard of financial management systems within the SABC.  Moreover, the auditor-general recorded a series of adverse findings against the public broadcaster, pointing to a severe deterioration of governance provisions.”  

Read the full original of the above report at The Citizen. Read too, SIU amasses proof of SABC crimes, on page 4 of Sowetan of 11 September 2019


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Prasa 'war room' up and running in order to get trains back on track, even as passenger trips plunge

News24Wire reports that according to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), a "war room", established to improve the state-owned entity’s operations, was already at work, a month after it was launched.  The agency was briefing a parliamentary oversight committee on Wednesday about its strategic and annual performance plans.  The agency appointed an interim board in April 2018 to get its house in order after years of allegations of mismanagement and poor management.  Prasa has suspended or sacked a number of senior staff following internal investigations.  The Prasa delegation, led by chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama, told MPs on Wednesday that its operational performance had suffered over the past decade, with annual passenger trips falling to 208-million in the 2018-19 financial year, from 269-million in the previous year and 634-million in 2010.  Prasa said its war room, launched by transport minister Fikile Mbalula in August and run by a technical task team with in-depth knowledge and experience in rail operations, would assess the day-to-day service performance, identify issues that hampered performance and was tasked with making quick recommendations on how to resolve them.

Read the full original of the above report at Engineering News

Twenty left with minor injuries after Cape Town train derailed at Bellville station on Thursday

News24Wire reports that some 20 passengers were treated for minor injuries after a train derailed at Bellville station on Thursday morning.  According to Metrorail, three carriages of the Cape Town-bound train derailed at about 6:08am on the Kuils River side of the station.  Two passenger trailers and a motorcoach were affected.  The injured passengers had no visible injuries and were treated on the scene.  Commuters on the affected train route were advised to find alternative transport as some lines were rerouted, suspended or were experiencing delays of up to an hour.

Read the original of the above report at The Citizen

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page