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 early morning roundup, see summaries
of our selection of recent South African labour-
labour-related reports.


TOP STORY

Telkom ordered to pay employees nearly R5 million over unfair implementation of 2017 wage increase

Fin24 reports that a long-standing salary dispute between Telkom and trade union Solidarity has ended with a R4.6 million award for workers. On Monday, Solidarity explained the arbitration award was based on the interpretation of a 6% salary increase agreement entered into with Telkom, which it believed the company had not implemented fairly. The increase came into effect in April 2017. "Telkom decided unilaterally to calculate the 6% increase on the 50th percentile of each individual’s functional area, and not on the total package of each individual employee as per the agreement," said Linda Senekal, the union’s spokesperson for the communication industry.   Solidarity said the matter had been unresolved since 2017. Telkom had taken the first award on revision, and the Labour Court had sent the matter for arbitration. "After several tough arbitration sessions which took place between February 2020 and May 2021, Solidarity again won the case," said Senekal.   Solidarity described the latest award, which will put R4.6 million into the pockets of thousands of workers, as victory for a workforce battered by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.   In terms of the award, Telkom must pay employees according to the provisions of the agreement as agreed upon in 2016, which means that the 6% salary increase must be granted based on the individual’s total package. Telkom has indicated that the 1,175 affected employees will be paid their outstanding money next month.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sibongile Khumalo & Penelope Mashego at Fin24. Lees ook, Telkom skuld werkers amper R5 miljoen ná arbitrasie, by Maroela Media. Read Solidarity’s press statement on this matter at Solidarity News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Telkom to shell out R5m in unpaid wages after losing arbitration ruling, at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


COVID-19 VACCINATION ROLLOUT

Basic education department has a plan for school staff who could not get a Covid-19 jab due to riots

News24 reports that according to the Department of Basic Education (DBE), teachers and support staff who could not get the Covid-19 vaccine due to the riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal will still be afforded an opportunity to do so. DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga indicated that 525,000 education workers had been vaccinated so far. The department initially set itself a target of vaccinating 582,000 workers both in public and private institutions, inclusive of food handlers, hostel staff and grounds personnel. The DBE’s drive concluded last week Wednesday, but it ended with hiccups in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as riots hit certain areas. Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga last week said the department had not expected to vaccinate 100% of its personnel because of hesitancy and other factors, but it was pleased that the numbers were high. "The Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) will automatically reschedule appointments for those unable to attend; it is programmed to reschedule up to two missed appointments," the department said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sesona Ngqakamba at News24

As calm returns, state confident it will reach 250,000 Covid-19 jabs a day

BL Premium reports that the government expects to reach a daily coronavirus vaccination target of 250,000 doses a day by the end of the week. This as inoculation resumes in areas affected by last week’s unrest and the pace picks up in the rest of SA. Accelerating the vaccination programme has assumed new urgency as SA grapples a third surge in infections and is vital if the government is to achieve its goal of inoculating more than 40-million adults, or two thirds of the population, by March. “We lost opportunities due to the violence — probably 300,000 doses had to be deferred,” said Nicholas Crisp, the health department’s deputy director-general for National Health Insurance. Public sector health facilities were left largely unscathed by last week’s looting and violence, but more than 200 private sector GP practices and dozens of pharmacies were targeted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, prompting several private-sector operators including Discovery and Momentum to temporarily close their vaccination sites nationwide as a precaution.   KwaZulu-Natal had adequate vaccine stock in its pipeline and deliveries to the province were expected to resume later this week, said Crisp. At least 54 independent pharmacies and dozens more operated by corporate chains were affected by the violence, with dispensaries stripped of medicines and extensive damage wrought on infrastructure. Warehouses operated by Pharmed, City Med, Alpha Pharm, Transphar and Dis-Chem reopened on Monday, but Clicks-owned UPD remained closed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Doctor bust for breaching curfew says he will do it to attend emergencies, at SowetanLive


PUBLIC UNREST IN KZN AND GAUTENG

Toyota issues warning about its future in Durban due to unrest

BL Premium reports that according to Toyota SA Motors (TSAM), the eThekwini Municipality has been unable to provide reassurances about restoring stability in the wake of violent riots, thereby putting the carmaker’s investment plans at risk and meaning some production could be lost to other countries. In a letter addressed eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, Toyota appealed for feedback on the city’s plans to bring order and stability, so that it could assess its own plans for investment and production. Toyota’s manufacturing facilities in the south of Durban have been closed since Monday last week as violence and looting gripped the province, with Toyota saying this had left it “feeling very uncertain about the future of our business in KwaZulu-Natal”. “The loss of production over the past week means that TSAM will more than likely lose some of this business to one of our other global Toyota affiliates because our European customers will not wait for their orders,” the group said. Toyota added that the closure of the N3 to Gauteng meant it was unable to deliver vehicles to that province. TSAM expects its sales to drop as much as 10% in July.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Karl Gernetzky at BusinessLive (paywall access only). Lees ook, Groot probleme vir werkers as Toyota uit KZN onttrek, by Maroela Media

Companies seek to disinvest from KwaZulu-Natal and even SA after government failed to protect them during unrest

BL Premium reports that unrest has dealt a severe blow to investor confidence, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned as it engages with several companies seeking to divest from the province and possibly the country. Mpume Langa, first vice-president of the chamber, said on Monday: “They are talking disinvestment already from SA, and specifically from KwaZulu-Natal. We are hoping that we can be able to convince them otherwise.   But with that being said, once you’ve seen the damage suffered, you can’t ignore that.... As a company or as a business, it means you are going to review where you investing and also try to mitigate risk differently.” Langa noted that major foreign companies such as Toyota, Defy, LG and Massmart were among those that have invested in the province. She said businesses in the province felt abandoned last week during the riots as the government’s response proved to be too little, too late for many business owners. Langa expressed the hope that the government and the wider business community would be able to create some sense of security and rebuild some level of trust with these companies. The first step to regaining trust would be through engagements, although Langa said “it will take some time, because right now they are feeling very uncomfortable”. Local investors such as the KwaZulu-Natal headquartered Mr Price and the Spar Group have also been affected.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lisa Steyn at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Foreign truck drivers attacked under cover of looting, demand compensation from SA

Moneyweb reports that groups representing foreign drivers, such as the Zimbabwe Truckers Association and the SADC (Southern African Development Community) Truck Drivers Association, report that several of their members were attacked last week under the cover of the general looting that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. “There is a danger that this situation spirals out of control, and South African drivers operating in neighbouring countries get targeted for tit-for-tat violence,” warned Advocate Simba Chitando, who is representing several foreign truck drivers associations in seeking police or army protection against attackers operating on SA roads. A complaint has been lodged with the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague in the Netherlands, which says it is monitoring the situation of foreign drivers in SA, though so far has declined to open an investigation. That was before the events of last week. More than 200 foreign truck drivers have been murdered in SA in recent years. Foreign truckers point the finger at groups such as the All Truck Drivers’ Foundation (ATDF), which has called for a ban on foreign drivers but has publicly condemned violence against foreign truck drivers. The government is aware of the situation with foreign drivers, but has sought to delay finding any resolution. The consequences of that prevarication were on full display last week, said Chitando. Moneyweb understands that behind-the-scenes negotiations are underway to provide compensation for the families of murdered truck drivers, though it is still unknown whether armed escorts will be provided for foreign-driven trucks.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ciaran Ryan at Moneyweb

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Toyota says government has 'gone a long way' in easing its fears about KZN future, at Engineering News
  • Toyota’s production line set to restart on Tuesday, at BusinessLive (paywall access only)
  • SMEs hit hard by rising costs, restrictions and heavy looting, at Business Report
  • Alleged instigators of violence, looting to be named on Tuesday, at Independent Media


WAGE NEGOTIATIONS / STRIKES

Members of SA Policing Union get ready to go on strike after public sector wage talks collapse

The Star reports that the SA Policing Union (Sapu) says its members are gearing up for a strike following a breakdown of public sector wage talks. The union’s general secretary, Peter Ntsime, said they had already declared a dispute and, although the current unrest had disturbed the balloting process, union members who had been able to take part in the process had indicated that they wanted to go on strike. "We had our NEC on Friday and quite a lot of our members indicated that we have to go on strike. The only challenge that we are facing now is that the three critical provinces which are the biggest in our movement have not reported the whole information as a result of the protests taking place over the past two weeks,” Ntsime advised. He indicated that on Wednesday the union would release full details of all provinces that had voted for a strike. The outstanding provinces were the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. He pointed out that police were essential workers, but said other members of the union would go on strike on behalf of the police. These included administrative staff and those vital in helping police carry out their duties. Ntsime said the current unrest in country was a sign that police were overworked and suffering from low morale. He said the union had rejected the latest offer because it was an insult to police who risked their lives daily.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Itumeleng Mafisa at The Star


MINING LABOUR

Uitkomst colliery in KZN resumes operations after civil unrest subsides

Mining Weekly reports that coal explorer and miner MC Mining reports that operations at its 70%-owned Uitkomst colliery, in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), resumed on 19 July. Operations at the mine were temporarily shut last week amid looting, violence and vandalism in response to the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma.   According to MC Mining, its bus service providers have advised that the civil unrest in and around the towns and communities where the majority of the Uitkomst mine employees and contractors reside has sufficiently dissipated for employees to safely transit to and from the colliery. The temporary suspension of operations resulted in the loss of three and half days of run-of-mine coal production.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Mining Weekly

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Assmang calls force majeure on manganese alloys in SA, at Moneyweb
  • Arqomanzi proposes alternative to drawn out court battle for control over Lily, Barbrook mines, at Mining Weekly


MARIKANA DEATHS

Ill-health of witness and of defence lawyer delays Marikana trial

News24 reports that the trial of former North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe and five other police officers could not resume on Monday due to the ill-health of a state witness and a defence attorney. According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), this resulted in the High Court in Mahikeng postponing the matter to 26 July 2021.   Mpembe and his co-accused, retired Colonel Salmon Vermaak, Constable Nkosana Mguye and Warrant Officers Collin Mogale, Joseph Sekgwetla, and Khazamola Makhubela face charges in connection with the 13 August 2012 incident at Lonmin K3 shaft, when police clashed with striking miners resulting in five people being killed. Mineworkers Semi Jokansi, Phumzile Sokhanyile, and Thembelakhe Mati, and police officers Hendrick Monene and Sello Lepaaku were killed during the chaotic violence. The trial had been postponed to July as defence lawyers were not ready to start cross-examining state witness Lieutenant-Colonel Omphile Joseph Merafe, who had been unit's commander of Rustenburg Public Order Policing at the time. The defence lawyers had requested time to access the study material which Merafe said public order policing were guided by when trained for crowd management.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sesona Ngqakamba at News24


SOEs IN CRISIS

Mango employees left disgruntled as government mum on salary payments

EWN reports that employees at Mango airlines on Monday said they were not sure how much longer they could continue working for free.   They have set a deadline of 10am on Tuesday for the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) or management to give answers or they will go court seeking business rescue. The state-owned company, which is in dire financial straits, is waiting for a cash injection meant for South African Airways and its subsidiaries from the government. Workers at Mango have had to make do with partial and late salary payments and many have been without pay for two months. But instead of giving up, they are pushing for a collaborative effort with government to save the airline. Chairperson of the Mango Pilots Association Jordan Butler said: “They (the government and the DPE) seem to be dragging their feet. So, if they’re not going to do it, we are going to do it as unions.” Butler said while the staff remained 100% committed, the company was hanging by a thread.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Theto Mahlakoana at EWN


BASIC INCOME GRANT

Ramaphosa says government and ANC actively giving serious consideration to introducing a basic income grant

BL Premium reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday night that both the government and the ANC were actively engaged in giving serious consideration to a basic income grant. Speaking at the annual Nelson Mandela memorial lecture after 10 days of unprecedented violence and mayhem in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, Ramaphosa said a basic income grant would show people that the government cared. "This will validate our people and show them that we are giving serious consideration to their lives ... we are giving active consideration to the grinding poverty that we continue to see in our country ... we need to address the structural inequalities in our economy," he stated. Ramaphosa also said that the government had to move faster on unemployment and job creation, especially for the youth.   Trade union federation Cosatu and numerous civil society organisations have campaigned for the introduction of a basic income grant for the unemployed since 1994. Cosatu has also appealed to the government to reintroduce the R350 Covid-19 special grant that was in place for six months over the lockdown last year. About 18-million South Africans already rely on the government for welfare grants.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Carol Paton and Hajra Omarjee at BusinessLive (paywall access only)


YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi laments crisis of youth unemployment in SA

News24 reports that according to Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, young unemployed South Africans had "it tough" even before even before the Covid-19 pandemic, but with the full effect of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions now being felt, they find themselves in a situation that's deteriorating more and more with each lockdown announcement. In response to a parliamentary question, Nxesi said the government's interventions should address youth unemployment by ensuring responsiveness with long-lasting impact. "At the onset of the pandemic, their education and training got disrupted.   Those who were looking for jobs could no longer do so, and were further locked out of the economy, whilst youth-owned businesses suffered loss of income and employment which threatened young people's livelihoods," Nxesi pointed out.   Last year, 1.4 million jobs were lost as restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 weighed on output.   It forced some businesses to cut wages, reduce staff or permanently shut down. Nxesi said the Covid-19 pandemic forced his department "to be on its toes in leading adjustment discussions in the labour market".   He went on to explain:   "Concepts such as working from home is but one of the components relating to necessary and demanded discussions that ought to be concluded at some point. They added to the discussions that we have been having on the fourth industrial revolution. Technology has been progressing. It is now advancing rapidly. The advantage is [that] young people are well versed with the technology, they are connected with that space. They are therefore willing participants. The government is banking on this positive aspect, and one is sure that that is a global phenomenon."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jason Felix at News24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

No end in sight to Cape Town taxi war as Golden Arrow urges commuters to make alternative arrangements

News24 reports that there seems to be no end in sight to the ongoing taxi violence gripping Cape Town, with thousands of commuters forced to make alternative transport arrangements. On Monday, a Golden Arrow bus driver was shot in the mouth near Borcherd's Quarry as violence continued. The gunmen also fired on passing cars near the Langa taxi rank in a bloody start to Monday for commuters and taxi operators. In that shooting, two suspects were arrested.   Extra police officers were deployed to hot spots last week. In a statement, Golden Arrow Bus Service said: "Our drivers are scared and many of them are not willing to get behind the wheel and we understand this. This means that we have no idea what operations tomorrow (Tuesday) will look like and unfortunately it is impossible to predict which routes and times will be affected." The bus service urged passengers to seek alternative transport for Tuesday morning.   No resolution has been reached after discussions with various stakeholders that included Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and taxi bosses from the SA National Taxi Council, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association and Congress of Democratic Taxi Association.   Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Monday: "It is simply unacceptable that a dispute over routes is now undermining the well-being and safety of our residents, and we will not allow this violence to continue." He added that the Provincial Joint Operations Centre had been activated to specifically address the violence and announced the province's intention of pursuing an interdict against illegal operations by taxi associations along disputed routes.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marvin Charles at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Golden Arrow has no idea when it will return to normal service as bus drivers fear for their lives, at Independent Media

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page