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


COVID PANDEMIC AND VACCINE ROLLOUT

Western Cape data show Covid-19 vaccines offer strong protection to healthcare workers and elderly

BusinessLive reports that according to data released by the Western Cape health department on Thursday, the coronavirus vaccines administered in the province are providing strong protection against severe illness and death from Covid-19 among healthcare workers and the elderly.   The risk of death from Covid-19 was 3.3 times higher among unvaccinated public-sector healthcare workers compared to vaccinated staff, according to the department’s analysis of its employees registered on the government personnel and salary system, Persal. The risk of death was 1 in 480 among unvaccinated healthcare workers compared to 1 in 1,490 among staff who were fully immunised. Analysis of Covid-19 cases among patients aged 60 years and older for the week of 14-20 August yielded similar results. Among the 2,455 coronavirus cases recorded in that age group in the week under review, 92% were unvaccinated; 699 of the 729 hospital admissions (96%) were not immunised; and 287 of the 292 deaths (98.3%) were among people who had not been inoculated. “This sends a very powerful message about the effectiveness of the vaccines,” said Western Cape health department COO Saadiq Kariem.   The Western Cape has vaccinated 1.68-million adults so far, or 33.8% of the target population.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tamar Kahn at BusinessLive. Lees ook, Wes-Kaapse data wys ‘entstof wérk’, by Maroela Media

Sanlam joins Discovery in imposing mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for staff

BL Premium reports that Sanlam will join Discovery in imposing mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all staff from 2022, although it won’t fire workers who refuse the jab. The Cape Town-headquartered insurance and investment group made the announcement to staff on Thursday. CEO Paul Hanratty indicated: “We can’t force anyone to vaccinate but we’re saying if you want to work for us you’re going to be vaccinated and that is true from the first of January so our staff have plenty of time to get it lined up. We’ve obviously taken extensive legal advice ... and, indeed, not to require your staff to be vaccinated is likely to be a problem because you endanger the lives of other people. It’s not just your colleagues that you’re endangering the life of, but your customers as well.” But, he went on to say: “We’re not going to retrench anyone. We’re not going to force anyone.”   Discovery indicated on 1 September that it would make it mandatory for all staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as of 1 January 2022, with CEO Adrian Gore saying the company needed to take a stand to combat stubborn hesitancy that has hampered SA’s vaccination drive. But, not all SA companies are following suit. Momentum CEO Hillie Meyer indicated on Wednesday that, while the company encouraged vaccination, it would not make it mandatory for staff.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Garth Theunissen at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)

Discovery assures that rights of employees who cannot be vaccinated will be protected

EWN reports that Discovery Health has reiterated its assurance that the rights of employees who cannot be vaccinated will not be violated. The healthcare and financial services giant recently announced its plan to make coronavirus vaccination mandatory for staff, beginning from next year. More than 14,000 Discovery Health clients have died from Covid-19 related illnesses. During a webinar on "the impact of compulsory vaccination on small businesses" on Thursday, the company’s Dr Ron Whelan stated:   “We've got a strong social and moral obligation to not only protect our employees but also to protect all those people that come into our different sites. So that includes suppliers and includes tenants across offices, and obviously it includes employees. It includes visitors and customers." Meanwhile, attorney Abdul Buckus said small businesses must perform a risk assessment to see how they would safely accommodate employees in the workplace. He added that it had to be borne in mind “that the legislation specifies that the rights in terms of the Constitution should also be considered as well as collective agreements.” Buckus stressed that vaccinations were voluntary, and employers should not coerce their staff to take the jabs.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Kevin Brandt at EWN

No mandatory vaccines for Momentum Metropolitan staff

Business Report writes that financial services group Momentum Metropolitan Holdings will not force its staff to vaccinate against Covid-19. Speaking at a virtual financial results presentation on Wednesday, chief executive Hillie Meyer said the group would rather convince anti-vaxxers to vaccinate rather than enforce a mandatory vaccination policy. Indicating that the group’s management fully supported the vaccination drive for employees, clients and the company, Meyer added:   “I think it is the best weapon against the impact of Covid-19 but I would much rather sit with every one of the anti-vaxxers of our business one on one and try to convince them to vaccinate.   Ultimately, it will be your choice.”   Meyer’s comments came as his counterpart, Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore, announced plans to introduce a compulsory vaccination policy for the group’s SA-based employees from 1 January 2022. Gore also indicated that the group would make its buildings a vaccination-only zone.   Momentum Metropolitan said the impact of the second and third waves of the pandemic could be seen in the gross mortality claims over the second half of the year being 55% higher than the mortality claims in the first half of the year, which had already been elevated because of the first wave.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Dineo Faku at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Covid-19: 6,270 new cases and 175 more deaths reported in SA, at EWN
  • NICD says SA showing 'sustained downward trend' in Covid-19 cases, at TimesLIVE
  • Western Cape Covid-19 cases keep dropping, but no sign of leaving third wave yet, say health officials, at News24
  • Ramaphosa urges Brics unity to achieve equal access to vaccines, at BusinessLive


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / JOBS

Many more jobs on the line at independently owned liquor stores as ‘discriminatory’ constraints on sale of alcohol persist

BL Premium reports that independently owned liquor stores have lost nearly 3,000 jobs as result of lockdown restrictions on the sale of alcohol, which has cost the sector R8.5bn in lost sales since they began in early 2020. Labelling the restrictions discriminatory, uncompetitive and unsustainable, on Thursday the Consumer Goods Council of SA released findings of a research report it had commissioned on the effects of the Covid-19 regulations on the liquor industry, particularly as they relate to off-site consumption sales. The research found that nearly 3,000 jobs have already been lost in more than 1,400 independently owned liquor stores, which employ more than 14,000 people. While the government eased liquor restrictions in July, the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption is only permitted between Monday and Thursday.   The report, conducted by independent research company Ipsos, also found that at least 67% of those interviewed predicted business closure should the restrictions continue, with 35% at risk of closing in less than three months and another 25% in six months or more, which imply further job losses. According to the study, liquor retailers have been losing about 50% of revenue they would have earned from Thursday to Saturday, yet overhead costs have remained unchanged. The revenue losses for small liquor outlets were as high as 65% of weekly turnover between Friday and Sunday.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Andries Mahlangu at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)

City of Tshwane calls for comment on economic development proposal that will create 36,000 jobs over five years

Engineering News reports that the City of Tshwane has received a proposal from the Kratos Consortium that seeks to drive industrialisation in the metro by means of three different, yet interrelated, projects.   Considered in August by the city’s executive committee, the proposal speaks to the development of an iron-ore processing plant, agricultural production facilities for biomethane and hydrogen, as well as the use of both gas and exhaust emissions to drive turbines to produce clean energy. According to the proposal, this will reduce the carbon footprint of Tshwane and enable the city to earn carbon credits, which will be an additional revenue stream for the municipality. The proposal commits to creating 36,000 sustainable jobs over the course of five years. The public have until 7 October to submit their comments on the proposal.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Economic effects of unrest could linger for about 18 months, finance minister Godongwana tells MPs, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)
  • 11% of Gauteng residents lost a job during pandemic, survey shows, at EWN


INCOME / POVERTY

Stats SA adjusts 'national food poverty line' by R39 to R624 a person per month

News24 reports that according to a new report released by Statistics SA, a person in SA now needs to have at least R624 per month to meet the minimum required daily energy intake. On Thursday, it released the inflation-adjusted national poverty lines (NPLs) report for 2021, which showed adjustments made due to the increasing high cost of living. The NPLs were constructed using the cost-of-basic needs approach, linking welfare to the consumption of goods and services. The lines contain both food and non-food components of household consumption expenditure. The three cost of living measurements as at April 2021 were: Food poverty line - R624 per person per month; Lower-bound poverty line - R890 per person per month; Upper-bound poverty line - R1,335 per person per month. The R624 food poverty line refers to the amount that individuals need to afford the minimum required daily energy intake. The lower bound poverty line is the food poverty line, plus the average amount derived from non-food items of households whose total expenditure is equal to the food poverty line. The upper bound line refers to the food poverty line, plus the average amount derived from non-food items of households whose food expenditure equals the food poverty line. The primary purpose of the national poverty lines is to provide a tool for the statistical measurement of money-metric poverty.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Survey shows jobs and education needed to halt spike in poverty in Gauteng, at SowetanLive


SOEs IN CRISIS

Satawu 'flabbergasted' at more salary delays for staff at SAA's Air Chefs

Fin24 reports that after not receiving salaries for more than a year, workers at SA Airways’ (SAA’s) catering subsidiary Air Chefs now have to wait even longer. The SA Transport & Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) said it was "flabbergasted" about a delay of payments of outstanding salaries for the period from April 2020 to July 2021. According to an agreement struck on Monday, the workers would have received 75% of their outstanding salaries by Friday, 10 September and the rest within six months of that date. But, Air Chefs has now indicated in a letter that it first needs to complete an internal audit and will make the agreed payments "as soon as possible", hopefully by Monday, 13 September. According to Satawu, the board of Air Chefs had ample time to have already completed these administrative steps and be ready to make the outstanding payments. "We will without hesitation also consult our lawyers on seeking legal advice in so far as dealing with this matter. To this end, we demand our members to be paid their salaries on and/or before closure of business on Friday, 17 September 2021 at the least, a period we believe is reasonable," the union indicated.   The amended deadline is because the union is still doubtful whether Air Chefs will make a payment by 13 September as it indicated in its letter to employees. Air Chefs, which used to get most of its business from SAA before the pandemic, has not been operational since SA first went into lockdown.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Carin Smith at Fin24


APPOINTMENTS

Former Denel CEO Riaz Saloojee steps in as SAA Technical interim chief executive

SAgovnews reports that state-owned aircraft maintenance company SAA Technical (SAAT) has appointed an interim chief executive in preparation of South African Airways’ (SAA’s) return to operations later this month. The interim chief executive is former group CEO of Denel Riaz Saloojee, who said he was looking forward to being part of the new SAA brand. SAAT is a subsidiary of SAA, and provides aircraft maintenance services to commercial airlines. “I’m looking forward to playing my part in rebuilding SAAT into a powerful and respected local and international MRO [maintenance, repair and operational] services brand. SAA is known the world over for its exemplary safety record and its pedigree of technical excellence. Continuing with and building on that ethos will be one of my primary functions,” Saloojee said. His presence has been welcomed by SAAT board chairperson Nick Fadugba, who expressed confidence in his track record in the industry.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at The Citizen


EXPENSES

DA condemns ‘fat cat’ travel expenses of Lindiwe Sisulu’s former aide Mphumzi Mdekazi

BusinessLive reports that Mphumzi Mdekazi, a senior aide of former human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu, claimed more than R1.76m on travel and accommodation in the period since May 2019. Sisulu was moved in the recent cabinet reshuffle to become minister of tourism.   The extent of Mdekazi’s claims was revealed in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Democratic Alliance (DA) human settlements spokesperson Emma Louise Powell. She pointed out in a statement that the claims for travel and accommodation were in addition to Mdekazi’s “already hyperinflated” monthly salary of R142,920 that he received as an advisory committee member for 15 days’ work a month. “That one single committee member (of the Water Services Act advisory committee) was permitted to rack up a taxpayer-funded travel and accommodation bill of R1,763,878 is simply inconceivable in the face of the devastating financial state of our nation. It furthermore makes a mockery of 13-million South Africans who continue to live in informality, many still without access to basic water and sanitation services,” said Powel. She also called on newly appointed water and sanitation minister Senzo Mchunu to immediately disband the advisory committee and initiate a formal investigation into Mdekazi’s “fat-cat” travel bill.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Linda Ensor at BusinessLive


DISMISSALS

Suspended ANC member Carl Niehaus now fired as Luthuli House employee

News24 reports that having been suspended just over two months ago as an ANC member, Carl Niehaus has now been fired from the employment of the party. This was after Niehaus issued a statement in which he said ANC employees would on Thursday be laying criminal charges against "ANC national office bearers and member of the party’s national executive committee for the continued non-payment of salaries", and alleged "general abuse of ANC staff due to the criminal conduct by the senior management of the ANC". He later backtracked and said he was going to institute the criminal proceedings against the ANC in his own capacity.   ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said on eNCA that the party was "tired of always having to find itself having to deal with matters instigated by Niehaus".   Mabe went on to say that Niehaus “is fired and if he wants to talk to us [the ANC] he has to do so through the court. What has he been doing instead of talking to the media? He is never on the ground doing ANC work, but yet wants to be the first to talk about salaries when he is not working." In a statement, Mabe further indicated:   “The ANC has interacted with staff representatives and they have unequivocally confirmed that Carl Niehaus does not represent them, nor does he have the mandate to act on their behalf.”   Niehaus said that this was “deplorable behaviour by the organisation and amounts to bullying."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Juniour Khumalo at News24. Lees ook, ANC steek Niehaus in die pad, by Maroela Media


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Prasa building a world-class commuter rail system, CEO tells MPs

GroundUp reports that the CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), Zolani Matthews, told MPs on Wednesday that they were building a rail system “that is definitely going to be a world-class system.”   Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga led the Prasa delegation, alongside Prasa chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane and Matthews, to brief the National Council of Provinces’ Select Committee on Transport on the agency’s plans to fix its collapsing rail infrastructure. Matthews took the committee through rail infrastructure projects underway in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape – the “priority corridor recovery programmes”. He said Prasa was talking to rail experts from Germany and France, so that “our standards meet the standards they should be benchmarked against”. Prasa suffered large-scale looting of infrastructure after private security companies were withdrawn from service without a replacement plan in November 2019. As a result, Prasa has to repair and replace an enormous amount of infrastructure, including substations, signalling cable and equipment, telecommunications lines, and perway across all its priority corridors. These projects are expected to be completed in 2022. Matthews said that Prasa was using “the latest technology” to frustrate would-be vandals, including bank-like security doors in substations and switching to low-copper cables. He also indicated that Prasa was working to a December 2022 deadline for the full resumption of service on Cape Town’s Central Line, contingent on the successful removal of the informal settlements and perway rehabilitation.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by James Stent at GroundUp


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Whistle-blower and witness protection gets urgent attention in Gauteng, at SowetanLive
  • SA pension funds significantly overweight in their equity allocations relative to international peers, at Moneyweb
  • FSCA proposes a central fund for unclaimed pension benefits, at Personal Finance
  • Here’s how to get your share of the R42bn in unclaimed retirement benefits, at Daily Maverick

 


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