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


TOP STORY – NATIONAL STAYAWAY

Cosatu calls for national stayaway on Thursday over 'economic mess' that SA finds itself in

News24Wire reports that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called for organised labour to join in a strike by staying away from work on Thursday in an effort to apply pressure on government and the private sector to "fix the economic mess that the country finds itself in". The action coincides with the Global Day for Decent Work, but also comes as SA continues to struggle with lacklustre growth, rising unemployment, the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic and the after-effects of July's civil unrest.   "The strike on Thursday is legally protected and is focused on pushing both government and the private sector to act to fix the economic mess that the country finds itself in and take seriously the issues that are affecting workers and South Africans in general," the labour federation’s statement advised. Cosatu said it wanted the reversal of budget cuts that have "led to an unacceptable wage freeze in the public service, the disintegration of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, and retrenchments in state-owned companies". It also called on the private sector “to abandon its investment strike that has seen many companies either hoarding or exporting cash out of the country, despite receiving generous incentives to invest back into the economy." Cosatu furthermore said that at next month's medium-term budget policy statement, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana must abandon "current draconian cuts" and move away from the current "neoliberal macroeconomic policy framework".

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

NUM gets behind Cosatu’s national strike on Thursday

Mining Weekly reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has decided to join the 7 October national strike launched by Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu). The NUM has accordingly issued a call to its members in the mining, energy, construction and metals sectors to join planned activities across the country – in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines – or withdraw their labour by staying at home on the day, as part of the Global Day for Decent Work.   The legally protected strike will be focused on pushing both government and the private sector to act in fixing the "economic mess" that South Africa finds itself in and taking more seriously the issues that are affecting workers and society in general.

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

Cosatu stay-away action on Thursday ‘a crapshoot that could expose its deficiencies’

Fin24 writes that Cosatu announced on Tuesday that it would hold a national strike on Thursday, which is also the Global Day for The Worker, to send a message to the government and the private sector that the “economic mess that the country finds itself in" has to be fixed. But, the announcement was not met with a hellish day of trade at the JSE or diatribes from captains of industry about the catastrophic implications of an estimated 1.8 million workers staying home and withdrawing their labour. Past trends, including Cosatu-aligned unions being outmanoeuvred by rivals in the private sector and an inability to recruit enough members to break through the two-million member mark, suggest that this dice roll might prove a misstep. For starters, the federation’s affiliates have not said anything definitive about the scale of the action and how much support it has from ordinary members. Labour analyst Andrew Levy commented that the action was not necessarily about pulling SA out of an economic mess, but about a political show of force, namely about Cosatu demonstrating to the ANC and its rival federations that it still held considerable sway in organised labour and that it controlled a large tranche of votes. "The answer is that this action taken on the surface is bound to fail. You certainly don't pressure government to fix an ill-defined issue, like an economic mess, by going on strike, much less going on strike for one day," commented Levy. In his view, the move might backfire: "Anything worse than a full turnout would work against them. There is a lot of competition for membership right now. If Cosatu can show that they still have numbers, they will show Numsa and Saftu a signal that Cosatu is standing up for workers.   But it has little chance of success." In Levy’s view, the appetite for strikes was generally low among ordinary union members.

Read the full opinion piece in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24 (subscriber access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Cosatu hou Donderdag reusestaking, by Maroela Media
  • Thousands of members expected to join Cosatu's nationwide one-day strike, at EWN


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Popcru concerned about the safety of KZN police officers following several attacks

The Witness reports that the Police and Prisoners Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has condemned the recent attacks and killing of police officers in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo expressed concern about the safety of police officers in the province. Several SA Police Service (SAPS) members were attacked in separate incidents around KZN this week. On Sunday, a police captain stationed at Msinga was shot and killed, and his colleague sustained serious injuries when they were ambushed in Ngome area, outside Greytown. Another police officer working at the Greytown police station was attacked and robbed on Sunday night. On Tuesday, another policeman was gunned during an armed robbery in Mid-Illovo, near Durban. “Police are not safe anywhere. In fact, it has become a thankless job for many of our officers,” Mamabolo said. He added that there was an urgent need for a policing indaba “to really consider measures in collectively dealing with the root causes of police killings” and for capacity to be built at station-level in ensuring more police were on the ground in fighting crime.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard compiled by Andile Sithole at The Witness. Read too, Cop injured, suspected robber killed in Mpumalanga shootout, at News24


PROTESTS / MARCHES

One person who was among those wearing Numsa T-shirts shot dead in Boksburg march

EWN reports that one person was shot dead in Boksburg during a march on Wednesday that ended up with shops being looted. Gauteng police said several shops were vandalised in Anderbolt, but it was unclear what had sparked the sporadic violence.   Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said the man was shot by security guards who opened fire on demonstrators.   “One person was shot and injured by security guards in Boksburg North. The person who got shot was among the people wearing Numsa T-shirts.   Numsa is getting a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property,” she stated. Meanwhile, in Booysens police were forced to disperse protesters with rubber bullets after they marched on a factory and attacked some workers. “A group of people who were wearing Numsa T-shirts also entered one of the factories where they attacked the people. A case of public violence was opened,” Makhubele reported. Similar demonstrations were also reported in Krugersdorp.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Veronica Mokhoali at EWN. Read too, Security guard wounds one protester in Boksburg during Numsa wage protests, at IOL


MINING LABOUR

Mark Cutifani confirms Anglo American board “working through” CEO succession plan

Miningmx reports that Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American, said on Wednesday that the group’s board was weighing up potential candidates to succeed him next year. Responding to a question at the Joburg Indaba, Cutifani said he had committed to staying at the company until the commissioning of the Quellaveco copper project in Peru. “The project is on plan on budget despite losing six months to Covid-19. I expect it to commission through the first half of next year and so I made it very clear to the board that was my minimum commitment,” Cutifani indicated. He went on to say: “They have been thinking through how they would like to handle the succession given that outline and time frame. And they are working through that and I’ll sure they’ll let us know when they’ve made a decision.” On Tuesday, Anglo unveiled a number of senior management changes which was precipitated by the resignation of the group’s head of bulk commodities, Seamus French. He departs after 14 years at the group, but according to a report “is likely to have thrown his hat into the ring” to lead Anglo American. According to Sky News in August, Anglo’s head of business development and strategy, Duncan Wanblad, is set to be Anglo’s new CEO, effective from January.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by David McKay at Miningmx. Read too, Mark Cutifani likely to leave Anglo once Quellaveco copper project is completed in 2022, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • South Africa in danger of missing out on commodity boom, Joburg Indaba hears, at Mining Weekly
  • Thyssenkrupp, Wismut to study potential to repurpose old South African gold mines for energy storage, at Engineering News


YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

Neasa partners with service provider to create entrepreneurship learnerships for youth

Engineering News reports that the National Employers’ Association of SA (Neasa) has partnered with a specialist service provider to create entrepreneurship opportunities for the unemployed youth in SA in the form of learnerships. The initiative is expected to benefit employers and the unemployed youth, as well as offer tax-paying businesses the opportunity to make a meaningful social impact in their local community. The initiative will enable qualifying unemployed people between the ages of 18 and 28 to become self-sufficient by starting their own businesses. Companies can fund this initiative by using their available tax rebates. Neasa said in statement on Wednesday that the management of all aspects of the learnerships and the financial compliance administration would be handled by a skilled and experienced team of the service provider. Neasa CE Gerhard Papenfus noted that SA’s official unemployment rate currently stood at 34.4%, with the expanded unemployment rate at approximately 44%, and claimed that the government’s solution to the unemployment crisis, namely the paying of grants, was “unsustainable”. “The youth entrepreneurship initiative is a sustainable and tax-beneficial solution and will ensure the appropriate application of taxes. These learnerships will empower unemployed individuals to earn a monthly stipend and to receive seed capital for their ventures,” he stated

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


EDUCATION / TEACHING

President Cyril Ramaphosa tells teachers: ’Produce the skills and capabilities that our country needs’

IOL reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa says that there is a great responsibility on the shoulders of the country’s teachers and education officials to ensure that South African schools, colleges, universities and other training institutions produce skills and capabilities that the country needs. He was speaking on Wednesday at the 21st Reimagined National Teachers Award Ceremony, where he highlighted some of the problems facing the country’s education system. “As a nation, our most pressing challenge right now is youth unemployment. Some of the young work-seekers are not well educated and do not possess sufficient skills and previous work experience demanded by employers in the labour market. That places a great responsibility on teachers and education officials, and indeed on all of us, to ensure that our schools, colleges, universities and other training institutions are producing the skills and capabilities that our country needs,” Ramaphosa indicated. The head of state also hailed the efforts made by teachers, saying that despite at times working under difficult circumstances, the country’s teachers were examples of resilience, excellence and professionalism. Ramaphosa noted that even at the height of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, teachers had remained true to their calling. “It is with deep sadness that we remember and pay tribute to all the teachers and other education officials who have succumbed to Covid-19. In their honour, we must safeguard the safety of teachers and learners, and ensure that the teaching and learning environment remains conducive at all times,” he tole delegates.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Samkelo Mtshali at IOL

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Theme for World Teachers’ Day on Wednesday: “Teachers at heart of education recovery”, on page 2 of The Star of 6 October 2021
  • Council for Education concerned about withdrawal of cases against alleged sex pest teachers, on page 1 of The Star of 6 October 2021


SUSPENSIONS

Report indicates that national police commission Khehla Sitole served with suspension notice

News24 reports that national police commissioner Khehla Sitole has been served with a notice of intention to suspend, according to eNCA. Apparently, Sitole received a letter from President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, asking for representations as to why he should not be suspended. Sources have indicated that the communication was received on Monday and Sitole was given a week to respond, with his representations to be sent to the President by next Monday. Sitole was found to have breached his duties as a police officer, in terms of the Independent Police Investigating Directorate (IPID) Act, by intentionally frustrating a string of IPID investigations into corrupt procurement deals within the Crime Intelligence environment. Earlier this week, police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said correspondence between the president and the national commissioner was "privileged", and he could not be drawn to comment further.   When approached for a comment, Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said he had no comment. In January, the High Court found that Sitole and two of his lieutenants, Francinah Vuma and Leonard Tsumane, "breached their duties" in failing to cooperate with IPID as the cop watchdog probed a string of dodgy deals. The court also ordered that all the evidence sought by IPID be immediately declassified and handed over.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Jeff Wicks at News24. Read too, Khehla Sitole and presidency mum on reports of 'intention to suspend' the top cop, at TimesLIVE


CRIMINAL MISCONDUCT

Another delay in case against ex-Eskom employee who rammed car into Koeberg manager’s vehicle

News24 reports that the case against Tshepiso Lemisa, an ex-Eskom employee who is charged with intentionally ramming his car into the vehicle of a manager at the Koeberg plant earlier this year, was again postponed in the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.   Charged with malicious damage to property, as well as drunk, reckless and negligent driving, Lemisa is expected back in the dock on 2 December after the matter was postponed for further investigation. In June, he allegedly crashed into Eskom’s property, damaging its security booms, and drove to the parking area outside the plant’s area gates, before ramming into the operating shift manager’s vehicle. No one was hurt. The 28-year-old former employee was arrested in the ICP2 parking area that night.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Tammy Petersen at News24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Vandalism to fibre optic cables causes rail safety risk, train delays in Cape Town

Reuters reports that vandalism to fibre optic cables in Cape Town has resulted in delays across several main railway corridors.   Commuters have been advised to use alternative transport as the vandalism has resulted in a telecommunications outage that poses a safety risk to train services. "The Western Cape passenger rail service is currently being disrupted by a telecommunications outage. The cause of the outage is a vandalised optic fibre cable on the Diep River line.   The cut optic fibre has absolutely no copper inside. However, it keeps being vandalised," said acting Metrorail spokesperson Nana Zenani. The telecommunications outage means trains in various corridors across the region cannot be automatically controlled at the Train Control Centre. Zenani did not give an expected timeline for the completion of repairs. Last week, vandalism to railway infrastructure on the northern line in Cape Town caused the cancellation of several trains. The vandalism stripped the area of essential safety equipment.

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

Fourteen suspects arrested for holding drivers and passengers of two luxury busses hostage in Soweto

TimesLIVE reports that fourteen suspects are facing the law after being arrested on Wednesday by traffic officers for allegedly holding the drivers and passengers of two luxury buses hostage in Orlando, Soweto. The suspects are alleged to be members of a local taxi association, and include five of its security personnel. “The suspects allegedly held two luxury buses hostage with the assistance of their security personnel, pointing firearms at drivers and passengers and demanded R5,000 from each bus for the release thereof. The arrested suspects have been detained at Orlando police station and are expected to face charges relating to pointing of firearms, armed robbery, illegal possession of firearms and impersonating the duties of a traffic police officer,” said Sello Maremane, Gauteng Traffic Police spokesperson. About four rifles, five handguns and live ammunition were confiscated by the police.   Two vehicles used in the commission of the crime were also impounded for evidence. “The Gauteng Traffic Police will deal decisively with any unbecoming behaviour that continues to threaten the peace and stability of the taxi industry. Anyone found terrorising public transport operators and impersonating the duties of a traffic officer will be severely punished,” warned Maremane.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kgaugelo Masweneng at TimesLIVE


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • October petrol price decreases; diesel, paraffin prices increase, at Engineering News
  • SA records 1,149 new Covid infections and 59 deaths, at EWN
  • Unpacking the Green Paper on social security reform, at GroundUp
  • South Africa is tightening its rules around executive pay, but gaps remain, at Moneyweb

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page