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


TOP STORY – STRIKES

Workers lose R100m in wages as metals strike drags on while Numsa awaits feedback from regions

BL Premium reports that the indefinite wage strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) in the metals and engineering sector has cost workers R100m in lost wages, employers said on Monday.   Numsa downed tools last week and embarked on a strike in support of its demands for above-inflation wage increases. After Numsa kicked off its industrial action last week, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), the sector’s largest employer body that represents 18 organisations employing 170,000 workers, struck a conciliatory tone. The association advised that a meeting would be held with Numsa's leadership with a view to reaching a wage deal. On Monday, Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini said: “We are waiting for official feedback (on a revised offer).   We understand that collating of inputs from various regions and branches took place across the country over the weekend and we now wait for urgent word.” He added that until such feedback was received, “strike and lock out action continues into today (Monday|), the fifth day of industrial action.” Numsa national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the union was “deliberating on the proposal” made by Seifsa. She would not say what the proposal entailed. “We are still receiving feedback from the regions with regards to how they feel about it and whether they accept it or reject it,” she said, adding that the strike, so far, “has been very effective”.   Numsa is demanding a one-year, 8% wage increase across the board and consumer price index (CPI) plus 2% for the second and third years of a three-year deal.

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

BMW's Rosslyn vehicle assembly plant hit by Numsa’s strike in metals and engineering sector

Reuters reports that a spokesperson for BMW said on Monday that output at the company’s main vehicle assembly plant at Rosslyn had been hit by the wage strike in the metals and engineering sector.   "While our associates have been reporting for work, we have lost production since the strike commenced ... as a number of suppliers to the plant have been affected," Hailey Philander advised. She said production of around 700 vehicles had been lost, but gave no further details.   The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) launched the strike last Tuesday after pay talks with employer bodies reached a deadlock, raising fears the action would spill over and block supplies of parts to make new cars. On Friday, Numsa said its members were considering a new proposal to end the strike. On Monday, the union was still collating feedback before making a decision.   "It is concerning for the whole autos manufacturing sector that the strike in the metals and engineering space has continued till now, but we know that negotiations to resolve are advanced and we hope a breakthrough is imminent," said Renai Moothilal, executive director at the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam). Spokespeople at Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota said they had not been affected by the strike so far.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Fin24

Tiger Brands gets labour court order against striking workers at its Albany Bakery in Germiston

TimesLIVE reports that Tiger Brands on Monday obtained an order from the Labour Court in Johannesburg declaring the strike by workers at its Albany Bakery in Germiston as “unprotected”. The company indicated that the strike by “some employees” at the plant, which began last Monday, related to a “current labour dispute”. Details of exactly how many workers were on strike, or what their grievances were, were not forthcoming. On Friday, striking workers reportedly attacked an Albany truck as it arrived to deliver bread at a Soweto shopping centre. Many people have taken to social media to complain about the lack of Albany bread in their local supermarkets since early last week.   The company confirmed to TimesLIVE disruption of bakery operations and deliveries in some parts of greater Johannesburg. “The company has contingency plans in place. There may be some delays as we ensure that all retailers are fully stocked. The company remains committed to engaging employees and their recognised representative trade unions to find a speedy resolution of the labour dispute,” a spokesperson said.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Wendy Knowler at TimesLIVE


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Fire guts mattress factory in Joburg, no injuries reported

News24 reports that a fire has destroyed a mattress factory in Nancefield, Johannesburg, with the owner, Imran Kazi, indicating that the factory was burnt to the ground and all the machinery was destroyed.   Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services (EMS) received a call alerting it to the fire at around 08:00 on Monday.   EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi reported: "The cause of the fire is unknown. It was extinguished by two fire engines, a water tanker and 12 firefighters." However, Kazi complained that they arrived 45 minutes late, claiming they were "useless". Responding to the claim, Mulaudzi said: "We can confirm that we have responded to the incident within the reasonable time. If we didn't respond swiftly, the fire could have spread to adjacent factories, causing severe damage. Firefighters, who responded to the incident, must be commended for their swift response." Kazi reported that no staff members had been injured.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Amy Gibbings at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


COVID PANDEMIC

A third of all South African adults have received at least one Covid-19 jab

News24 reports that almost 34% of all South African adults have had at least one Covid-19 vaccination dose. According to the Department of Health, 19,041,535 vaccines have been administered to 13,466,483 people, making up 33% of the total adult population. To date, 9,911,989 people are fully vaccinated (25% of the adult population).   The Western Cape is leading the vaccination drive, with almost 43% of the adult population in the province having received at least one dose. In the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, almost 39% of the adult population received at least one jab. In the Free State, the percentage stands at 38%. More than 60% of those aged 60 and older have received at least one jab, while 52% of those aged 50 to 59 have received at least one dose.   People in those age cohorts face an increased risk of developing severe illnesses, hospitalisation and death.   The government aims to vaccinate 70% of all adults by the end of December.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24

Sars targets 52 firms linked to R1bn Covid PPE contracts

Cape Times reports that the SA Revenue Service (SARS) says it has focused on 52 non-compliant companies that received R1 billion in contracts for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other Covid-19 related services. To date, 11 companies have been convicted, seven cases are currently on the court roll, 29 cases are with the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) for the drafting of charge sheets and/or warrants of arrest, while five case dockets are being processed by the Hawks. Sars said it has recovered R170 million in unpaid taxes linked to PPE contracts and R500 million in assets, including cash, were under preservation orders. Sars is also investigating 33 entities linked to politically exposed persons.   In addition, several companies that received government tenders totalling R50 million for Covid-19 related services were recently sentenced for not registering for value-added tax (VAT). The companies were awarded tenders for decontamination and deep cleansing of schools by the Gauteng Department of Education. Another company was awarded a tender by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development for provision of hygiene equipment and consumables.   The companies were convicted and sentenced in the Durban District Court last week. The sentences ranged from five months’ to 10 months’ imprisonment (with the option of a fine). The cases followed similar convictions in Gauteng and the Free State.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Cape Times

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • NICD reports just 201 cases and 29 deaths recorded in SA in 24 hours, at SowetanLive
  • SA’s digital Covid-19 vaccine certificate ready for use, says Phaahla, at EWN
  • Companies within their legal right to effect mandatory vaccination, at Engineering News


LABOUR AND POLITICS

President declares 1 November a public holiday

News24 reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared Monday, 1 November 2021 - the date for the municipal elections - as a public holiday. In a statement on Monday night, the Presidency called on all registered voters to use the opportunity of the public holiday to exercise their democratic right and civic duty by voting in the local elections. Ramaphosa urged voters to abide by Covid-19 regulations and also urged employers to make provision for employees to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard compiled by Jenna Etheridge at News24

Against backdrop of political violence, Ramaphosa calls for Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi to step aside over murder charges

BL Premium reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa called on Mandla Msibi to immediately step aside after the MEC of agriculture in Mpumalanga appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of murder as a result of a deadly ANC branch meeting in August.   Msibi was remanded after handing himself over to the police. Allegedly he was involved in a violent incident at an ANC branch meeting that left two people shot dead, and two others wounded. “The ANC is clear, anyone charged in a serious criminal matter must step aside. There are processes and the ANC in Mpumalanga must deal with this issue urgently,” Ramaphosa said on the campaign trail ahead of the local government elections. National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo advised that more suspects had already appeared in court on the same matter. “His (Msibi’s) arrest brings to three the total number of people arrested in connection with this case,” Naidoo indicated. Msibi, formerly the co-operative governance & traditional affairs MEC, has faced at least 10 criminal charges in recent years.   Previous cases included charges of assault, some of which are still pending. Msibi’s arrest follows a spate of chaotic ANC branch meetings ahead of the 2021 local elections in November.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Hajra Omarjee and Thando Maeko at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, Mpumalanga MEC Mandla Msibi charged with murder, jailed overnight, at TimesLIVE


YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT / JOB CREATION

More than R600 million spent over five years to create just 696 jobs in Ekurhuleni, but MMC says intended impact was achieved

The Citizen reports that in a written response to questions asked by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the City of Ekurhuleni indicated that over the past five years, R606,730,761 was spent on projects that created only 696 jobs. But the MMC for Finance and Economic Development, Doctor Xhakaza, said the intended impact of these projects was achieved. He, however, didn’t say what the intended impact of each project had been.   The City of Ekurhuleni has a 39% unemployment rate. Twenty-five projects were listed for the five years, but not all of them managed to get off the ground. So no money was spent on those projects and no jobs came from them. Some projects came at a large cost for seemingly little reward. Automative City in Katlehong has so far seen R44.8 million spent on it. In five years, only 30 jobs were created with this project. At the Ekurhuleni Skills Development Centre in Vosloorus, the projected budget was R4 million. R3.98 million of that was spent on two consultants and an additional R30.4 million was then paid to the contractors. For all this money, the Centre only provided 11 learner contracts – which were also part of the Expanded Publics Works Programme. At the Etwatwa Township Enterprise Hubs, R44.1 million was spent for the creation of 119 jobs. Of this, R20.5 million was spent on 30 Vuk’uphile learner contractors. A staggering R136.6 million was spent at the Labore & Withoek Industrial Park.   From this, 26 jobs were created at the Labore Automotive Hub, while 18 were created at the Labore Manufacturing Facility. At the Reiger Park Enterprise Hub and Ramaphosa Vocational Skills Training Centre, R23.2 million has so far been spent on the project with just 10 jobs created. The Springs Fresh Produce Market Expansion Project has a projected budget of R150.5 million. In the five years so far, R18.8 million was spent to create 310 jobs.   Of those jobs, however, 62 came from the Expanded Publics Works Programme.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Youth unemployment: Two knock-on effects to expect. at Moneyweb


VACANCIES / RECRUITMENT

Umgeni Water’s acting boss resigns with immediate effect, operations head appointed as new acting CEO

Fin24 reports that Umgeni Water, SA’s second-largest water provider, advised on Monday that its acting chief executive, Nomalungelo Mkhize, had resigned with immediate effect. The state-owned body has seen a number of changes in key positions in recent years. Mkhize was appointed as acting CEO when she was in service as Umgeni Water’s CFO.   In a shareholder’s notice, Umgeni Water indicated that operations executive Sandile Dube had been appointed in the CEO post in an acting capacity with effect from last week Friday after Mkhize's resignation became official on the same day. The entity said it would wait for guidance from Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu regarding the filling of the CEO position in a permanent capacity. Water and Sanitation spokesperson Kamogelo Mogotsi advised that the department would discuss filling the CEO position and other matters with Umgeni Water in a meeting during a provincial visit on Wednesday.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Onafhanklike paneel moet liefs polisiehoof aanwys, by Maroela Media


DISMISSALS

Employee dismissed by Clover for racist rant on Facebook loses re-instatement bid

GroundUp reports that a former employee at Clover has failed in his bid to be reinstated in his job after he was dismissed for a Facebook posting in which he said that all white people should be killed.   While initially denying that he had made the post, Nhlanhla Christopher Makhoba later said he did it because he loved the ANC and its President [Zuma at the time] and he believed they were under verbal attack. In a recent ruling, Durban Labour Court Acting Judge Narini Harilall said it did not matter that he posted the comment outside of work hours or that he was unaware of the company's social media policy. What mattered was that any South African should know that racial utterances were unacceptable and companies had no need to remind their employees of that. Given that Clover was a multicultural company and it had a duty to protect all its employees, Makhoba's public statement had a bearing on the employment relationship, she said. Evidence before the court was that Makhoba was a general worker with ten years' experience when he posted the comment in 2017 on Eyewitness News' Facebook site.   It read: "Whites mz be all killed". One comment subsequently read: "Nhalnhla Makhoba, are you saying that whites must be all killed in your personal capacity or as an employee of Clover. Don't even know how you became a team leader with that hate filled violent mindset of yours." The company instituted disciplinary proceedings against Makhoba. He was charged with two offences, namely making a racist comment on social media and acting contrary to the interests of the company. Makhoba was subsequently dismissed. "An employer has a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for all its employees and it cannot do so where an employee's conduct threatens the safety of others,” Harillal ruled.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tania Broughton at GroundUp


ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT

SANParks boss Mketeni ready to return to work after flop of sexual assault case

SowetanLIVE reports that South African National Parks (SANParks) chief executive Fundisile Mketeni says he is ready to return to work after he was acquitted of assault and sexual assault charges on Monday. This was confirmed by Mpumalanga's National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa, who said Mketeni and his colleague Danny Thwala were now free men.   "[The matter] was finalised today, both accused [were] found not guilty and discharged," she said.   The case was before the Bushbuckridge Magistrate's Court in Mpumalanga. Mketeni, SanParks risk manager Thwala, and Xola Mkefa, the state-owned entity's head of social economic transformation, took special leave from work in May after they were arrested for assault and sexual assault.   Charges against Mkefa were dropped in July. Mketeni told SowetanLIVE: "I feel so relieved, though with a bit of anger in me because of what I went through. Although I am willing to forgive and forget, there is a huge challenge of rebuilding my name I made over 33 years."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mpho Sibanyoni at SowetanLIVE


OTHER HEADLINES OF INTEREST

  • Nobel economics prize goes to trio for work on minimum wage effects, at BusinessLive
  • Opinion: Why we need more women CEOs, at Financial Mail
  • There's R44.9 billion of unclaimed pension funds in SA – how to find out if you’re owed anything, at Business Insider SA
  • National pension reform: Protecting the funds from state capture, at GroundUp
  • Mediese skemas maak 2022-premies bekend, by Maroela Media
  • Teachers’ union tackles homophobia, at EWN

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page