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.


COVID-19 PANDEMIC

MTN makes Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for its employees

Engineering News reports that MTN has joined a growing number of SA companies that have implemented a vaccine mandate amid the battle with the fourth wave of Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant.   Africa's largest mobile network operator said that those employees who refused vaccinations, without a valid reason, would be fired. The policy will start in January. MTN group president and CEO Ralph Mupita said in a statement: "The science is clear. Vaccination against Covid-19 reduces rates of serious infections, hospitalisation, and death. As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety, and that has informed our decision to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff. MTN also said it recognised the right of employees to apply to be exempted from the policy or refuse vaccination on certain "clearly defined grounds"

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

CEO of Business Leadership SA exhorts that businesses must drive vaccination uptake

Engineering News reports that Busi Mavuso, CEO of Business Leadership SA (BLSA), says businesses in SA must do everything possible to encourage employees and the wider public to get vaccinated. “There has obviously been much debate about vaccine mandates. Companies like Discovery have shown how powerful they can be, having now got its staff vaccination rate up to 94%. Other companies have followed the example, though there will be legal tests of the principles, I am sure. Organised business is working to obtain legal clarity as soon as possible,” she wrote in her weekly newsletter. Mavuso also highlighted that President Cyril Ramaphosa has established a task team to explore the issue, noting that government could do much to mandate vaccination. But she added that companies could do a lot to drive vaccine take-up, even if they did not mandate it. “Encourage and support your employees – many are hesitant not because of some deep ideological conviction but because they do not have the information to feel able to make an informed choice. Help by giving clear information on vaccines, including the growing body of international evidence on how to help countries get back to normal. Explain where they can get vaccinated and offer them time off to do so (it is a legal requirement),” Mavuso advised.

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

Booster shots for rural health workers urgent ahead of fourth wave

BusinessLive reports that almost two-thirds of healthcare workers in the Sisonke Covid-19 vaccine trial, one of the world’s biggest, have not yet taken booster shots, and they only have 10 working days to do so.   But, they will be at the forefront of SA’s fourth wave of infections, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant drives up SA’s caseload. When the first phase of the Sisonke trial ended in May, almost 500,000 of SA’s healthcare workers had received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.   But uptake among the same cohort has lagged in rural provinces, especially since the trial’s booster phase began in early November. As of Saturday, only 183,539 of the 496,424 original participants had come forward. Most participants — including those exposed to the most severe cases of Covid-19 through their work — have abstained from the free intervention to enhance their immunity. Trial participants who have taken a booster shot account for only 37% of the Sisonke trial group. The highest tally of those boosted were in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape.   Uptake has been poorest in SA’s rural provinces, which has those monitoring the study worried. Glenda Gray, president of the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC), urged hospital CEOs and provincial health MECs in seven of SA’s nine provinces to ensure those involved in the implementation study take boosters. It is possible the second leg of the trial, set to end on 17 December, will be extended if booster shot uptake is inadequate.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Erin Bates at BusinessLive

While teacher unions canvas members on mandatory Covid-19 vaccines, jabs at private schools gain momentum

Fin24 reports that while teacher unions survey their members and consult with memberships about their stance on mandatory Covid-19 vaccination, private schools have been gaining momentum in their vaccination drives. The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said they have urged members to vaccinate and would in the coming days formulate their decisions on whether they fully supported mandatory vaccination. While labour federation Cosatu has indicated that it supported mandatory vaccination over a return to a hard lockdown, public sector unions have argued that vaccinations must not be forced on public servants. CEO of Inspired Education Group Ravi Nadasen reported that its private school Reddam House has made considerable progress with the vaccination of its teachers. The school would not comment on if it intended on sanctioning teachers who refused to vaccinate. “We are proud to report that more than 90% of our staff are fully vaccinated," Nadasen said. Curro Holdings executive for corporate services Marí Lategan commented:   "Offering a safe environment for its staff, learners, parents and the communities it serves, remains a top priority. As an organisation that works with human capital, Curro has therefore formulated a policy which has been approved and will be published to staff."   Lategan said Curro Holdings would not be sharing any further details at the present time but reiterated ongoing commitment to compliance with legislation and unwavering support regarding the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24 (subscriber access only)

IFP’s Mangosuthu Buthelezi tests positive for Covid-19 for second time

The Witness reports that the family of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, founder and president emeritus of the IFP and traditional prime minister to the Zulu Monarch, announced on Monday that he has again tested positive for Covid-19. “We are pleased to say that, as with his first bout in August last year, he remains relatively asymptomatic and is in good spirits,” the Buthelezi family said in a statement. As required, the family said, Buthelezi has begun self-isolating at home for the mandatory period. The family went on to state: “We are grateful to know that he is double vaccinated and will be monitored by a very capable team.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard compiled by Nompilo Kunene at The Witness

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SA records nine deaths, 6,381 new Covid-19 cases, at IOL
  • 'Fewer severe Covid-19 cases' in Omicron epicentre hospitals, at TimesLIVE
  • Department of Health increases vaccination incentives to assist with uptake, at Weekend Argus
  • Mandatory jab policies remain on the cards at varsities, other institutions of higher learning, at IOL


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

In second incident in a week targeting health workers, thugs rob Tshwane vaccination team

TimesLIVE reports that according to the Gauteng health department, a Tshwane district Covid-19 vaccination team was robbed at gunpoint in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, on Saturday. Five armed men, who were in a white Toyota Quantum at Wonder City taxi rank in Soshanguve, attacked the team at about 9am. “The perpetrators fled with vaccination programme gadgets which consist of three tablets, one smartphone and six cellphones belonging to the team,” said provincial health spokesperson Kwara Kekana.   This came after a robbery on 29 November, when a West Rand Health District Services bakkie with mobile site equipment and gazebos was hijacked in Chamdor, Kagiso. Fortunately no team members were harmed in either incident.   Condemning the “senseless acts,” Kekana said: “Our healthcare workers remain the backbone of the health system, even during the pandemic, as they continue to play a pivotal role in terms of the vaccination programme rollout. We call on all members of society to work with law enforcement agencies and to share any information they might have on the two incidents.”

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


STRIKES

Saccawu announces end to wage strike at Massmart stores

Fin24 reports that on Monday the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) announced an end to its wage strike at Massmart's stores.   The union initially threatened a strike aimed at disrupting the group's Black Friday sales campaign, but it ultimately failed to have a significant effect. However, the union managed to get a R400 or 4.5% increase across the board - whichever is greater - at Builders, Game and Masscash after striking for an increase of R500 across the board and rejecting an initial offer of R320. A notice from Massmart advised as follows:   "It is agreed that there shall be an across-the-board increase of R400 or 4.5%, whichever is the greater, retrospectively effective from 1 July 2021 for all 45-hour permanent and 40-hour fixed employees who are members of the union." The Massmart notice added that the increase of 4.5% on the hourly rate would come into effect retrospectively from 1 July 2021 for all permanent part-time employees who were members of the union. Saccawu spokesperson Sithembele Tshwete confirmed the notice, saying: "Workers are to return to work this afternoon, those [who] work in shifts.   An agreement was signed with the group settling all strikes at Builders, Game and Masscash".

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


PROTESTS / CAMPAIGNS

Twelve truckers to remain behind bars over N3 blockade in KZN on Friday

News24 reports that tTwelve suspects, the majority of whom are truck drivers, accused of blocking the N3 freeway on Friday last week, are still behind bars after briefly appearing in the Ladysmith Magistrate's Court on Monday. The group stand accused of stopping their trucks and blocking the roadway, while also allegedly intimidating other truck drivers whose keys they stole while disrupting traffic. National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Kara said the group were charged with contravention of the Road Traffic Act, in particular stopping on the freeway without a lawful cause. The group will return to court on 10 December for a formal bail application.   The illegal blocking commenced on Friday morning leading to traffic congestion, and by the afternoon traffic near Van Reenen's Pass was at a complete standstill. Trucks had to be towed out of the roadway before police made the 12 arrests. The blocking of the N3 freeway, a vital bridge between the Port of Durban and inland provinces, has become more regular and violent recently. Gavin Kelly, the CEO for the Road Freight Association (RFA) commented that the transport and logistics industry was being held captive "by those who prefer to work outside the law".   In a previous statement, Kelly lamented violence and looting occurred while individuals "have taken the law into their own hands to pull drivers from trucks to check their personal documents".

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kaveel Singh at News24


MINING LABOUR

MineSafe attendees recommit to elimination of fatalities in South Africa’s mines

Mining Weekly reports that stakeholders who attended MineSafe 2021 on 25 November recommitted themselves to working towards the elimination of fatalities, injuries and occupational diseases on SA’s mines in pursuit of Zero Harm and to ensure each employee returned from work unharmed every day. The urgency of interventions to address health and safety and, more specifically, the continued loss of life of employees in the mining sector cannot be understated, Minerals Council SA said in a statement on Monday. It noted, with concern, the deaths of 69 people so far this year, compared with 48 in the same period last year. This is the second consecutive year of regression in fatalities and the industry’s stakeholders have committed to urgently address the “unacceptable situation”. In 2020, the total number of fatalities was 60, up from the lowest number on record, of 51, in 2019. To achieve a step change towards transforming health and safety in the mining sector, stakeholders from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Minerals Council, organised labour, suppliers’ organisations, professional associations, the Mine Health and Safety Council and Mining Qualifications Authority have committed to taking full accountability in addressing the challenges besetting the mining sector. Work is already under way to address falls-of-ground and transport-related accidents which are the leading causes of fatalities.

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

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • South Deep builds, equips science lab at Westonaria school, at Mining Weekly


RESIGNATIONS / STAFFING

NPA boss denies ID head Hermione Cronje resigned due to 'interpersonal relations' or that NPA is in crisis

News24 reports that National Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Shamila Batohi has denied that the resignation of Investigating Directorate (ID) boss advocate Hermione Cronje was a result of "interpersonal relations". She has also denied that the organisation was "in a crisis". Cronje asked to prematurely step down from her position, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed last week.   "The NPA is not in a crisis. There is no widespread sabotage of the ID," said Batohi at a media briefing on Monday. She added that Cronje's resignation was a "culmination of various factors".   However, Batohi declined to go into the details of what had led to the resignation. Yet she added that in high-pressure and high-stakes environments, occasional disagreements were normal. Cronje was not at the media briefing. Batohi reported that Cronje had expressed a wish to vacate her post for some time, and that Batohi had asked her to remain. However, she later realised it would be "in the interest of all concerned" if Cronje left her office. Batohi added that leadership changes were normal, saying a new appointment could benefit the ID.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24. Lees ook, ‘Geen krisis’ by NVG, by Maroela Media


SALARY NON-PAYMENTS

With salaries still not paid, ANC employees face bleak festive season

IOL reports that ANC employees face a bleak festive season as they continue to wait for their salaries to be paid, despite having staged protests outside Luthuli House. ANC Staff Representative Committee chairperson Mvusi Mdala confirmed that salaries have not been paid as yet. "Our salaries are still outstanding for four months. We delivered our memorandum of demand in June. The last salary we received was in August," he claimed.   Commenting on the situation nationally, Mdala said this delay had affected workers in the Free State, Western Cape and Gauteng. He lamented that the houses of ANC employees were being repossessed, school fees were outstanding and they were struggling to pay basic bills.   "Disappointing is an understatement, I don't know how to describe the conduct and behaviour of the ANC," he said. Mdala advised that they could no longer continue to hold weekly protests adding: "Through our union (Nehawu), the only available option to us is to involve the highest court of the country because the governing party is disregarding and undermining the laws of the nation."

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kamogelo Moichela at IOL


SUSPENSIONS / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

SAPS suspends Cape Town cop accused of raping male shoplifting suspect in a police vehicle

News24 reports that a Cape Town police officer has been suspended and is facing disciplinary action after he was arrested and charged with raping a man suspected of shoplifting. The Nyanga officer was arrested over the weekend following an Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigation. The man was allegedly raped while in a police vehicle. "Due to the seriousness of the allegations levelled against the 31-year-old police constable, an expeditious internal disciplinary process into the fitness of the member to be in the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been initiated," said SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.   The victim was arrested by three police officers for attempted shoplifting at a Junction Mall Jet clothing store in Nyanga on Thursday at around 16:00. Instead of taking him to the Nyanga police station, the accused police officer dropped off his colleagues and then took the detainee to a secluded area where he allegedly raped him. The victim was also allegedly assaulted during the arrest.   The victim was not detained. The accused police officer is expected to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

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

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page