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


TOP STORY – WAGE NEGOTIATION TURMOIL AT ESKOM

Eskom offers workers 7% salary increase after illegal protests

Bloomberg reports that according to people familiar with the matter, Eskom Holdings is offering workers a 7% wage increase, after the utility lost units during illegal protests that plunged SA into the worst blackouts since 2019. The offer is apparently for one year and the 7% raise is on a sliding scale with higher earners receiving slightly less. Eskom said many workers have reported for duty at power stations after the company met with unions over the situation. Eskom is unprofitable with R396-billion of debt that it relies on government bailouts to service. It made an offer of as much as 5.3% before protests broke out and workers blocked roads to power stations. SA’s consumer inflation rose to 6.5% in May, up from 5.9% in the previous month. The utility’s constrained financial situation meant Eskom would “have to find savings somewhere else” in order to make a higher offer, CEO Andre de Ruyter said in a briefing on Tuesday. Trade unions are expected to present the revised offer to members before negotiations resume on Friday. The details of Eskom’s offer will be “made known” then, the company’s spokesperson indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Engineering News. Read too, Eskom: 7% wage offer to calm blackout storm, at Financial Mail (Editorial). And also, Eskom wage deadlock ends, setting SA back on course to fewer blackouts, at Mail & Guardian (subscriber access only)

Solidarity says Eskom departed prematurely from wage talks with workers

EWN reports that according to trade union Solidarity, Eskom left the early stages of wage talks with it and workers affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) prematurely. After an unprotected strike at several of its power stations, the struggling state-owned power utility announced on Wednesday morning that many employees were peacefully returning to work with no reports of industrial action.   Solidarity's deputy general secretary, Helgard Cronjé, reported that Eskom approached them to participate in wage negotiations from Friday going forward. “We agreed to it, and we view it as a positive step that NUM and Numsa have agreed to return to the negotiating table with Eskom on Friday.   Otherwise, we would have probably still experienced these unprotected protest and strike actions.” Cronjé reiterated that the trade union did not support the latest industrial action at some of the utility's power stations and called on its members not to participate. In a statement, the utility said any new wage offer would be made public when negotiations resumed on Friday.

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

Eskom warns it may take ‘days to weeks’ before its systems recover following illegal protests

Moneyweb reports that the recovery of Eskom’s generation systems is off to a slow start as, according to the power utility’s statement on Wednesday, many of its workers remain absent. This was despite Tuesday’s joint call by unions for workers to return to work on the promise that wage negotiations would continue on Friday. On Wednesday morning Eskom’s spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha advised that employees had returned to work to fulfil the essential service of keeping the country’s lights on. However, it seems the utility might have spoken too soon. Later in the day it released an alert that advised as follows:   “While some workers have started reporting for duty at the power stations, there is still a high level of absenteeism. As a result of the unlawful strike, routine maintenance work has had to be postponed.   This backlog will take days to weeks to clear. It is therefore important to note that the system will remain constrained and vulnerable to additional breakdowns while recovery activities are in progress.”   The utility went on to indicate:   “Due to the unlawful and unprotected labour action, which has caused widespread disruption to Eskom’s power plants, Eskom is unable to return some generators to service. This has compelled Eskom to continue taking precautionary measures to conserve emergency generation capacity and safeguard plant from damage. There remains a risk that the stage of load shedding may have to change at any time, depending on the state of the plant.” The employee stayaway observed from 22 June came after Eskom management walked out of wage negotiation talks with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Solidarity. The utility’s decision to return to the negotiating table with unions is the reason why some employees are making their way back to work. Although it is still unclear how much Eskom will be offering workers, the parties are set to resume talks on 1 July, where hopefully an agreement will be reached.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Akhona Matshoba at Moneyweb

High-level political interventions behind the scenes to end violent Eskom labour strike

BL Premium reports that as SA remains saddled with stage 4 and stage 6 load-shedding, high-level interventions are under way to ensure workers who have started to return after having embarked on an illegal and violent strike at Eskom will be satisfied with a revised wage offer expected to be tabled on Friday. President Cyril Ramaphosa intervened on Tuesday to resolve the impasse in wage talks.   This was after Eskom announced that sabotage and intimidation by striking workers resulted in a 90% stayaway at many power plants. Ramaphosa, who arrived back in SA after the Group of Seven summit in Germany on Tuesday morning, received an immediate briefing from public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, who was asked to do what was needed to ensure power was restored immediately. It is also understood that Ramaphosa held a bilateral meeting with Gordhan and Eskom management on how the government could improve the 4%-5.3% wage increase offer. Unions are demanding between 10% and 12%. Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said the president was categoric that load-shedding could not continue unabated and the strike at Eskom was illegal. Magwenya added that Ramaphosa was deeply concerned by the acts of sabotage and intimidation, which included petrol bombs, to try to stop all work at Eskom in demand for a high wage. “It is tragic that union leaders are engaging in an approach that ultimately will have a devastating impact on workers. Short-term gains are not worth losing an entire job a few months later,” Magwenya said. He went on to warn: “Action on intimidation is extremely important. Eskom needs the support of law-enforcement agencies. If it is allowed to continue, it will become a norm.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Hajra Omarjee & Denene Erasmus at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, Load shedding crisis: UDM wants parliamentary debate, DA blames government and Gordhan, at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • 'It's unfair' to blame me or government for Eskom crisis - Mantashe on defensive at urgent Cabinet meeting, at Engineering News
  • Stage 6 load shedding a ‘serious blow’ on all sectors of the economy, says Busa, at The Citizen
  • Nuuskommentaar: Brand, Suid-Afrika, dan word jy beter betaal! by Maroela Media


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Eastern Cape police officer arrested for allegedly killing her colleague during a night patrol

IOL reports that the Hawks have arrested a 31-year-old female police officer attached to Anti-gang Unit in Gqeberha on allegations of murdering her colleague. Sergeant Sindile Godfrey Daniels, 40, was shot in the stomach during a night patrol in KwaDwesi on 17 June. Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela explained that Daniels was with his two female colleagues when they were on patrol. During the patrol, the trio noticed three men, whom they stopped to search, but found nothing on them. The officers heard a gunshot while they were searching the men but thought nothing of it. “As they drove away from the scene, the driver noticed that the police member at the back seat was not looking well. The member at the back then told his colleagues that he was not feeling well and his stomach was sore. They then realised he was shot and immediately rushed him to Mercantile Hospital where he declared dead on arrival,” Mgolodela reported. During investigation, the firearms of the two female officers were taken for ballistic testing and one of them was a match for the firearm that fired the fatal bullet killing Daniels.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Brenda Masilela at IOL. Lees ook, Polisievrou agter tralies ná kollega se skietdood, by Maroela Media

Second Clover security guard attacked during strike dies

TimesLive reports that JJ Cassanga, a security guard who was attacked during the Clover strike in February, has died. Civil rights organisation AfriForum said he collapsed at his doctor’s rooms on Tuesday. Cassanga was seriously injured in the protest action that also led to the murder of security manager Terrence Tegg at Clover’s offices in Olifantsfontein on 17 February. AfriForum is representing both families. According to Cassanga’s relatives, he sustained head trauma and brain injuries during the assault, and had since been suffered from seizures and migraines. Cassanga is survived by four children. The five men accused of Tegg’s murder and the assault on Cassanga will again appear in the Thembisa Magistrate’s Court on 11 July for a continuation of a bail application for three of the accused. If the evidence revealed a link between the assault and Cassanga’s death, the accused would face a second count of murder, said AfriForum.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard at TimesLive. Lees ook, Tweede Clover-veiligheidswag sterf, by Maroela Media

Paramedics still under attack

Weekend Argus reports that paramedics have once again come under attack, with an EMS vehicle having been hijacked from an accident scene in Table View on Tuesday. While on patrol in Steenberg, officers from the LEAP Reaction Unit saw a vehicle matching its description and driving at high speed. They gave chase, and the driver was arrested for being in possession of stolen property, drunk driving, reckless and negligent driving and resisting arrest. The suspect is being held at the Milnerton police station. The Western Cape Health Department’s Byron La Hoe pointed out that most attacks occurred in areas that have been identified as red zones.   Last week, two ER24 medics were robbed at gunpoint on the R510 between Mogwase and Rustenburg, in the North West province. ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said the medics were transferring a critically ill patient along to his home from a hospital in Rustenburg when the patient’s vital signs began to diminish rapidly. The crew pulled the ambulance off to the side of the road and, while treating the patient, three armed men approached the ambulance, pulled open the door and robbed the medics of their personal belongings, as well as the patient’s belongings. An ER24 advanced life support paramedic stopped at the scene and noticed the ongoing robbery.   The three armed men then fled.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Shanice Naidoo at Weekend Argus


MINING LABOUR

Brazenness of illegal mining a significant concern to legitimate industry

Mining Weekly reports that Minerals Council SA (MCSA) legal deputy head Mxolisi Ngubane says that, although the prevalence of illegal mining is not new, the brazenness and evolving nature at which operations are taking place is becoming increasingly concerning to the wider mining industry and especially to miners in hotspot or sensitive areas. Illegal mining continues as an “unprecedented crisis” for the legitimate mining industry and especially mines in hotspot areas in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, laments Roger Baxter CEO of the MCSA (previously called the Chamber of Mines). Attacks on legitimate mining operations are being handled with military-like precision. “They [are] highly skilled, highly trained, highly armed. At times, they even use booby traps … aimed [at] their rival illegal miners, [as well as] at some of the [legitimate mining] employees, where they take over [operational] shafts,” Ngubane said. He went on to indicate: “As much as the focus of illegal mining has been on abandoned and derelict mines or shafts that are no longer in use, there are instances where the brazenness is to such an extent that there are attempts to take over [existing] operations.” Recent examples of the violence include an armed attack on a Harmony Gold operation about two months ago, as well as a four-hour-long assault at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Cooke shaft, where 150 armed men attacked the mine’s security using an assortment of heavy weapons. Ngubane said the illegal mining industry could not be tolerated because of a concerning and significant disregard for safety among themselves, while their haphazard use of explosives undermined the structural integrity of mine shafts, as well as the health and safety of miners working in those operations.

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


JOB CREATION

Three years ago, Ramaphosa set a goal of one million youth jobs a year, but only 82,207 were delivered

Fin24 reports that when President Cyril Ramaphosa launched The Youth Employment Services (YES) programme in March 2018, it was supposed to create one million jobs for unemployed youth per year for three years.   Four years later, the YES programme has only created 82,207 work opportunities for young people. And only around 30% to 35% of those opportunities were converted to full-time or permanent employment, said the Yes4Youth non-executive director, Cas Coovadia, on Tuesday. Coovadia, also the CEO of Business Unity SA and the chairperson of the National Business Initiative, addressed the key shortcomings and learnings from the Yes4Youth initiative at the PSG Think Big Series.   While he admitted that the jobs that the initiative had created were a "drop in the ocean" of what was promised, he said that the 1-million target had been too ambitious to begin with. "When we started looking at this, it became quite clear that we couldn't create a million jobs a year. Not because of lack of effort but because the environment just wasn't there for us to do so … The sort of targets we set for it were quite honestly unrealistic," he said. He added that when those promises were made, they were not informed by any research.   It was just a "hype", especially because there was also a mismatch in skills mass-produced by SA universities and the new jobs that the fourth industrial revolution demanded.   About 70% of the 82,207 employment opportunities that the programme managed to create came from manufacturing, information and communication, the financial industry, other services, motor vehicle repairs and the wholesale and retail sectors. Coovadia said there was still a lot of work to do in the mining and quarrying sector, health and social work, and power and gas industries.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Londiwe Buthelezi at Fin24


FOOD INFLATION / TRANSPORT FARES

South Africans are paying almost 14% more for basic food than a year ago

TimesLive reports that cash-strapped South Africans are paying almost 14% more for basic food and personal hygiene items than a year ago, prompting fears of rising hunger, social instability and poor health. The latest Household Affordability Index compiled by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD) shows the average cost of its goods basket increased by R560.57 (13.6%), to R4,688.81 in June 2022 from R4,128.23 a year earlier. The basket tracks food prices at 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Springbok in the Northern Cape. Of the 44 food items monitored, 29 cost more. “The escalation of food inflation on basic staple foods, one which households cannot absorb and one where no apparent relief is forthcoming, at least in the near term, is a major concern. This situation raises three red flags: increased hunger, increased risk of social instability and a general deterioration of health — with short- and long-term consequences,” said PMBEJD’s Mervyn Abrahams. He went on to predict: “Much higher commodity prices, production and logistical costs will continue to drive prices upwards and are likely to continue rising for the rest of 2022. All the local and global factors driving food prices upwards continue.” In July public transport fares are set to increase – including the cost of transporting children to school – and the annual electricity tariff hikes will come into effect.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Suthentira Govender at BusinessLive

Looming fare hikes of up to R5 a trip biggest in SA taxi history

SowetanLive reports that taxi commuters are to be hit with hefty increases of up to R5, the highest in history, as fuel prices and the cost of living continue to spiral. The increases have been driven by the recent increases in the fuel price, which have threatened the sustainability of taxi operations. The Automobile Association of SA said on Tuesday that the price of fuel was expected to rise by between R2.40 and R2,60 a litre and the price of diesel by about R2.40 on 6 July. In Johannesburg, the Witwatersrand African Taxi Owners Association (Wata), which moves people between Soweto and the inner city, said it would increase its fares by between R2 and R4 from 15 July, while the Soweto Taxi Services (STS) will push its fares up by R5. This would mean a trip from Protea to the Joburg CBD, which now costs R22, will cost R27 from Friday. Meanwhile in Tshwane, the Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association (Mata) said it would also increase its fares by R5 from Friday.   A single trip from Mamelodi to the Pretoria CBD will now cost R25. Wata spokesperson Hamilton Miya said they had no option but to increase the fares to remain sustainable. “The last time we increased our prices was three years ago because we are mindful of customers. If we could, we would increase prices by R10, if you just look at how much petrol has and is still going to increase by,” he indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Manda Maliba, Penwell Dlamini & Mandla Khoza at SowetanLive. Read too, Looming taxi fare rise sets in mood of desperation, at SowetanLive

Bus commuters also hit by fare increases

SowetanLive reports that commuters using buses and the Gautrain have not been spared price hikes. Putco spokesperson Matlaka Motloung advised that the bus fares increased by 9% on 1 April, which was the highest hike introduced by the company in years. She said increases were informed by cost drivers such as fuel, which accounted for 30% of operating costs, maintenance and spares. Last year, Putco raised its fares by 5%. Rea Vaya buses are also set to increase their fares from 1 July.   Spokesperson Benny Makgoga said Rea Vaya trips will rise by between 50c and R10 depending on the kilometres and trip type (single or double). He said the company considered the consumer price index (CPI), income of residents in Johannesburg and the annual customer satisfaction survey to determine its fares. Even those using the Gautrain have started paying more after a 5.56% increase kicked in on 1 June. Gautrain spokesperson Dr Barbara Jensen said the company, however, reduced its parking fares by 12% to ease pressure on commuters.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Penwell Dlamini & Amanda Maliba at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • City of Joburg faces court action over exorbitant school-rates hikes, at Moneyweb


UNLAWFUL PPE PROCUREMENT

Special Tribunal sets aside R103m PPE tender awarded by Gauteng health department to Zakheni Strategic Supplies

News24 reports that the Special Tribunal has reviewed and set aside a multimillion-rand personal protective equipment (PPE) tender awarded by the Gauteng Department of Health to Zakheni Strategic Supplies.   The R103 million tender was declared unlawful on Wednesday. Judge Lebogang Modiba ordered Zakheni to pay back all profits from the unlawful and invalid tender. Modiba said: "The irregular manner in which the contract was awarded constitutes a material infraction to the constitutional values of fairness, transparency, equity, effectiveness and cost effectiveness. Therefore, it is just and equitable to set aside the contract." Modiba said Zakheni was not entitled to profit from an irregular contract. She added: “I find no basis to exercise my discretion to permit Zakheni to benefit from the contract under the present circumstances.” The SIU said the tribunal order was a continuation of the implementation of its "investigation outcomes and consequence management to recover assets and financial losses suffered by state institutions and/or to prevent further losses".

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jeanette Chabalala at News24. Lees ook, PPE-tender onwettig, ongeldig verklaar, by Maroela Media


OTHER HEADLINES / ARTICLES OF INTEREST

  • Local clothing is 'lekker' for retailers – it’s more profitable and helps address supply issues, at Business Insider SA
  • RGB mag nie dokter toelatingseksamen weier, by Maroela Media
  • Alexforbes Index concludes that medical aid sector in good shape despite Covid-19 pandemic, at Moneyweb

 


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