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 South African
labour-related reports.


STEEL & ENGINEERING WAGE DEAL

Steel and engineering workers secure inflation-beating wage deal

BL Premium reports that employers in the steel and engineering sector have signed an above-inflation multi-term wage deal with the largest union, potentially setting a precedent for future labour agreements and raising operational costs for the embattled sector. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), which speaks for the majority of workers falling under the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), framed the three-year deal as “progressive”. It will secure wage increases of 7%, 6% and 6% a year over each of the three years, beating the prevailing consumer inflation rate of 5.3%. The deal is a significant victory for workers, who will also benefit from extra money specifically for housing in the engineering sector. Lucio Trentini, CEO of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), noted that the 2024 agreement was reached in record time, with no industry disruption and within the mandate. The deal was endorsed on Monday by 57% of the workers in the sector, including 115,000 Numsa members. The wage deal, effective from 1 July to 30 June 2027, is based on the minimum rates of pay and not on actual rates of pay, a stance that forced Solidarity to reject the revised offer. Trentini reported that there was a commitment by parties to “meaningfully address access to housing for industry workers”. He indicated that the parties had agreed to request the Metals and Engineering Industries Benefit Fund’s board of trustees to develop an institutional framework to address aspects including eligibility, legal criteria, funding models, subsidy mechanisms and programmes.   Substantive policy approaches will be formulated within three months of the signing the agreement.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, Steel sector reaches speedy three-year wage deal - which includes housing for the first time, at Fin24


GEORGE BUILDING COLLAPSE

Death toll in George building collapse rises to 30, with 22 people still unaccounted for

TimesLIVE reports that the death toll following the collapse of a partially built building in George a week ago rose to 30 at 6pm on Monday, with 22 workers still unaccounted for. The George municipality said rescue workers and other role players had been on site for 172 hours. There were 81 workers on site when the disaster occurred.   Rescue workers have rescued and recovered 59 workers, with 13 workers in hospital. The municipality said plans were under way to expedite the identification of the deceased, which was being done by the Forensic Pathology Service and the police. “We are experiencing difficulties in obtaining accurate names of individuals missing or deceased due to the building collapse. We urgently request families who have lost contact with their loved ones to come to the George Civic Centre on York Street,” the municipality indicated. This will enable the Department of Social Development to collect detailed and precise information, ensuring all records are accurately documented.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard at TimesLIVE. Read too, Families asked to help identify workers after George building collapse, at TimesLIVE

‘Prima facie issues’ in George building collapse ‘warrant further examination’, says public works minister

The Citizen reports that preliminary investigations have indicated concerns that warrant further examination regarding the building collapse in George, Western Cape. The apartment building on Victoria Street in George collapsed last week Monday while still under construction, resulting in several fatalities. Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikala visited the site for inspection on Monday because the incident necessitated his department’s involvement.   He commented: “We are here to understand the circumstances surrounding this incident. The purpose of our visit is to ascertain the role of professionals who were involved with this project and assess if there was sufficient compliance with all building and environment regulations and to establish if there is no misconduct committed by the professionals leading to this disaster.” He told the media that the site was still a crime scene with work being undertaken by the law enforcement agencies – including the SA Police Service (Saps). “Therefore, [it is] only accessible to the Saps and the disaster management teams.   However, there is a preliminary report which present prima facie issues that warrant further examination regarding this disaster,” Zikalala advised. He said it had been established that the main contractor was not registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), which regulated the construction industry, but that was not a requirement for private companies. He highlighted that the CIDB Bill was aimed at addressing that gap. The public has until 31 May to comment on the draft law.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • George building collapse: 'Miracle' as man rescued after 116 hours trapped under rubble, at News24
  • Police Minister Bheki Cele says contractors at the George building site are not forthcoming with information, at EWN


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

Limpopo worker who survived hyena attack, says ‘I realised something was eating me right there and then’

You reports that the left side of a former security guard’s face, his head and his shoulder are a mass of scars and a thick ridge of flesh covers the area where his eye should be. The wounds tell of a night of horror and trauma – a night when a predator stepped out of the shadows and attacked him as he lay sleeping on a sweltering bushveld night. “It’s a miracle I’m alive,” Trust Ndlovu said. The 38-year-old dad was working as a security guard on a game farm near Musina in Limpopo where wild animals were treated with utmost respect. Trust could never have predicted what would happen that night six months ago when everything changed in a few heart-stopping moments. He’d been on the 10am-to-8pm shift and went back to his quarters to cool off and get some rest. He lay down on the floor and kept the door to his room open to catch a breeze. Trust fell asleep and the next thing he knew his head was being clamped in a vice-like grip. “The hyena came in while I was asleep. I just realised something was eating me right there and then,” he recounted.   The animal was so powerful it pulled him out of the house. He managed to grab hold of a pole and tried to simultaneously hit the hyena and bash it against the ground to attract the attention of others in the camp. “It was chaos. There was blood all over. People staying in the neighbouring rooms came to help me and they fought the hyena off,” he reported. Trust was rushed to a local hospital where doctors stabilised him and was then transferred to Netcare Pholoso Hospital in Polokwane. The damage was extensive.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nokuthula Zwane-Ejike at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ngcobo wall collapse: Tailor recalls unusual sound, bricks falling and 'someone dead in front of me', at News24


MINING LABOUR

March by hundreds of mineworkers on Saturday against looming retrenchments at Sibanye-Stillwater

GroundUp reports that hundreds of mine workers took to the streets on the West Rand of Johannesburg on Saturday to protest looming retrenchments at gold producer Sibanye-Stillwater. The protesting mine workers highlighted the impact that the company’s recent wave of retrenchments has had on workers and their families. Shortly after concluding a retrenchment process in December, Sibanye announced that more than 575 employees would be retrenched with a further 550 granted voluntary severance packages. Then in April the company announced that a further 4,000 jobs could be at risk in its gold operations. According to the producer, a business review identified a need to address losses at the Beatrix 1 shaft in the Free State and the Kloof 2 plant in the West Rand.   The protest on Saturday was organised by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and supported by labour federation Cosatu. It came after disgruntled NUM members disrupted Cosatu’s May Day Rally in Soweto over what they claimed was a lack of support from the trade federation about the job losses at Sibanye. Unions also questioned the timing of the announcement by Sibanye, namely just before salary negotiations and at a time when the price of gold was surging.   NUM in its memorandum of demands called for the resignation of top management and CEO Neal Froneman, “as they are unable to stabilise and run the mining company”. Calls were also made for the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe to revoke Sibanye’s mining licence. The union gave the company two weeks to respond, saying it would otherwise intensify industrial action.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ihsaan Haffejee at GroundUp

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • Anglo American rejects improved all-share takeover proposal from BHP, at Miningmx


NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Ramaphosa to sign NHI bill into law on Wednesday

BL Premium reports that in the face of growing pressure from within the ANC, President Cyril Ramaphosa will sign the contentious National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law on Wednesday, setting the stage for a protracted fight with business, healthcare professionals and opposition parties. The Bill sets in motion the government’s ambitious plans for universal health coverage, which to create a unified health system that provides patients with care that is free at the point of delivery, whether at a public or private facility. It was submitted to Ramaphosa in December last year. In a statement issued on Monday evening, the Presidency said Ramaphosa would sign the Bill into law at a public ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria at 2pm on Wednesday. The Bill "directs the transformation of SA's healthcare system" and would "overcome the socioeconomic imbalances and inequities of the past", the statement indicated.   The Bill paves the way for the creation of a government-controlled NHI Fund, which will be the sole purchaser of services provided under the scheme. The government has yet to specify how it will be financed, but the ANC has consistently said it intends to redirect the money employers and individuals pay to medical schemes into the NHI Fund by taxation, a proposition critics say is unviable. One of the Bill’s most controversial aspects its prohibition on medical schemes covering benefits provided by NHI, a provision critics say is unconstitutional.

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


CGE IMPEACHMENT MOOT

CGE's Mbuyiselo Botha set to get off scot-free on misconduct charges despite impeachment inquiry

EWN reports that Gender Equality Commissioner (CGE) Mbuyiselo Botha is set to get off scot-free on misconduct charges despite the National Assembly (NA) agreeing last week to initiate an impeachment inquiry against him. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed the commission for being tardy in bringing to Parliament its misconduct complaint against Botha, which dates back to 2021. He's been paid more than R2 million in salary since a tussle over his suspension for making disparaging and degrading remarks about fellow commissioners commenced. An independent judicial panel last month found sufficient evidence for Botha to face a parliamentary impeachment inquiry. The NA has upheld the report's recommendation and has referred it to a Section 194 committee to initiate an inquiry. But time is not on its side. With Botha's tenure as commissioner ending this month and with Parliament rising in two weeks' time, the process now appears moot. Botha faces five misconduct charges, which Parliament's committee on women says are inconsistent with his responsibilities as a gender commissioner.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mbuyiselo Botha at EWN


FAKE SICK NOTE DISMISSALS

Sibanye’s dismissal of scores of employees for faking sick notes upheld by Labour Appeal Court

BL Premium reports that precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater’s decision to fire 59 employees at its Rustenburg platinum operations after finding them guilty of forging sick notes set the company up against the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which claimed the employees were unfairly dismissed. Sibanye fired the employees after a hearing in terms of which they were found guilty of submitting fake sick notes to take time off work. Amcu then took Sibanye to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which ruled against the employees. The union then approached the Labour Court (LC) to set aside the award by the CCMA – arguing that the commissioner failed to consider mitigation and aggravation factors, the inconsistency of discipline and the severity of the dismissal sanction. The arguments led by the Amcu persuaded the LC, which remitted the matter back to the CCMA for a hearing on the issue of sanction. The LC’s decision was on Friday set aside by the Labour Appeal Court (LAC), thereby handing Sibanye a victory in the dispute. The LAC indicated: “The certificates were signed by the same unknown person without her/his initials or surname and none of them had a serial number. The employees submitted the certificates with one motive, namely to deceive the appellant in circumstances in which the appellant has a zero-tolerance approach in as far as dishonesty and fraud. The misconduct committed by the employees was of a serious nature and was grossly dishonest. Such conduct patently undermined the trust relationship between the parties.”

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


PARLIAMENTARY SUSPENSION OPPOSED

Nehawu opposes the suspension of Secretary to Parliament Xolile George

EWN reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) in Parliament said that it was opposed to the suspension of Secretary to Parliament Xolile George. He came under fire recently when it emerged that he received a hefty salary increase of over a million rand in the span of 17 months. The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants Parliament to investigate Xolile George's 70% salary hike, but Nehawu’s Parliament branch has told the legislature to keep its 'hands off' George. Workers in Parliament said that despite the salary controversy, George had managed to stabilise the house and his suspension would affect the work of the house. Branch chairperson Sthembiso Tembe said that the union would oppose his suspension.   He indicated: "We recently heard there’s an imminent move to suspend George before the elections. We are against that as workers as Nehawu because we don’t know what could inform a decision to suspend him. Surely it can’t be issue of salary because the executive authority still needs to explain." Nehawu also called for the ANC’s parliamentary caucus to engage labour before making any decisions before the general elections.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Babalo Ndenze at EWN


TOP COP’S DISMISSAL UPHELD

Labour Court throws out former top cop Khomotso Phahlane's latest bid to fight his dismissal

News24 reports that the Labour Court (LC) has thrown out former national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane's attempt to challenge his dismissal. On Thursday, Acting Judge Rosalind Davey dismissed Phahlane's application for leave to appeal, finding that he wilfully and intentionally refused to comply with the police's contractual obligations without a sound basis. She said she believed no court would come to a different conclusion. In October last year, the LC upheld his dismissal, finding that he "intentionally or negligently" broke the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) by refusing to honour a R46-million police contract for the purchase 360-degree panoramic cameras. Phahlane was axed after he failed to honour the contract with Ethemba Forensic Group (EFG), telling the company that its equipment bid offer "was misleading and not compliant with the specifications". The contract was entered into in July 2014, when Phahlane was the head of forensic services for the police. In his appeal application, Phahlane argued that the commissioner at the bargaining council did not find that his actions constituted serious misconduct and that there was no evidence that his conduct amounted to serious insubordination. However, Davey said his conduct didn't need to amount to serious insubordination to constitute serious misconduct.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Belinda Pheto at News24


ALLEGED CORRUPTION

Former Transnet bosses sued for millions in scandal over kickbacks for houses

News24 reports that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is suing two former top Transnet property executives for R12.7 million as it seeks to recover funds lost to corruption and bribery at the struggling state-owned company. The SIU has filed a lawsuit against Zack "Thabo" Lebelo, Transnet's former head of property, for R5.3 million, and is seeking an additional R7.4 million from Phathutshedzo Mashamba, who managed Transnet's coastal properties division. The executives are accused of receiving millions of rands in "bribes, gratification, and secret profits" tied to a series of dubious property deals.   The lawsuit was revealed last week when the SIU asked the tribunal to sign off on a motion to increase the amount for which it was suing Lebelo and Mashamba. Judge Lebogang Modiba ruled the state could amend its claims based on new evidence from ongoing investigations. The attempt to reclaim millions of rands follows the SIU's success roughly 20 months ago in freezing property and pension benefits linked to Lebelo and Mashamba, their spouses, and family trusts. Investigators have accused the pair of receiving millions of rands in kickbacks from Transnet service providers Superfecta Trading 209 and BBDM Bros Advertising Agency (BBDM) between 2016 and 2018. They allegedly used these illicit funds to purchase exclusive properties in Rosebank and Dainfern. According to the state, Superfecta "gifted or donated" three apartments and an "exclusive-use balcony" area in Rosebank to Lebelo, while Mashamba received R2 million from a former director.   Mashamba reportedly used these funds to purchase a property in Diepsloot, which he later sold, using the proceeds to help buy a house in the exclusive Dainfern Golf Estate.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jan Cronje at Fin24


RAIL COMMUTING

Trains set to run from Nyanga to Philippi on Prasa's central line by end May

News24 reports that recovery of Cape Town’s central line is well underway, according to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).   It is intended to have trains back up and running between Nyanga and Philippi by the end of May. At a community engagement in Mitchells Plain on 10 May, Prasa officials advised that through extensive engagements with the Philippi community, the relocation of hundreds of illegal occupants from the central line allowed them to work on restoring this service, with the next step being recovery to Mitchells Plain. This area was worst affected by encroachment, with Prasa negotiation securing clearing of 10m from the line. Prasa only requires 8m to run their operations. Phase 1 in their recovery plan was the relocation of persons in Langa. They have since negotiated with occupiers to give back one line. In Philippi, they have relocated persons to another plot of Prasa property near Stock Road. A total of 884 dwellers have been moved from ward 34 in Philippi to the Stock Road section in ward 88 in Philippi. This is a temporary relocation. An application has been made to have this rezoned. There are still occupiers in Langa to be moved to a proposed plot of land located in the Philipi Wedge in ward 43.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Samantha Lee-Jacobs at News24


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • Huge disparity in how much we all earn, at Moneyweb
  • SAPS’ skill drain now ‘critical’ – unions, at The Citizen
  • SAPS institutes disciplinary action against cop linked to Vereeniging engineer's murder, at News24

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page