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 Monday roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that have appeared since
midday on Friday, 9 June 2017.


Plettenberg Bay firefighter died trying to outrun blaze

News24 reports that the volunteer firefighter who died on Friday morning after helping to put out wildfires in Plettenberg Bay had been trying to outrun the blaze.  Bradley Richards, 24, was admitted to George Mediclinic after suffering serious injuries, but passed away.  Another firefighter, Ian Barnard, who also sustained serious injuries while fighting the same fire, was admitted to hospital in George.  Charlene Theron of Firstcare Wildfire Support said the wind had changed direction while the two firefighters were fighting the blaze.  She said they had jumped into the fire truck, but it wouldn’t start.  "They had to then run to get away.  They are both fit men, but such a fire can spread very fast."  Theron was emotional when she spoke about how the fire reached them.  She said Barnard turned around to try and save Richards when he also burnt.  He suffered burn wounds to his face, hands and legs.

A short report is at News24


Wildcat strike over zama zamas at Sibanye’s Cooke operations continued on Sunday

Reuters reports that a wildcat strike at Sibanye Gold’s Cooke operations west of Johannesburg continued on Sunday and 138 illegal miners there have been arrested since the stoppage began on Tuesday.  A company spokesman said the strike, which has seen 16 miners assaulted in a wave of intimidation, was triggered by worker anger at a company drive to root out illegal miners (zama zamas), which has included the arrest of employees for collusion and a policy that forbids food in underground operations.  The Cooke mines have been at the centre of illicit activities at Sibanye’s operations.  Sibanye has vowed it will clear all illegal miners from its shafts by January 2018.  The Cooke operations, which employ almost 4,000 underground miners, are marginal and Sibanye said their viability was at risk if the strike became prolonged.

Read this report by Ed Stoddard in full at BusinessLive.  See too, Violence, wildcat strike hits Sibanye Gold’s Cooke operation, at eNCA.  And also, Cooke-werkers staak oor zama-zamas, at Netwerk24 (limit on access)

Sibanye says 178 illegal miners now arrested at strike-hit Cooke operations

Reuters reports that Sibanye Gold said on Monday that 178 illegal miners have now been arrested at its Cooke operations since the start of a violent wildcat strike last Tuesday.  An anonymous company source added that the strike was continuing.  It was triggered by worker resentment at a company drive to root out illegal miners, who pilfer gold from the shafts after gaining access through employee collusion.  The illegal miners arrested have been forced to come to the surface because of the strike, which has emptied the shafts of employees, thereby starving them of their sources of food and water underground - an inadvertent consequence of the stoppage.

This short report is at Mining Weekly

Other labour/community posting(s) in this news category

  • NUM regaining lost members, says union’s president, at SABC News
  • Four illegal miners arrested in Limpopo, machinery confiscated, at News24


Agriculture the best perfomer in a struggling economy, with positive jobs potential

Nehru Pillay, general manager for Research and Intelligence at the Land Bank, writes that, even though SA has slipped into a technical recession, last week’s announcement by Statistics SA showed positive GDP growth in two sectors, namely agriculture and mining.  While this growth was not enough to offset the overall contraction in the economy, it underscored the potential of agriculture to become an anchor for positive economic growth.  The agricultural sector GDP growth was particularly impressive in the first quarter of 2017, at 22% quarter-on-quarter annualised.  This was the first sign of positive growth following eight consecutive quarters of negative growth, which was largely driven by persistent drought conditions across the country.  On the employment front, the agricultural sector noted increases during the third and fourth quarters of last year, which indicate the jobs potential that the sector holds.  Land Bank, for example, is working to create partnerships between established commercial players in the sector and emerging farmers to drive economic transformation and social inclusivity.  As more partnerships are forged and more sector players become aligned, the outlook on employment can only improve.

Read this report in full at Business Report

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Talle in die Gamtoosvallei kan werk verloor weens droogte, at Netwerk24 (limit on access)


Satawu members at AARTO embark on strike over work hours

ANA reports that members of the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) at Gauteng’s Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), responsible for managing the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO), on Monday downed tools over work hours.  The employees include adjudicators, call centre agents, revenue service staff, administrators and general workers.  “The trouble started when workers noticed a discrepancy in the stipulated hours of work in their letter of appointment as opposed to what was stated in the original Conditions of Service Policy.  The policy stated 40 hours of work per week, including lunch and tea breaks, while the letter of appointment put total hours of work at 45 hours per week,” the union indicated.  According to the union, further talks with management on the work hours yielded no success.  After the matter was referred to the CCMA, a certificate of non-resolution was issued, opening the way for Satawu to embark on a protected strike.

Read this report in full at Engineering News

Mpumalanga teachers on ‘go-slow’ are working only two hours a day

TimesLive reports that the education of thousands of Mpumalanga schoolchildren has ground to a near halt and exams have been postponed because of a teachers' go-slow.  For the past three weeks, teachers in the province have been coming to work for only two hours a day.  Schools open at 8am and close at 10am.  The protest is over the freezing of teaching posts.  More than 24,000 members of the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) have said they will not return to full-time teaching until the education department's moratorium on filling posts is lifted.  A meeting on Friday between representatives of labour federation Cosatu and Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza failed to find a solution.  Information on vacant posts, how many would be filled and when was apparently going to be presented to organised labour on Monday.

Read this report by Sipho Mabena in full at TimesLive

Nehawu gears up for wage strike from Monday at Dube TradePort

TMG Digital/TimesLive report that the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) in KwaZulu-Natal is preparing for a strike at the Dube TradePort, which is located 30km north of Durban, after wage negotiations deadlocked.  The strike was due to commence on Monday.  In a statement, the union said it had convened numerous meetings with management of the port, following which the membership mandated the leadership to roll out preparations for a strike action.  The demands include the introduction of a 13th cheque‚ a monthly housing allowance of R1,500 and medical aid coverage whereby the employer would contribute 50% of the premiums.  “We demand inflation plus 6% (12% total)‚ R12,000 minimum wage and the employer is only offering 8% and refuses to address the issue of minimum wage‚” Nehawu indicated.

A short report by Kgaugelo Masweneng is at TimesLive.  Read Nehawu’s press statement in this regard at Cosatu Today


Numsa rejects 5.3% wage offer in metal and engineering sector

ANA reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has rejected an offer by employers in the metal and engineering industries for a 5.3% wage increase.  This came after Numsa tabled a demand in the two-day wage talks that began on Wednesday for a 15% wage increase across the board based on the actual rates that workers were earning.  The current wage agreement covering the sector lapses at the end of June.  Numsa also wants a two-year deal, all outstanding issues to be finalised and the extension of the agreement to non-parties falling under the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC).  In response, employers proposed, among other things, a three-year wage agreement with a 5.3% increase across the board for the first year based on minimum rates rather than actual rates.  Numsa acting spokesperson, Phakamile Hlubi, said the union was shocked by the employers’ offer and it rejected it with the contempt it deserved.  Hlubi said the union had demanded that employers go back to the drawing board and come up with a better proposal when the parties meet again on Thursday this week.

Read this report in full at eNCA.  See too, Numsa rejects 5.3% wage offer, at BusinessLive.  And also, Numsa warns of a strike in metal and engineering sector, at EWN

Numsa strike threat in metal and engineering industries

Business Report writes that the jury is out on whether the metal and engineering industries can avert labour unrest after the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) blamed employers for provoking its members to strike.  In a scathing statement on Friday, Numsa said employers had failed to meet its demand for a double digit wage increase during the second day of wage talks held on Thursday.  “Based on this proposal, we are convinced that employers are indeed provoking a deadlock in order to justify a strike.  Employers clearly do not want industrial peace in the engineering sector, they want it to be unstable,” Numsa said.  The union said employers had offered a three-year agreement, when it had demanded a two-year agreement.  Moreover, they had proposed a 5.3% wage increase across the board for the first year of the agreement, based on the minimum rate, and not the actual rate that workers earned.  By contrast, Numsa had demanded a 15% wage increase across the board, based on actual rates and not on minimum rates.  The next meeting between Numsa and employers will be on this Thursday.

Read this report by Dineo Faku in full at Business Report.  Read Numsa’s press statement at Politicsweb


Cosatu won’t be attending bilateral meeting with ANC planned for Monday

EWN reports that that Cosatu will apparently not be attending a planned bilateral meeting with the African National Congress (ANC) on Monday.  The labour federation told the party that it wanted the previously cancelled Alliance Political Council meeting, which was scheduled for last week and cancelled by the ANC, to be held first.  The ANC confirmed that its top six leaders met Sunday to prepare for the bilateral meeting with Cosatu.  It was expected that the ANC would want clarification on Cosatu's decision to ban President Jacob Zuma from speaking at the federation's events.  Cosatu and the SA Communist Party have called on the president to step down, while the federation has taken a decision to bar him from its activities.

Read this report by Clement Manyathela in full at EWN.  See too, Meeting between ANC, Cosatu postponed again, at eNCA

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ekurhuleni mayor Masina lashes out at Cosatu, SACP over Zuma bashing, at IOL News
  • Fedusa calls for Zuma's resignation following Moody's downgrade, at SABC News
  • NUM orders structures to avail resources for Ramaphosa campaign, at SABC News


Last Durban public health oncologist leaves, cancer victim dies

Sunday Tribune reports that a 69-year-old Stanger man who had been waiting to receive urgent cancer treatment at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital died this week amid an oncology crisis in Durban.  Apart from deceased patient, there are thousands of others on the waiting list to receive treatment.  On Friday, the last oncologist in Durban left the public health sector when she resigned.  This placed the hospital, which sees 80% of KZN’s cancer patients, in a fresh crisis because from this week there will be no oncologists at the hospital.  The provincial Department of Health said it was implementing an interim plan to provide treatment and called on oncologists in the province to meet, and to let it know how much of their time they can provide.  This would apply while it was recruiting for replacements.  The SA Medical Association (Sama) and the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) have condemned the crisis, calling for urgent intervention.  Meantime, National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, is awaiting a report on the matter.

Read this report by Nabeelah Shaikh in full at Sunday Tribune.  Read too, KZN health department under severe strain, at SABC News


No new teachers screened by national education department for sexual offences

TimesLive reports that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has not screened a single new teacher, principal or official against the National Sexual Offenders' Register to see if they have been convicted of sexually harming a child.  According to the DBE it does not employ teachers and it is the job of provincial education departments to screen new teachers.  Three provincial education departments have, however, confirmed they did not use the offender register, which is run by the Justice Department, to screen teachers, with one citing its inaccessibility as a reason.  The register can be accessed through a request to the registrar by any employer, including NGOs and churches, wanting to hire staff who will work with children.  The register, which came into effect in 2015, is to ensure that no one convicted of sexually assaulting a child is employed in a position in which he or she will be supervising children.  It is against the law not to screen staff for sexual offences, which the DBE has acknowledged.  Basil Manuel of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA (Naptosa) commented: "I can tell you that they do not access the register."

Read this report by Katharine Child in full at TimesLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Teachers, pupils have to clean Mpumalanga schools, Sadtu claims, at News24


Hlaudi Motsoeneng reportedly found guilty by SABC disciplinary hearing

News24 reports that it has been told by a reliable source that former SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been found guilty in an internal disciplinary hearing.  He faced charges of bringing the SABC into disrepute and causing irreparable damage to his employer.  The charges related to his four-hour long press briefing on 19 April, where he defended his "90% local" policy and also criticised the parliamentary ad-hoc committee charged with looking at the former board and interim board member Krish Naidoo.  The interim board will apparently have a meeting on Monday to discuss the ruling by disciplinary hearing chair Advocate Nazeer Cassim.  According to reports, the SABC will make an announcement at a press briefing on Monday afternoon at 3pm.  Motsoeneng could not be reached for comment.

Read this report by Lizeka Tandwa in full at News24.  See too, D-Day for Hlaudi, at IOL News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Parliamentary workers celebrate Mgidlana suspension, at eNCA
  • SCA dismisses Berning Ntlemeza’s case and orders him to pay costs, at BusinessLive
  • Former SARS spokesperson was never identified as a ‘problem’, CCMA hears, at News24


See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet from Friday, 9 June to Sunday, 11 June 2017 at SA Labour News


Get South African labour news reports at SA Labour News