news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Tuesday, 5 June 2018.


TOP STORY – PUBLIC SECTOR WAGE STRIKE

Public Servants Association set to strike from 11 June over wages

BusinessLive reports that the 230,000 strong Public Servants Association (PSA) is set to down tools on 11 June, after its members rejected a wage deal offered by the government.  PSA General Manager Ivan Fredericks confirmed on Monday that the union had notified the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) as well as the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) of its intention to strike indefinitely pending further talks with the government.  The offer from the government includes wage increases of 6% to 7% for 2018 and consumer price index plus 1% for successive years.  However, it still does not enjoy majority support from unions.  Thus far, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) has agreed to the proposed deal, but its 20% representation, combined with that of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), is short of the 50% + 1 threshold.  Workers are demanding increases of 10%-12%.  At present, no talks are under way.

Read this report by Natasha Marrian in full at BusinessLive. See too, PSA set to strike as public service wage talks deadlock, at Fin24

PSA’s looming public sector strike scorned by Cosatu

Afro Voice reports that the notice served on the government on Monday by the Public Servants Association (PSA) of a national strike over public sector wage rises has heightened tensions with rival Cosatu.  In a letter sent to the director general of the Department of Public Service and Administration, PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said PSA members would down tools from Monday.  But labour federation Cosatu on Monday called the PSA’s bluff, describing it as “nonsensical”.  Two Cosatu-aligned unions, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) and the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), have so-far signed the government’s agreement.  PSA deputy general manager Tahir Maepa said they were not part of the agreement when it was drafted and that was why they have rejected it.  Cosatu lead negotiator Mike Shingange stated that Cosatu would be sitting out of the PSA’s looming strike action.  He observed:  “Cosatu will not be joining the strike.  We don’t have a mandate from our members.  All this time Cosatu unions have been the ones who are waging these battles while they have been enjoying the fruits of our strikes.”  National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) deputy secretary general December Mavuso said the notice by the PSA had not put any pressure on them as they were “still consulting” their members.

Read this report by Tiisetso Manoko & Bonolo Selebano in full at Afro Voice


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Appalling conditions for cash-in-transit guards lead to collusion with criminals

The Star reports that poor working conditions and meagre salaries in a highly dangerous environment are major contributors that have pushed some cash-in-transit guards to collude with gangs.  Despite putting their lives on the line to safeguard the vast sums of money that are transported daily, security guards call it a thankless job.  They say cash-in-transit heists are highly violent and dangerous experiences that leave the survivors traumatised and in need of professional counselling.  But, despite the ever-present risk, an average guard who works for one of the top three cash-in-transit companies earns around R11,000 a month, and has basic gun-handling skills.  Outdated handguns are used, compared to the high-calibre automatic rifles used by robbers.  Three guards interviewed separately put the blame for the recent upsurge in heists on their employers for subjecting them to terrible working conditions.  The latest figures show that 152 heists were reported countrywide from 1 January to date, which resulted in 11 fatalities and 70 injuries.  Gauteng accounted for 58 robberies, Mpumalanga 20 and the Eastern Cape 19.  The Federation of Unions of SA and the Motor Transport Workers’ Union are planning a nationwide strike on Monday in the hope of meeting with employers to raise their concerns, which include the provision of medical aid and counselling, and upgrading of the cash vans.

Read this report by Lindile Sifile in full at The Star

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Domestic worker attacked by employers’ dogs, at GroundUp


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS

Thousands of Sundays River Valley farm workers striking for higher wages

GroundUp reports that thousands of farm workers in the Sundays River Valley area in the Eastern Cape have been striking since last Thursday demanding higher wages.  Workers on the citrus farms of Addo and Kirkwood want a minimum wage of R20 an hour.  But employers claim they have already agreed to that, and that workers have been forced to protest against their will by the SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO).  Vuyisile Sikani, chairperson of the Sundays River Workers Forum and SANCO, said workers were being exploited by their employers and claimed that most workers in the citrus farms and factories were earning R16 an hour.  He also claimed that workers were not provided with protective clothing.  But Hannes De Waal of the Sundays River Citrus Company, a group of farmers, disputed these claims.  “It is not that farmers don’t want to pay the gazetted minimum wage.  We in fact agreed last week with our workers and increased their wages, from 16 an hour to R18 this year, then to R20 next year.  The workers were satisfied because at present no worker is earning less than R18 per hour.  We sense that this is not coming from them but SANCO,” he stated.  De Waal could not quantify the cost of the losses as a result of the strike, but estimates that it ran into millions.  Meanwhile, seven people were arrested early on Friday in Kirkwood for public violence.

Read this report by Joseph Chirume in full at GroundUp


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING / WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

NUM rails against Eskom’s 0% wage increase offer

Mining Weekly reports that members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging region who are employees at Eskom have resolved not to accept the utility’s offer of a 0% wage increase.  Following the first round of wage negotiations, the regional shop steward council met with its members to discuss the wage offer.  The council resolved that before Eskom could plead poverty, it needed to ensure that those who contributed to the financial distress of the entity should be brought to account and repay the money that was mismanaged and/or stolen from Eskom.  An example was said to be the wasteful expenditure of contracting services from McKinsey and Trillion, which have been tied to the controversial Gupta family.  NUM has instructed Eskom to present an audited financial statement at the second round of wage negotiations on 6 to 8 June.

This short report is at Mining Weekly. Read the NUM’s press statement in this regard at NUM News

Talks to break impasse over municipal wage increases to be held later this week

Afro Voice reports that the SA Local Government Association (Salga) is hopeful the upcoming municipal wage negotiations, set to take place on Thursday and Friday, will produce a breakthrough.  Salga spokesperson Sivuyile Mbambato said the association was sticking to its offer because it could not afford the 8-10% wage demands put forward by the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).  The union has previously rejected Salga’s 7% wage offer.  “We will hear from Samwu because they are the ones that said they were going to go back to their members to seek clarity.  “We will need to listen to them and they will need to give us feedback on what they have done and start negotiating from there,” Mbambato said.  Recently, Samwu general secretary Simon Mathe claimed that municipalities were able to afford the requested pay hike.  “We are finding ourselves in a situation where everything has increased.  We are looking at an increase of tax.  With the current offer from Salga, our members cannot earn a decent livelihood,” Mathe said.  He also pointed out that the salary gap between the ordinary workers and the senior managers was huge and needed to be closed.

Read this report by Tiisetso Manoko in full at Afro Voice


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB LOSSES

Deutsche Bank cuts units in SA as part of global review, job losses not known

Fin24 reports that Deutsche Bank is shutting down most of its corporate-finance division in South Africa as part of a global review of its business.  The Frankfurt-based bank will terminate its advisory, corporate-broking and sponsor-services units in the country over the next six months.  It has not elaborated on the number of jobs that may be affected.  A Deutsche Bank spokesperson indicated via email:  “There will be an orderly wind-up over a period of up to six months.  Our debt capital markets, fixed-income and treasury products in South Africa will not be affected.  We remain committed to our South African clients.”  The Frankfurt-based lender employs 130 people at its SA unit, according to its website.  Deutsche Bank is Europe’s largest lender and reported two straight annual losses in 2016 and 2017.

Read this report by Colleen Goko in full at Fin24. See too, Deutsche Bank to close three divisions in SA, at BusinessLive

Changes coming at KPMG SA as international parent moves in and 400 jobs get chopped

BusinessLive reports that with KPMG SA having lost its ability to rehabilitate its image and win back the confidence of its corporate clients in SA, KPMG International is looking to take much deeper and extensive control of the local outfit.  This was one of the observations that came from an update the company provided on Monday.  The firm also announced that due to recent client losses and levels of demand it would undertake restructuring in which it expects to retrench 400 employees over the next two months.  This will see its head count falling from 2,700 to 2,300 by the end of July.  The restructuring will also result in the closure of its regional offices in Bombela, Bloemfontein, Polokwane and East London.  There will also be job losses in the firm’s consulting and administration divisions.  No changes are expected to staff levels in its financial services audit franchise.  The retrenchments come despite the decline in staff numbers as a result of natural attrition.  KPMG SA employed about 3,400 people in September 2017 (including trainee chartered accountants) before it formally began to address its challenges.

Read this report by Warren Thompson in full at BusinessLive. Read too, Loss of AG contract forces KPMG to close four regional offices, at Fin24


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Sapu calls for speedy conclusion to Phahlane disciplinary case

Afro Voice reports that the South African Policing Union (Sapu) has called for a speedy conclusion to the disciplinary case against former acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane.  On Friday, it was exactly a year since he was suspended from duty with full benefits.  “Sapu is gravely concerned that this delay looks as if we are creating another retired Lt-Gen. Richard Mdluli case who was suspended with full benefits for almost 7 years.  Sapu calls upon the SAPS management to act swiftly in dealing with Lt-Gen. Phahlane’s disciplinary case.  The SAPS disciplinary code is clear in terms of the due processes, period of the process etc.  The case should have been concluded within a period of 90 days,” the union pointed out.  It went on to insist that either Phahlane be charged and sanctioned accordingly or, if there was no case against him, he should be allowed back into the service.  “We are extremely unhappy that this is a second-high ranking SAPS commander who is earning millions in taxpayers’ money whilst staying at home,” the union said.

Read this report by Tiisetso Manoko on page 5 of Afro Voice of 5 June 2018. Read Sapu’s press statement in this regard at Politicsweb


CORRUPTION / CRIME

New police bosses crack down on ‘criminal cops’

The Citizen reports that the national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, and police minister, Bheki Cele, talked tough on crime on Monday, while admitting that they also faced some serious questions within their own ranks.  Sitole said their main focus in fighting serious crimes, such as cash-in-transit robberies, hijackings, house robberies and taxi and gang violence, was to disarm the criminals and respond to scenes in record time.  But he added that no police officer was above the law and all officers who were guilty of any crime would be flushed out of the service.  No fewer than 10 police generals have been accused of corruption amounting to billions, and at least 27 crime intelligence members are also facing charges.  The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is apparently making headway in its investigations, while SAPS has also initiating its own investigations and suspended two lieutenant-generals in recent weeks.  Sitole stated that the days of police officials sitting behind desks had come to an end, as they would now be deployed to identify crime hot spots countrywide.

Read this report by Virginia Keppler in full at The Citizen


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT SERVICES

SA’s public transport system unreliable, inadequate and dangerous, analyst tells inquiry

BusinessLive reports that independent transport analyst Paul Browning says the management of the SA transport system is dysfunctional and impedes its development and the formalisation of a chaotic minibus-taxi industry.  He said this at the Competition Commission’s inquiry into SA’s land-based public passenger transport market on Monday.  The inquiry comes as passenger transport systems throughout the country are failing at an increasing rate.  Delegates have submitted evidence of escalating violent crime on commuter trains and violence among minibus-taxi operators, violent clashes between metered-taxi operators and e-hailing services, and near-universal unreliability and inadequacy of all commuter services.  The inquiry intends formulating proposals that will lead to "meaningful mobility" for South Africans in pursuit of economic participation.  In large part, Browning, who represented the National Transportation Task Team, blamed the failure of commuter systems on municipalities for poor implementation of transport strategies.  "Few municipalities are capable of implementing (transport) plans and they are too slow, they do not have the capacity to adapt to change," he observed.  Referring to the bus rapid transit system, Browning said planning might be too rigid, and that there would be no point in legislating if the laws were unenforceable.

Read this report by Neels Blom in full at BusinessLive

 


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