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 afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Thursday, 16 May 2019.


TOP STORY – NURSING SHORTAGE

SA could face ‘national health crisis’ if nursing shortage is not addressed, Solidarity warns

ANA reports that trade union Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for Health Practitioners on Thursday said that unless there was an urgent intervention and solutions were found for the huge shortage of nursing staff, SA could face a national health crisis.  According to Hennie Bierman, head of the Solidarity Occupational Guilds, the nursing profession has been jeopardised over the past decade by among other factors a lack of funds, a shortage of equipment, and insufficient training.  “The number of qualified nursing practitioners in all nursing categories decreased by approximately 40 percent since 2013,” he pointed out.  The SA Nursing Council (SANC) has confirmed a decrease of more than 8,000 qualifying students from 2016 to 2017, while there is only one nurse per 401 persons according to Persal, the payroll and personnel administration system.  Bierman said urgent action was needed to halt the drastic decline of qualifying students.  Therefore, the Solidarity Occupational Guild for Health Practitioners has created a large study fund, specifically for nursing students.  “This fund has been created to provide training for students who have a consuming passion to help people, but cannot afford it,” Bierman said.  The union also plans to offer profession-specific training of high quality through S-leer, Solidarity’s centre for continued learning, to create a platform for nursing staff to develop their skills and abilities further.  Solidarity will moreover focus on strengthening Akademia’s endeavours regarding accreditation for its degree in nursing.

Read the full original of the report on the above at The Citizen. Read Solidarity’s press statement at Polity

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Hospersa calls for better working conditions for nurses, at SA Labour News (press statement)


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

SABC radio building a 'no-go zone' after diesel spill, concrete floors might need to be knocked out

News24 reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC’s) Radio Park building in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, remained sealed off on Thursday as cleanup operations continued, following a diesel spill on Wednesday.  Reportedly, 2,000 litres of diesel leaked from a generator on the 15th floor.  Employees were evacuated and were told to stay at home on Thursday.  Netcare 911 spokesperson Shawn Herbst reported that three patients suffered the effects of chemical inhalation and were treated on the scene before they were transported by ambulance to hospital for further assessment.  In a statement, the broadcaster said a power outage earlier on Wednesday morning had caused the SABC's internal systems to switch from City Power to a back-up generator and "due to the ageing and failure of the equipment, this led to the diesel tank overflowing."  City of Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the 15th floor of the building was completely flooded and a no-go zone.  A chemical spill cleanup expert indicated that the cleanup could be laborious and complicated as the diesel would have seeped into the concrete.  “There is no way to extract the diesel from concrete.  So that concrete will have to be knocked out and replaced, he reckoned.  But Johan van Vuuren of The Wastegroup said that the effects of the spill might not be bad as that.

Read the full original of the report on the above by Riaan Grobler and Sesona Ngqakamba at News24

SABC’s diesel spillage could happen again, acting COO warns

SABC News reports that according to the SA Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC’s) Acting Chief Operations Officer, Dr Craig van Rooyen, the recent diesel spillage at the Radio Park building in Auckland Park could be a re-occurring thing, as the public broadcaster has failed to maintain the upkeep of its infrastructure.  He indicated on Thursday that they were still waiting for experts to go into the building and do an evaluation of what had caused the spillage.  This was said in a television interview after SABC management advised all staff who worked at the Radio Park building not to report for duty on Thursday and Friday, as cleanup operations were still underway following Wednesday’s diesel spill.  Van Rooyen indicated that most of the SABC infrastructure was in a poor state, due to the fact it had not been maintained properly in recent years.

Read the original regarding the above and watch a video report at SABC News

Sanef condemns harassment of journalists at eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede's court appearance

News24 reports that the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) has condemned the harassment of journalists at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday where eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede appeared on corruption charges.  Journalists were prohibited from taking pictures of Gumede by supporters and police officers after she left the court where she was granted R50,000 bail.  She faces corruption-related charges linked to a R208m Durban Solid Waste Department tender.  The Forum’s Mahlatse Mahlase indicated:  "Sanef believes that these restrictions on the media undermined the constitutional principle of open justice.  This is a principle that calls for court proceedings to be open to the public - this includes allowing journalists to film and take pictures outside the court, during breaks and when formal proceedings have adjourned."  According to News24 journalist Kaveel Singh, Gumede's supporters threatened journalists following the court adjournment.  He said he was pushed, shoved and elbowed as well as blocked from taking any images as Gumede exited the court.  "However, what was even more problematic was that police sided with her supporters.  They turned a blind eye to the harassment and then ordered everyone to leave the premises, including the media," said Singh.

Read the full original of Canny Maphanga’s report and view a video clip at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Only 50% of SA workforce believes their workspace is psychologically safe, at Business Report
  • Popcru concerned about the increasing incidents of stabbings and escapes within correctional centres, at Cosatu News (press statement)
  • Sanef condemns attack on SABC journalists in the Free State, at Sanef News (press statement)


MINING LABOUR

As case postponed, ex-Amcu leaders accused of murder warned not to intimidate witnesses

Pretoria News reports that former leaders of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), who are facing a charge of murder and two of attempted murder following attacks on Amcu management in 2017, were warned on Wednesday that if they intimidated witnesses, their bail would be revoked.  The eight briefly appeared for the second time this week in the Gauteng High Court, where their trial was postponed to Monday.  Judge Bert Bam on Wednesday also warned that if the accused were not ready to proceed and the court found that they were deliberately delaying their trial, he would revoke their bail.  The trial, which was set down for three weeks, could not resume this week as seven of the accused had obtained a new lawyer, whom they still had to brief.  Busloads of Amcu members filled the courtroom in anticipation of hearing “the truth” about what had happened to their colleagues.  The accused are believed to be some of the kingpins behind the spate of attacks in Marikana in 2017, during which a chairperson of the Marikana branch of Amcu was nearly killed.  Malibongwe Mdazo was shot 16 times but survived the attack.  The eight are facing six charges, including murder, two charges of attempted murder and a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.  It is claimed that they conspired to kill some Amcu members between May and July 2017 at Marikana.

Read the full original of Zelda Venter’s report on proceedings at Pretoria News. Read too, Judge admonishes ex-Amcu leaders accused of murder: ‘No more delays or I revoke bail’, at News24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Lengthy employee strike cost Dis-Chem more than R75m

BusinessLive reports that according to Dis-Chem Pharmacies, a strike by employees that lasted nearly five months shaved up to R76.4m off its profits in the year to end-February.  CEO Ivan Saltzman said in a statement:  “Unfortunately, the industrial action which began mid-November last year heavily impacted the group’s performance.  The demands by the union were unreasonable considering the economic climate and the nature of the industry in which we operate.”  The strike resulted in direct costs of R50.4m, partly because of increased security and legal costs, and indirect costs of between R22.3m and R26m.  With the strike now over, the company is focused on developing “a productive employer-employee relationship, improving wholesale productivity levels and cost efficiency, as well as optimising the levels of stock-holding in the group, which the industrial action necessitated”.  The retailer’s headline earnings in the financial year rose 7.4% to R734.7m.  In the 10 weeks to 10 May 2019, group revenue grew by 12%.

Read the full original of Nick Hedley’s report in the above regard at BusinessLive

Taps in Northern KZN towns running dry amid ongoing strike

Daily News reports that parts of Zululand, northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), can expect further delays in restoration of the water supply as municipal water and sanitation workers continue their strike over salaries, which began on Monday.  Nhlakanipho Mgabhi of the Zululand Municipal and Allied Trade Union of SA (Matusa) said while it was not their intention to cause suffering for residents, they too were suffering.  “If you look at other district municipalities, people who do the same work and are on the same grade earn more than us, which is unfair,” Mgabhi said, claiming that their basic salary was just over R7,000, while their counterparts apparently earned at least R10,000.  The workers marched to the municipal offices in uLundi on Monday and handed over a memorandum of demands to the municipal manager.  However, according to Mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi the strike was illegal as a court order had been obtained.  He said he expected workers to report for work immediately or face disciplinary action.  Buthelezi opined that the strike had a political motive as the workers and unions were aware that job evaluation and grading issues were dealt with by the SA Local Government Association (Salga).

Read the full original of Anelisa Kubheka’s report on the strike at Daily News


PROTESTS / MARCHES / DEMONSTRATIONS

Calm restored after truck driver protest at Durban container terminal

News24 reports that calm was restored at the Durban container terminal after protesting truck drivers blockaded roads overnight, causing traffic congestion on Wednesday morning.  According to KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele, there was no damage to property or injuries reported from the scene of the protest.  "About 50 truck drivers blockaded Bayhead Road harbour.  The situation is under control and [police] members are monitoring the area," Mbele indicated.  Truck owners who transport shipping containers to and from the Durban container terminal were apparently demanding a meeting with Transnet over persistent port delays at Pier 2.  They allegedly blocked Langerburg Road by taking away keys from trucks queuing into and out of the terminal.

The original of this report by Kamva Somdyala appeared at News24

Disgruntled eThekwini EPWP workers march on mayor's office over salaries

EWN reports that dozens of eThekwini municipal workers arrived at the office of Mayor Zandile Gumede on Thursday demanding she makes good on her promise to improve salaries.  The group of about 100 marched through the streets of Durban and asked the embattled mayor to deliver on a promise she allegedly made to workers from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in 2017.  The workers, who were currently receiving salaries of R3,100, said it was not enough to sustain their families.  One of the organisers, Lendani Mbutho, said they had been trying to speak to the municipality, but with no success.  “We’re looking for permanent employment.  We’ve been here for many years.  We are asking the city council to avoid councillors to be involved in dismissing employees because they work for a municipality.  We are not happy with how we are being treated,” he commented.  The mayor is out on R50,000 bail after she appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court this week.  Gumede is facing a string of corruption charges related to tender fraud, including money laundering and racketeering.

The original of Nkosikhona Duma’s report on the march is at EWN


LABOUR MARKET / JOBS / UNEMPLOYMENT

Eskom's Jabu Mabuza says SA facing 'unemployment time bomb'

Bloomberg reports that according to Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza, SA needs to increase state support in education as well as private sector involvement to avoid devastating job losses.  “Our overriding objective should be to maximize the impact of policy interventions through labour-absorbing growth.  Everyone must play a part in overcoming our huge unemployment time bomb,” Mabuza, who is also chairperson of Business Leadership SA, which represents big corporates, wrote in an opinion piece in the Financial Mail.  Unemployment in the country climbed to a near-15 year high of 27.6% in the first quarter.  Eskom is seen as one of the country’s biggest economic risks, with almost $35-billion in debt dragging on the state-owned company’s ability to operate.  The World Bank estimates it has 66% too many employees.  The government also needs to focus on ensuring a clear fiscal strategy to help keep its credit rating intact, Mabuza wrote.

The original of this this report is at Engineering News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Ramaphosa: government will focus on fixing economy and creating jobs, at Business Report
  • President Ramaphosa commits sixth administration to economic growth and better service to citizens, at SA Govt News (press statement)
  • GCIS: Government together with all social partners will tackle unemployment, at Politicsweb (press statement)
  • Agri SA: Policy uncertainty worsens South African agriculture unemployment crisis, at Polity (press statement)
  • Uasa: True unemployment rate of 38% a wake-up call for policymakers, at Polity (press statement)
  • NWU: Statement by Prof Raymond Parsons on worsening unemployment figures, at Polity (press statement)
  • PSA calls for action on unemployment, at SA Labour News (press statement)
  • Samwu reaction to unemployment figures; decision to relax work experience requirements welcomed, at SA Labour News (press statement)
  • NYDA on rise in youth unemployment, at SA Govt News (press statement)


DISMISSALS

Unpaid teachers who staged sit-in at private Durban school fired

Daily News reports that unpaid teachers at a private school in Morningside, Durban, were on Tuesday told to leave by the owner after they had staged a sit-in in the staff room on Monday.  The teachers, who had not been paid since January, were allegedly told that the school management was awaiting a sponsorship and that parents were not paying school fees.  Ishara Dhanook of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said the union was preparing to take the school to the CCMA on behalf of the teachers, who were its members.  According to Naptosa, the school employed 21 people, had 80 enrolled pupils and charged school fees of up to R5,000 a month per pupil.  Dhanook said that after the teachers had approached the union in April, a meeting had been held with the school’s management, which had committed to pay the teachers as soon as possible.  However, no payments were made.  Apparently, the school had previously traded as Academy of Learning and Learnership, but was now called New Life Academy after operations director Regan Stander took over from his father last year.  “They now say that last year’s salary should be claimed from the old employer, Stander sr.  This is exploitation of staff.  One staff member had not been paid since June last year.  It is also a violation of Freedom of Association.  Staff were victimised because they have joined the union,” Dhanook stated.

Read the full original of Sne Masuku’s report on this story at Daily News


CORRUPTION / BRIBERY

Two North West cops in the dock for 'facilitation of bail' fee

TimesLIVE reports that two police officers in North West were arrested for alleged corruption on Tuesday.  The warrant officer and sergeant had earlier arrested a suspect for an alleged house break-in and theft in Letlhabile.  The suspect was taken to the holding cells of Letlhabile police station ahead of his appearance in the Brits Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.  The sergeant then approached the suspect on Tuesday and offered to ‘assist’ him to be released on bail.  The sergeant allegedly asked for R2,500, claiming R500 was for bail and R2,000 for the “facilitation” of bail.  The police’s anti-corruption unit was tipped off and they arrested the police officers at the Brits Magistrate’s Court.  They were charged with corruption and defeating the ends of justice.  The officers will appear in court on Thursday.

Read the original of the report by Nico Gous on the above at TimesLIVE

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Drunk driver arrested after attempt to bribe JMPD officers, at EWN


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Contraction in economy looms in the first quarter, at BusinessLive
  • 'Eskom of the future is already dead in the morgue', says energy expert, at Fin24
  • Stats SA warns of fake jobs scam, at Mpumalanga News
  • UCT academic resigns over 'racist' research, at TimesLIVE
  • Solidarity reacts to ruling by the CAAC regarding CemAir grounding, at SA Labour News (press statement)
  • AfriForum cautiously optimistic about the planned use of reservists by SAPS to combat crime in rural and remote areas, at SA Labour News (press statement)
  • Group Five: Update on business rescue proceedings, disposals, post commencement finance and business rescue plan, at Moneyweb (press statement)
  • Samwu says the arrest of Durban mayor an indication of the rot in municipalities, at SA Labour News (press statement)
  • Outa calls on ANC to honour its stand removing elected officials accused of criminal charges, at Outa News (press statement)

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page