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, 18 July 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Inmate stabs female head of Baviaanspoort prison in the face

SowetanLive reports that the female head of the Baviaanspoort Maximum Prison in Roodeplaat, Pretoria, was allegedly stabbed in the face by an inmate serving a life imprisonment sentence.  Apparently, the official was on duty and attended to complaints about three other inmates in her office on Sunday.  The inmate allegedly walked into the office and took out a knife and stabbed her close to the eye.  The suspect is allegedly a member of a notorious "numbers gang" called 26s who believe in stabbing officials for promotion and for respect in their gangs.  "The official was fortunate, because there were three other officers and three other inmates present and she was rescued and taken to hospital to receive medical attention," a source indicated.   He commented further as follows:  "If the officers were not present for assistance, she could have been kidnapped and raped and even fatally wounded.  The department is taking chances by exposing females to such conditions of dangerous inmates serving life time imprisonment in all regions.

Read the full original of Promise Marupeng’s report on the above at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Staff, guests robbed as armed gang ransacks upmarket Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, at News24
  • NUM says Eskom in KZN promoting violence and assault at the workplace, at Polity (press statement)


MINING LABOUR

Platinum producers eye Sibanye's gold mining deal as yardstick for their wage talks

Bloomberg writes that platinum producers could use Sibanye-Stillwater’s pay settlement with gold mineworkers earlier this year as a benchmark in present wage talks, according to a person familiar with the matter.  Following a five-month strike that was eventually declared unprotected, Sibanye agreed to increase the pay of workers at its three gold mines by 5.5%.  Sibanye’s agreement is apparently being viewed as a good proxy for what’s possible in the platinum industry as the cost structures are similar to deep-level gold mining.  Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Sibanye last week began the first round of wage negotiations with the sector’s biggest labor union, which is demanding an increase of as much as 48%.  While some producers have said that such a settlement would lead to job losses and mine closures, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) argues it’s justified as higher palladium and rhodium prices have boosted company earnings.  Amcu’s Jeffrey Mphahlele commented:  “The settlement in gold was just for gold.  Salaries are too low and we must create a balance, companies must come to the party and assist the people.”  The platinum wage negotiations are complicated by additional requests for higher medical aid and travel expenses, while Amcu has also revived a demand that its members’ pension funds be transferred by the companies to a fund the union founded.

Read the full original of the above report at Mining Weekly

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Zululand Anthracite Colliery appoints first black GM, at Mining Weekly
  • Malema buddy's mine leaves community of Ga-Mphahlele reeling from infighting and violent protests, at News24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / GO-SLOWS

Ramaphosa directs ministers to intervene over go-slow at ports

Fin24 reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated on Wednesday that he had directed Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, and Minister of Trade, Industry and Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, to intervene in respect of a go-slow at SA’s ports.  Ramaphosa was addressing MPs during his budget vote for the office of the Presidency.  His speech focused on people-centred development and the importance of using state-owned entities as catalysts for growth and development.  Ramaphosa said that Cabinet was concerned at reports of a go-slow at the ports, particularly in the Eastern Cape, where operations had nearly ground to a halt.  A go-slow by staff at the Ngqura Container Terminal in Port Elizabeth has led to Transnet obtaining a court interdict in an effort to stop the action.  "I have directed Ministers Gordhan and Patel to intervene and get our goods to their export destinations urgently.  We cannot aim to grow an economy on the basis of exporting value-added products and then fail to meet our obligations to get goods to international markets safely and on time," said Ramaphosa.  He also indicated that he was concerned about growing reports of planned retrenchments by businesses in SA.  "We are engaging stakeholders and will be considering all available options to help our firms to retain as many jobs as possible without compromising their viability," Ramaphosa stated.

Read the full original of Khulekani Magubane’s report on the above at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Untu says inefficiency of the management of the Port of Ngqura contributes to backlog, at SA Labour News (press statement)


ECONOMIC POLICY / INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Construction industry in survival mode, with little light at the end of the tunnel

Moneyweb writes that there appears to be little light at the end of the tunnel for SA’s beleaguered construction industry, with many major listed construction companies still fighting for their survival.  Basil Read, Group Five, Esor Construction and Liviero Group are in business rescue, while others, such as Aveng, have been forced to downscale their operations to strengthen their balance sheets and improve their liquidity.  Industry Insight has described this as “an absolute destruction of a sector never before seen on the JSE”.  The problems in the industry have been largely attributed to a combination of a lack of large government infrastructure contracts because of government’s strained financial resources and problematic and loss-making contracts.  This resulted in construction industry employment dropping by 3.6% year-on-year in the first quarter to an estimated 618,000 as the industry shed a further 23,000 jobs in the quarter.  This report goes on to examine the individual circumstances of Group Five, Aveng and Basil Read.

Read the full original of Roy Cokayne’s report in the above regard at Moneyweb

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Furniture industry pursuing master plan to revive local sector, at Engineering News
  • Saftu calls for a fall of at least 3% in interest rates to begin a long overdue economic recovery, at Saftu News (press statement)


LABOUR MARKET / JOB CREATION

Ford employs 1,200 more workers at Silverton plant on Ranger bakkie demand

BusinessLive reports that unprecedented international demand for the SA-built Ranger bakkie has enabled Ford Southern Africa to increase its workforce by more than 25%.  The company is employing an additional 1,200 workers to man a third daily shift at its Silverton, Tshwane, vehicle assembly plant.  The move is expected to create a further 10,000 jobs at components and service suppliers.  The US-owned company currently employs about 4,300 people at Silverton and at an engine manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth.  The new hires will take the number to 5,500.  Ford estimates that, including suppliers, its SA activities directly support about 60,000 jobs.  From early August, Silverton will build vehicles 24 hours a day from Monday to Thursday, with the option of a third Friday shift, as well to make up any production shortfalls.  Ranger is one of SA’s most popular vehicles, but two-thirds of production is exported to 148 markets around the world.

Read the full original of David Furlonger’s report on the above at BusinessLive. Read too, Ford, now accounting for 1% of GDP, introduces third shift at Silverton plant, at Engineering News


STATE WAGE BILL / JOB CUTS

Nehawu 'disappointed' by government's intent to cut 30,000 public service jobs

ANA reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said on Thursday it was disappointment by the Department of Public Service and Administration's (DPSA’s) intent to cut more than 30,000 jobs. During his budget vote speech in parliament, DPSA minister Senzo Mchunu said the department would open an opportunity for civil servants who would wish to go on early retirement without penalties to do so. Such voluntary severance packages are designed to reduce the wage bill by more than R20-billion by letting 30,000 public servants aged between 55 and 59 go over a period of three years. In a statement, Nehawu opposed the move, saying the government should strengthen the public service by implementing strategies that would enable workers to be more effective and productive and should focus on eradicating wasteful, fruitless and irregular expenditure.   Nehawu said it would ensure that there was proper engagement at the public service coordinating bargaining council on the government's plan and that the exercise should not leave critical posts unfilled.

Read the full original of the report on the above at Engineering News. Read Nehawu’s press statement at Polity


SOEs IN CRISIS

SOEs in need of expert staff, Minister Gordhan tells MPs

ANA reports that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) needed technical experts to make up three-quarters of their staff complements, whereas presently up to half were administrative support staff.  Speaking to Parliament's select committee on public enterprises and communication, he said efforts to address this were underway, but, as the woes of entities such as Eskom, SAA and Denel worsened, the running of his department had for the past year been a case of crisis management.  "It has been a roller coaster.  We are now beginning to understand their operations and what the consequences of the recent past have been," Gordhan indicated.  Asked about turnaround plans at some of the parastatals, Gordhan told MPs that in deeply troubled companies the chances of successfully implementing such a strategy had been remote.  "It is easy to get a consultant to draft a turnaround strategy.  It is another question whether a state-owned entity has the capacity to implement it," he cautioned.

Read the original of the report on the above at Engineering News


REMUNERATION

Responsible remuneration gaining traction, but more work needed, PwC reports shows

Engineering News reports that according to professional services firm PwC, the concept of fair and responsible remuneration is gaining traction in SA.  Companies are apparently beginning to embrace this, but more needs to be done to turn this into a reality, including raising awareness nationally.  Evidence of this acceptance is found in some companies having even adopted and disclosed a living wage above the national minimum wage.  These findings are outlined in the eleventh edition of PwC’s ‘Executive directors: Practices and remuneration trends’ report, released on Tuesday.  The report focuses on the role of the CEO and what factors companies should consider when determining CEO pay.  It also explores the role of the CEO in setting the remuneration strategy of the organisation.  Moreover, the report focuses on gender parity, diversity and ethics of pay.  Key findings indicate that 29.5% of executive directors are black African, compared with 40% that are white; 3.3% of CEOs at JSE-listed companies are women; and the median pay for CEOs in 2018 across all sectors was R5.4m, compared with R5.2m for 2017.  A positive aspect is that remuneration committee chairs are embracing investor expectations around shareholder engagement and regular training.  In respect of gender parity, the report shows that there is no sector in which female executive directors are paid more than men.

Read the full original of the informative report on the above at Engineering News. See too, Only a minute number of women are chief executives, report finds, at Business Report


MEDICAL SCHEMES / NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Council for Medical Schemes revives plan for central registry of scheme members

BusinessLive reports that the medical schemes regulator has revived a controversial plan to establish a central database of scheme members and is once again calling on schemes to provide personal details about their members.  The idea of a central database was first flighted by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) in 2017 and ran into immediate opposition from the Democratic Alliance (DA) and several schemes, who expressed concerns about what the data would be used for, and the potential infringement on members’ privacy.  The CMS is a statutory body charged with overseeing the medical schemes industry, which provides cover to about 8.9-million people.  It is pushing ahead with its plans for a national beneficiary registry, which it says will ultimately link to a patient registration system that the government plans to establish under National Health Insurance (NHI).  To that end, the CMS is expanding a pilot programme that began several months ago with the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS).  CMS spokesperson Grace Khoza said the regulator was taking “the best possible” measures to protect members’ privacy and ensure their information did not end up in the wrong hands.  GEMS principal officer Guni Goolab said “very minimal” data about the scheme’s members had been provided to the CMS to date, and none of it was health related.

Read the full original of Tamar Kahn’s report on the above at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


SUSPENSIONS / DISMISSALS

Suspended Joburg metro cops vow to shut down their headquarters next week

The Star reports that Johannesburg metro police officers have vowed to shut down their headquarters in Village Main next week.  Some 40 officers, including 18 senior superintendents, have been suspended and are awaiting to receive formal charges.  This follows months of unhappiness within the department after the suspension of two senior officers, directors Sipho Dlepu and David Lekota, who were eventually reinstated after it was found that chief of police David Tembe did not have the powers to suspend.  Although the two officers were subsequently reinstated, this led to a rift within the ranks and some 68 senior officers lodged grievances against Tembe.  City spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane confirmed the suspensions, saying they were related to an illegal work stoppage by the officers on 28 February.  Regarding the grievances against Tembe, Modingoane said the hearing was ongoing.  A source told The Star that the new suspensions were of officers “who asked too many questions” and indicated as follows:  “We will shut down the JMPD headquarters if the illegitimate suspensions are not lifted.”  SA Municipal Workers’ Union spokesperson Jack Mokalapa, confirmed the suspensions and said they “smacked of victimisation” of those who were opposing Tembe.  He said the union was in negotiations with the bargaining council and would take all the cases to the Labour Court, if not resolved.

Read the full original of the report on the above by Anna Cox at The Star

Siyabuswa residents shut down schools, municipality following suspension of municipal manager

News24 reports that schools and the offices of the Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, have been closed after residents embarked on protests against the suspension of the municipal manager, Thami Kubheka.  The executive mayor of the municipality, Thulare Madileng, indicated on Wednesday that Kubheka was placed on precautionary suspension on 12 July pending an investigation into allegations of corruption levelled against him.  Kubheka was appointed as municipal manager on 1 March.  Madileng reported that the residents had been on the rampage since Monday and had blocked all municipality employees from entering the premises.  He commented as follows:  "People are falsely being told that I protect corruption while the municipal manager is fighting it.  Schools and roads have been closed.  We are willing to go to work but we are also worried about our safety."  He appealed to residents to open the gates of the municipality so that its employees could report for duty and deliver basic services to the community.  Several residents insisted that Kubheka had been suspended because he was fighting corruption in the municipality, while others expressed disappointment at not being able to travel to work.  The situation in the town was tense on Wednesday afternoon.

Read the full original of Balise Mabona report on the above at News24

Old Mutual victimising axed CEO Peter Moyo, his legal team tells court

BusinessLive reports that Peter Moyo’s lawyer, Advocate Dali Mpofu, says the axed Old Mutual CEO is a victim of the insurer’s inability to protect whistle-blowers.  “What we are really doing with here is a case of victimisation.  The so-called breakdown in relationship is actually manufactured, it’s not real so the employer cannot benefit from it,” said Mpofu on Thursday during an urgent High Court hearing between the two parties.  Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, also representing Moyo, said the only reason he was fired was because of his conflict with Old Mutual chair Trevor Manuel and because of interviews he had with the media on the day of his suspension in May.  Ngcukaitobi asserted that Old Mutual had expanded its case to the court to include issues that were not cited as reasons for Moyo’s suspension.  Moyo has accused Manuel of “gunning for him” because he had raised concerns that the former finance minister was conflicted in the handling of the split of its domestic business from the UK-based Old Mutual Plc.  The insurer has dismissed Moyo’s statement that he was being victimised because of whistle-blowing.

Read the full original of Londiwe Buthelezi’s report in the above regard at BusinessLive


MISCONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTION

SANDF to consider allowing female Muslim members to wear headscarves under their berets

EWN reports that the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is considering relaxing its dress code for female Muslim members to allow them to wear headscarves under their berets.  The issue came to the fore after Major Fatima Isaacs was subjected to disciplinary action for refusing to remove her hijab.  Isaacs, who works as a clinical forensic pathologist at 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg, has been charged with willful defiance and disobeying a lawful command to not wear a headscarf with her military uniform.  The defence force and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) met this week to discuss the matter with the legal representatives of Isaacs.  Talks were apparently amicable and constructive and the parties resolved to continue working together to find common ground.  Chaplain-General Monwabisi Jamangile indicated:  “The SANDF is committed to ensuring the issue of Muslim women wearing a headscarf and related matters be addressed in terms of their policies.  A determination is under consideration to granting interim relief to women serving the SANDF to wear an under scarf to conformity to the SANDF code.”  It is not yet known when this process will take place.

Read the original of the report by Shamiela Fisher on the above at EWN


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu undertakes to look into the plight of unemployed social workers, at SA Govt News (press statement)
  • DA says under-staffed, under-capacitated, under-funded IPID has only completed 14.5% of cases, at DA News (press statement)
  • Naptosa’s statement on Minister of Basic Education’s Budget Vote Speech, at Naptosa News (press statement)
  • Cosatu mourns the passing of Johnny Clegg, at Cosatu News (press statement)
  • Saftu tribute to the legend Johnny Clegg, at Saftu News (press statement)
  • SRWP on the sad passing of Johnny Clegg, at Polity (press statement)

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page