news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Thursday, 15 August 2019.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Security association ‘concerned’ by spike this year in security guard killings

EWN reports that the Association of Private Security Owners of SA on Thursday said it was concerned by the spike in the killings of security guards in the country.  So far this year, 16 officers have been gunned down in the line of duty.  In the latest incident, a guard was killed on Wednesday along the N4 during an armed robbery.  The president of the association, Jones Maphalaphathwa, said they were gravely disturbed:  “As employers, we have an obligation to ensure the safety of employees at their respective jobs.  What is happening currently is something that is not acceptable, and we cannot keep quiet about it.  We are going to engage with all the relevant stakeholders.”

The original of the above short report by Robinson Nqola is at EWN

Cape Town officials to meet over violent attacks on delivery trucks on N2

EWN reports that officials will meet this weekend to discuss a spate of violent attacks on delivery trucks on the N2.  There have been several incidents of petrol bombings in the far eastern suburbs of Cape Town targeting delivery vehicles.  They were possibly linked to a series of protests in communities situated alongside the N2.  Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the community safety forums would consist of government officials and members of the local community policing forums and neighbourhood watch groups.  He added that provincial traffic officials were committed to working with the police, metro police and private security services to ensure patrolling was done around the clock.  In two of the incidents over the weekend, a car and a bread truck were petrol bombed near Lwandle.  One of the men in the truck sustained burn wounds to his face.  A number of cars have also been stoned, resulting in several injuries.  

Read the original of the above report by Lauren Isaacs at EWN

Unmanned breathalyser unit prevents intoxicated workers from entering the workplace

News24 reports that a locally developed unmanned breathalyser unit not only prevents intoxicated workers from entering the workplace, it also helps avoid conflict with security guards.  It was developed by Pretoria-based drug- and alcohol-screening product developer ALCO-Safe and 50 units are already operational, mainly at coal mines in Mpumalanga as well as factories in Johannesburg and Brits.  It can be fitted at the turnstiles where workers enter the premises where they have to blow into the breathalysers.  If their alcohol levels are too high, they are denied access.  Noting that there were certain challenges with the typical approach of using a manned breathalyser, Rhys Evans of ALCO-Safe observed:  "Security personnel administering the tests often live in the same communities as the workers they are being asked to police, and this is problematic on a number of levels.  Those being tested are often resentful, and if they have in fact been drinking frequently, resort to physical violence against the guards.  Utilising an unmanned breathalyser system that can be integrated into access control or time-and-attendance solutions solves this issue."  According to Evans, the response to the unmanned units has been very positive.

Read the full original of the above report by Riaan Grobler at News24


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Banks to face strike action from Sasbo next month if job cuts go ahead

The Star reports that the SA Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) has vowed to bring the financial sector to a standstill by downing tools next month if banks go ahead with their planned job cuts.  Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela said the plans for industrial action by the 70,000-member union were being taken for granted by the banks despite its size and the determination of workers, who were feeling exploited by the retrenchments.  “We have been undermined in the whole process and the bus has moved.  For us to stop this bus in the middle of the road, we will down tools and shut the system down,” Kokela said.  The banks include Absa, Standard and Nedbank.  Kokela said Absa had indicated that it would retrench more than 800 employees in the first phase, while Standard Bank was closing down more than 100 of its branches.  The retrenchments, he claimed, had nothing to do with permissible layoffs for operation requirements in terms of the Labour Relations Act when the business was not performing well.  “We did not reach any consensus with the banks because what they did was to come to us with a decision that was already made to retrench people,” Kokela said.  The first strike action is expected to be over two days next month, with a march to banks on the first day and with stay-away action planned for the second day.  Kokela said the union would insist that any cost-cutting measures should include senior executive employees as well.

Read the full original of the above report by Siviwe Feketha on page 13 of The Star of 15 August 2019

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Amathole District Municipality workers back at work, at SABC News


MINING LABOUR

Platinum employers taking a big chance with ‘scant’ wage offers, warns AIDC economist

The Citizen reports that the Alternative Information and Development Centre’s (AIDC’s) Dr Dick Forslund has warned that the scant wage offers of employers this year in the “thriving” platinum sector were a provocative gamble.  Negotiation season kicked off in the sector with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) demanding a R17,000 base salary, which amounts to a 48% increase.  Rival union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), asked Anglo American Platinum for 15%.  Sibanye-Stillwater offered R1,000 a month for the lowest-paid workers and an extra R800 a month over the following two years, while Lonmin, which Sibanye will be taking over, offered R300 to R400 over the next three years.  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa expressed his disappointment and Forslund said it was a very ambitious starting point on the part of the employers, given that the platinum sector was far better off this year than it had been in the harrowing 2013-2014 economic crunch.  “If you compare today with the situation we were in when there was a months-long deadlock, and taking into consideration the value of money back then, what Lonmin is offering is basically the same as if they had offered an increase of R200 to R350 today.  It is almost as if they are trying to provoke the unions,” said Forslund.  He added that the market environment, as well as the exchange rate, made for better conditions for the platinum sector than had been the case five years ago.  Mining and labour analyst Mamokgeti Malopyane said it was unclear whether the negotiations would go smoother than in previous years, but it was unlikely that Amcu would back down.

Read the full original of the above report by Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni on page 5 of The Citizen of 15 August 2019


MARIKANA DEATHS / FARLAM COMMISSION REPORT

Marikana compensation

Financial Mail writes that the Marikana commission’s terms of reference were not broad enough for it to make a recommendation on compensation of the victims of the 16 August 2012 massacre.  Even so, the government continuously highlighted that compensation was a priority — although it’s been carried out clumsily so far.  Last August, families of the deceased workers were paid out by the government for loss of support.  But according to Nomzamo Zondo, legal representative for the families, there is a dispute about a group of restorative claims, for R1.5m each, which are about healing.  In the case of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, families were paid R1.2m.  Compensation has been paid to some of the arrested strikers, according to Andries Nkome, who represents the injured and arrested mineworkers.  Meanwhile, those injured have apparently not been compensated at all.  Mzoxolo Magidiwana is one such worker who was shot seven times by police.  Noting that families and even some of the arrested miners have been compensated, Magidiwana observed:  "Is our blood or our injuries different from those who were also victims of what happened? Is our pain any different from the pain felt by those who already got paid?  What has been done for us?  There’s nothing the government has done … to show any kind of concern for us."

Read the full original of the above report by Lisa Steyn & Phumi Ramalepe at BusinessLive

Marikana massacre should not have happened, says Mogoeng Mogoeng

SABC News reports that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng says that what happened in Marikana in the North West in August 2012 is a typical example of how some leaders handle problems in South Africa.  Mogoeng’s statement came on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the Marikana massacre in which police gunned down 34 mineworkers who were participating in a protracted strike at the Lonmin platinum mine.  The incident happened after wage negotiations between management and unions reached a deadlocked.  The workers were demanding a R12 000 salary increase when the tragedy happened.  Mogoeng said:  “What happened, why?  Could it have been avoided?  Why wasn’t it avoided?  Who was involved and what did we do to hold them accountable?  Have we made it our business to make sure that everybody who was directly or indirectly involved in that tragic event was held accountable properly or have we deployed our wisdom to manage the truth in such a way as to shift blame to those who have very little to protect themselves with?”

The original of the above report is at SABC News


UNEMPLOYMENT / JOBS CRISIS

National Assembly Speaker agrees to DA’s request for a job crisis debate

SABC News reports that National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has agreed to schedule a debate on the country’s jobs crisis as requested by the Democratic Alliance (DA).  Mmusi Maimane, DA leader, indicated that they would use the debate to table their “Economic Recovery Plan” which it said was a comprehensive package of reform interventions that were pro-growth, pro-investment, and pro-job creation.  In a statement, Maimane said the debate would need to address unsustainable levels of government spending, including a plan to stop runaway bailouts to mismanaged state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, the size and growth of the public sector wage bill and how to stimulate both local and foreign investment.  The DA’s plan will also include proposals to split Eskom into two separate entities and facilitate Independent Power Producers.  It will also involve the rejection of the National Health Insurance Bill, immediately placing SA Airways under business rescue, freeing up micro enterprise and relaxing labour legislation.

Read the original of the above report by Joseph Mosia at SABC News. Read the DA’s press statement at DA News


STAFFING / VACANCIES

Academic staff shortage a worry for government

BusinessLive reports that the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology wants to ensure that universities receive all the necessary support to recruit, develop and retain academic staff.  The academic skills shortage in SA remains a major problem.  Universities have, in recent years, haemorrhaged highly qualified lecturers, especially during the often violent Fees Must Fall protests.  This has left vacancies in some crucial departments, such as health sciences, engineering, and information systems — which offer key degrees needed to address the skills deficit often seen as the biggest constraint to business growth.  The government is also concerned about the shortage of black academics.  In a written response to a parliamentary question this week, higher education minister Blade Nzimande said the appointment and retention of personnel at universities was the responsibility of each institution.  However, the department intended to support universities to recruit, develop and retain academic staff.  Nzimande said the department would upscale specific programmes meant to boost the number of academics as funding become available.  In his reply, Nzimande specifically referred to plans in place to retain the services and skills of academics, including academics who have reached retirement age.

Read the full original of the above report by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive

Staggering number of public service jobs unfilled

The Star reports that a staggering number of vacancies in public service remained unfilled despite unemployment soaring to a scary 29%.  A whopping 123,843 vacancies exist in national and provincial departments, newly released official data revealed.  This amounted to a 9.34% vacancy rate in a sector with 1,169,580 filled posts.  The data released by Minister of Public Service and Administration Senzo Mchunu showed that education, health and social development departments had the highest number of vacancies.  A total of 54,464 vacancies were in the education departments across the nine provinces, with the Eastern Cape department leading the pack.  Nearly 37,000 vacancies existed in public health across the nine provinces, with 7,895 in Gauteng.  Leon Amos Schreiber, DA MP who had asked Mchunu about the vacancies, said:  “The vacancy rate (nationwide) is actually increasing.  Even from late 2017 the vacancy rate was already a concern for the Public Service Commission (PSC), when it was standing around 7%.  Now we’re very close to 10% and there are 123,000 posts that are not filled.”  Mchunu’s spokesperson, Vukani Mbhele, suggested that there was nothing alarming about the vacancy rate:  “It should be noted that the vacancy rate is not static, rather it is dynamic due to the fact that the percentage changes continuously, impacted by general turnover as employees exit the public service for a variety of reasons while others are entering.”

Read the full original of the above report by Bongani Nkosi on page 4 of The Star of 15 August 2019


RETIREMENT FUNDS

Brian Molefe writes 'lovely' letter to Solidarity asking for 30 days to repay R708,000

TimesLIVE reports that former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has written a letter to trade union Solidarity requesting 30 days to repay a legal cost order made against him to the tune of R708,102.  Solidarity’s Anton van der Bijl said on Thursday:  "Mr Molefe wrote us a lovely letter to say that he wants to repay the amount.  He wants 30 days in which to pay us.  We are currently in correspondence with his attorney and we want that money to be paid within seven days or we will proceed with a warrant of execution and attach his properties."  Molefe last week failed in a bid before the Constitutional Court to appeal against a decision that he must pay back some of the R30m pension money allocated to him by the power utility.  An earlier court ruling set aside a decision taken by the Eskom board in November 2016 to accept Molefe’s "early retirement" proposal.  The high court declared that any payment received by Molefe under any purported pension agreement between himself and Eskom was invalid.  Molefe was ordered to repay such amounts.

Read the original of the above report at TimesLIVE


OTHER REPORTS

Deloitte launches management school in SA that will offer bespoke executive education

Business Report writes that Deloitte has launched the Deloitte Alchemy School of Management to provide bespoke executive education for senior executives and leaders of organisations.  "Having assessed the market and consulted with our clients, we identified an opportunity to channel our extensive, global intellectual property (IP) and real-world experience into a format that will help our clients improve their competitiveness," said the Dean of the Management School, Dr Martyn Davie.  The programme will aim to deliver future-focused leaders who can keep pace with evolving markets and who will know how to act, think and react more strategically to rapid digital and social disruptions.  Davies believes that combining Deloitte’s practical business knowledge with experiential and immersive experiences will create a compelling differentiator in the marketplace.  He said that the school’s executive education programmes will be customised, immersive and experiential, aimed at senior executives and leaders of organisations from the private and public sector.  Deloitte Alchemy will be offering its flagship open programme, the Global Executive Leadership Programme (GELP), in 2020, which is a future-focused, experiential and contextual education programme on the digital evolution.

Read the full original of the above report by Dhivana Rajgopaul at Business Report

OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Peter Moyo renews bid to force Old Mutual to comply with reinstatement court order, at Business Report
  • Man seriously injured after being pushed from moving train in Mayfair, Joburg, on Wednesday, at News24

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page