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, 7 November 2019.


TOP STORY – INVESTMENT PLEDGES

CEOs commit R363 billion at investment conference to boost economy

Business Report writes that the chief executives of private companies and state-owned enterprises on Wednesday rallied behind the government’s bold ambition to raise R1.2 trillion in new domestic and international investment over the next five years by committing R363 billion to boost the economy.  Last year, local and international investors pledged investments totalling nearly R300 billion in 31 projects during the inaugural SA Investment Conference.  The second instalment of the conference on Wednesday saw investors pledging investments totalling billions to help reignite the ailing economy, which is growing at only 0.5%.  The companies that made investment and training announcements included the MTN Group, the Sappi Group, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers, Toyota SA, VM Automotive, the Agricultural Development Agency, Braun Global, Woolworths Holdings, Foschini, Edcon, Exxaro and the Brics New Development Bank.  Japan’s ambassador to SA, Norio Maruyama, and Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel signed an agreement establishing the Japan-South Africa Business Forum.  Companies and government also signed the Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather Masterplan, which has been developed in the spirit of partnership and renewal.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Siphelele Dludla at Business Report. See too, SA receives R363bn shot in the arm as investors back Ramaphosa’s investment drive, at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

Cosatu keen to see difference Ramaphosa’s jobs and investment promises will make

The Citizen reports that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) could not hide its optimism about the job prospects emanating from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s series of job and investment summits.  Ramaphosa this week opened the Tshwane Automotive Hub at the Ford plant in Pretoria, which was a direct outcome of pledges made during the October 2018 investment summit.  This has been punted as evidence that these conferences were not merely talk shops.  The hub and auto-manufacturing plants to be opened in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape mean a possible 10% rise in car exports.  Cosatu, which is usually critical of government efforts – particularly what it has described as “neoliberal economic policies” – said it was looking forward to the SA Investment Conference, which started on Wednesday in Sandton.  Its parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks commented:  “Whilst not all the 2018 [conference] targets have been met, we have seen a significant increase in investment inflows.  According to the South African Reserve Bank, 2019 has seen the highest level of investment inflows in five years.”  Parks optimistically noted that the 2018 investment conference had yielded commitments of R300 billion.  This year, initial commitments have already accrued to the value of R125 billion.  “These will help the government reach the R1.2 trillion 2023 target,” Parks opined.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Eric Naki on page 2 of The Citizen of 7 November 2019

R2K activists protest at Investment Conference, demanding action on unemployment

EWN reports that dozens of Right to Know Campaign (R2K) activists protested outside the University of Johannesburg (UJ) campus in Soweto on the final day on Thursday of the Investment Conference being led by President Cyril Ramaphosa.  The Soweto campus is the venue for a showcase on business facilitated by the conference and centering on entrepreneurship, small business growth and innovation.  Ramaphosa has been driving the second Investment Conference, with R363 billion pledged so far.  However, there has been criticism that unemployment stands at 29.1% and looks set to increase.  The R2K activists called for jobs and equal basic services.  Protest leader Bongani Xezi said they were sick and tired of empty promises from the government.  "We are here to demand that they deliver the one million jobs they promised.  We don’t see their strategy on their promises."  According to Ramaphosa, the new investments would generate more jobs, but that would take time to come to fruition.

Read the original of the above report by Edwin Ntshidi at EWN


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

City of Tshwane ambulance crew robbed at gunpoint in Soshanguve in early hours of Wednesday

News24 reports that a City of Tshwane emergency service crew was robbed when they responded to an apparent medical emergency in Block GG, Soshanguve, just after 02:00 on Wednesday.  Apparently the call centre received a call requesting assistance with a patient who had difficulty breathing.  When the crew arrived at the address, they found the house with its lights off and a locked gate.  While phoning the call centre to confirm the address, an unknown man pretended to give the ambulance crew the exact location of where the patient was and before they realised what was happening, he confronted the official with a gun through an open window, demanding cellphones from the crew.  After instructing the crew to hand over their cellphones, the suspect then told them to drive off.  A case of armed robbery was opened with the police.  The City said while it had no intention to label parts of the city no-go areas, it would not hesitate to consider the safety of its staff first before dispatching crews to certain areas.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sesona Ngqakamba at News24

Emerging truckers group denies being behind torching of trucks at two Mpumalanga mines

TimesLIVE reports that the Truckers Association of SA (Tasa) on Thursday denied it was behind the spate of violence at two Mpumalanga mines.  On Monday evening, four coal trucks were torched near an Eskom power station in Mpumalanga.  Eskom said three trucks had been torched close to the Arnot power station.  A fourth truck was torched near Matla mine.  The truck drivers were also allegedly assaulted.  Tasa, an association of truck operators and aspiring operators, was accused of being drawn into the conflict.  “This is factually incorrect, as our organisation was not involved in any protest wherein property was vandalised,” Tasa president Mary Phadi said.  She indicated that they had a held protest only against Mzimkhulu mine on 23 October.  Mzimkhulu Mining and SG Coal have approached the high court to seek an urgent interdict against Tasa.  They stated in court papers that the approximate value of coal which could not be transported each day amounted to about R8.1m.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Iavan Pijoos at TimesLIVE

Sanef won’t appeal Equality Court judgment in hate speech case against EFF aimed to protect journalists

News24 reports that the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) will not appeal the Equality Court judgment in its case against the EFF and its leader Julius Malema, but will use interdicts and criminal recourse to protect journalists.  Treasurer Adriaan Basson said on Wednesday:  "After careful consideration and legal advice, Sanef accepts, with the benefit of hindsight, that the Equality Court was not the appropriate forum to air our concerns.  We take note of the judgment that hate speech is very explicitly targeted against a person's inherent features as prescribed by the Constitution.  Although Sanef finds certain aspects of the judgment problematic, we are pleased that the court has acknowledged the importance of protecting journalists."  Last week, Judge Daisy Molefe ruled against Sanef in a case brought against the EFF on behalf of five journalists to interdict the party from intimidating, harassing and assaulting journalists.  In her judgment, Molefe said that journalists did not qualify for special protection in terms of the Equality Act.  She also found that unpopular, offensive or controversial views did not necessarily constitute hate speech.  Sanef had hoped for an interdict preventing the publication of the personal information of the complainants; stopping the endorsement of intimidation, harassment and threats of assault against them; and, seeking that the EFF and Malema would publicly denounce such actions by the party's supporters.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jenni Evans at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Looters grab big-screen TVs as trucks attacked on N1 highway at De Doorns, at TimesLIVE


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Dis-Chem’s profit down 39% in six months to August as strike costs bit

Fin24 reports that while pharmacy group Dis-Chem saw its revenue grow by 13% to R11.8bn in the six months to end-August, its profit declined by a large margin due to costs related to a months-long strike that started at the end of 2018.  Its headline earnings fell by 39% as its expenses climbed over the six months due to strike-related costs, including additional security.  Its profit was also dented by a change in the group’s bonus policy.  Previously it expensed the full bonus amount when paid in December of each year, but the bonus is now evenly accrued throughout the financial period.  In addition, its net finance costs increased by almost 21% to R202 million.  CEO Ivan Saltzman said in a statement:  “The labour issues that led to strikes across two consecutive financial years have been settled and we are actively rebuilding the relationship with distribution staff so that they understand the culture of our brand and our commitment to values that I, together with my partners, have built over many years.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Fin24


MINING LABOUR

Amcu says workers in platinum mining sector may back wage offers if of ‘minor’ issues resolved

Bloomberg reports that the largest trade union in the platinum mining sector said it might conclude a wage deal with producers as early as next week if “minor” outstanding issues could be resolved.  Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) might accept revised offers from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater, Jimmy Gama, the union’s chief negotiator and treasurer, indicated on Thursday.  He advised as follows:  “There is a prospect for general acceptance from those workers we have met so far.  We will have a clearer picture next week after we have met the companies.”  Gama declined to say what issues remained to be resolved.  According to a Twitter post by Amcu, workers at Sibanye’s Marikana platinum mines backed the company’s latest wage offer.  Further meetings at Sibanye were planned on Thursday, Gama said.  Implats said on Tuesday that it had raised its wage offer in a bid to break the deadlock.  It has offered to boost minimum basic monthly pay by R1,100 over each of the next three years, compared with Amcu’s demand for a R1 500 increase.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Mining Weekly


PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Public-sector managers are scared of unions and retribution

BusinessLive reports that according to the Public Service Commission (PSC), performance management within government was not working and managers were too scared of trade unions to manage.  The PSC is an independent body with the constitutional responsibility for oversight of the public service.  Reporting to MPs on Wednesday, deputy director-general Irene Mathenjwa said that while the labour rights of public servants had to be respected at all times, managers were not managing.  “It’s a very sensitive issue.  Public servants have rights and those must be respected, but we need to have space for managing because we are at work.  The problem is where managers are not able to manage because they are not able to deal with labour,” she stated.  Performance management was undermined by weak management, and by employee expectations that they should be given a good score just for coming to work, she said.  “Managers are not managing.  They will tell you a person is not performing and then later put them forward for a bonus.  The performance management system isn’t working.  So we welcome the announcement by the finance minister that no bonuses will be paid this year,” Mathenjwa observed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Carol Paton at BusinessLive


ESKOM UNBUNDLING

Numsa and NUM agree to work together to oppose Eskom’s unbundling

BusinessLive reports that Eskom’s two largest unions have put their political differences aside in order to oppose the unbundling of the embattled state-owned power utility. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) met on 1 November to discuss a programme of action and are scheduled to meet again on 8 November to finalise their strategy.   The NUM and Numsa are affiliates of rival union federations Cosatu and Saftu. However, both unions believe Eskom’s unbundling will lead to massive job losses and add to SA’s already high 29.1% unemployment rate.   President Cyril Ramaphosa, during his state of the nation address in February, announced that Eskom would be unbundled into three entities responsible for generation, transmission and distribution. On 29 October, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan presented a special paper for Eskom’s future and announced that the government was going to forge ahead with splitting up the utility. By March 2020, the transmission company will get its own board and CEO to drive the separation process.   NUM’s energy sector co-ordinator Paris Mashego said the unbundling would not solve Eskom’s ageing infrastructure and spiraling debt.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Anglo American says Eskom poses a major risk for investors, at Mining Weekly


RESTRUCTURING / RETRENCHMENTS / COMPANY JOB CUTS

CSIR issues retrenchment notices to some support staff as part of its reorganisation strategy

Engineering News reports that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has started a process of reorganising its support staff as part of the reorganisation of its operating model.  This will allow the implementation of its new strategy, and follows on from its successful science, engineering and technology staff reorganisation, which was completed in September.  Staff whose roles remain fundamentally the same under the new structure as they were under the previous structure have been issued with confirmation letters stating that they will continue to be employed in their current roles.  But part of this process has involved the issuing of Section 189 retrenchment notices to some support staff.  But, determined to avoid involuntary staff dismissals, the CSIR is offering a range of options, including early retirement, and voluntary retrenchment packages (the latter possibly being combined with full-time study packages with vacation work and CSIR internship opportunities).  It is also exploring available opportunities with stakeholders for possible transfers, and will furthermore consider half-day or reduced working hours for those interested in securing such lifestyle adjustments.  All these processes will be carries out on a case-by-case basis.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News


CORRUPTION

Corruption rampant in the SAPS, Cele tells Popcru congress

The Star reports that Police Minister Bheki Cele says the crippling shortage of rape kits in the country’s police stations could be attributed to corruption within the SA Police Service (SAPS).  According to Cele, corruption was so rampant in the police force that those behind it were sacrificing crucial services to advance their personal interests.  Addressing the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) congress in Durban on Wednesday, Cele used the embarrassing crisis of rape kits which affected the country’s police stations in late August and early September to illustrate high levels of rampant maladministration in the SAPS.  It was revealed at the time that police stations did not have enough kits to allow officers to collect the evidence needed for cases and convictions.  Recalling the incident, Cele said it showed that some within the force were corrupt.  Cele also used the platform to lash out at corrupt politicians, saying they placed the lives of police officers who were dedicated to fighting crime in danger.  ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande were scheduled to address the congress on Thursday.  On the first day of the conference, Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu called for the development of police officers and prison officials, saying they had to be afforded opportunities to study further.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sihle Mavuso on page 13 of The Star of 7 November 2019


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND PRESS STATEMENTS

  • Three prison officials found guilty for ‘strip tease’ jailhouse scandal, at The Citizen
  • Can we claim our late mother’s UIF benefits? at SowetanLive

 


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