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
Tuesday, 25 February 2020.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Action group launched to tackle ‘technological collapse’ of Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund

Engineering News reports that a council of concerned industry leaders, the Injured Workers Action Group (IWAG), was launched on Monday over concerns about the “technological collapse” of the R60-billion Compensation Fund.  The fund is a public entity under the administration of Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) and is mandated to cover the medical bills and disability pensions of workers suffering from occupational injuries or diseases.  In a statement on Monday, IWAG spokesperson Tim Hughes said the severity of the problems could not be overestimated and he called on government to swiftly address the crisis.  He said:  “If you look at the sheer number of vulnerable people who have now been failed by the system and left to fend for themselves under very trying circumstances, and the extent of that failure by the State and its technology partners, you’ll see that this is an untenable situation.”  IWAG said the DEL had long struggled with its claims system.  Last year it migrated to a new electronic system called CompEasy, but according to Hughes, CompEasy was “dead on arrival”.  He went on to claim:  “The technical failure of the system is now at such a level that, according to a large industry survey, only about 2.8% of injured workers have been able to submit claims since October 2019 and less than 1% have been paid, compared to 80% on the old system.”  On Sunday, the DEL conceded that the system was experiencing several challenges.  It encouraged all of its clients to access user manuals, which were available on its website.

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


MINING LABOUR

Harmony Gold confirms fatality at its Kusasalethu mine

Mining Weekly reports that Harmony Gold Mining on Monday confirmed that an employee had lost his life on Friday evening, following a scraper winch-related incident at the Kusasalethu mine, near Carletonville.  Harmony CEO Peter Steenkamp indicated that work in the affected area had been stopped and that the company had committed fully to the investigation that was already under way.  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), meanwhile, noted in a separate statement that this had been the third employee to be killed at Harmony’s operations this year.  There were ten fatalities at its operations in 2019.  The union reiterated its calls for amendment to the Mine Health and Safety Act, and also called on mining bosses to invest more of their profits and dividends in safety systems and infrastructure.  It emphasised that mining houses should face greater accountability through stronger regulation and enforcement by the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy.

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

Mining industry stakeholders join hands to improve occupational lung disease compensation system

Mining industry stakeholders join hands to improve occupational lung disease compensation system -

Mining Weekly reports that to further improve the administration of the state-owned administered compensation system of occupational lung diseases, the Minerals Council SA (MCSA - previously called the Chamber of Mines) has entered into a three-year partnership with the Medical Bureau for Occupation Disease (MBOD) and the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases (CCOD).  This so-called co-governance model will be used to implement projects and initiatives that will help the MBOD and the CCOD become an efficient and streamlined compensation fund and administrator.  The MBOD and CCOD will work in equal partnership with the MCSA, with the Compensation Commissioner and the director of the MBOD as administrator and the MCSA as a provider of strategic inputs.  The partnership will be overseen and managed by a steering committee on which both bodies have representatives.  Among the new systems and projects to be implemented is a compensation claims management system (CCMS), namely an integrated information technology platform that can manage the entire compensation process end-to-end, to replace the largely obsolete one that was developed for the MBOD some years ago.  Further to the CCMS, 14 other projects have been identified, for which the Minerals Council has budgeted R120-million over the period.

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


LABOUR LAW NONCOMPLIANCE

Spar owner must pay R12m to staff for ‘unlawful deductions’ and noncompliance with minimum wage

BusinessLive reports that a Spar owner has been ordered to pay almost R12m to his staff for making “unlawful” deductions and not complying with national minimum wage laws, amongst other infractions.  According to the labour department, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) granted eight arbitration awards against eight Spar outlets owned by a person identified only as “Mr Giannacoupolous”.  The awards compel the franchisee to comply with various orders issued — and pay all complainants a total of R11,935,478 within 14 days.  “Failure to comply with the awards will result with the respondent having to pay accrued interest in terms of section 75 of Basic Conditions of Employment Act,” the department indicated.  The order came after the department conducted inspections in May 2019 and received a complaints of alleged gross violations of labour laws that were happening at Spar stores across the country.  The department conducted inspections at Spar Orchards, Dely Road, Doornport Spar, Montana Spar, Wierda Spar, Silverton Spar, Zambezi Super Spar, Rietfontein Spar, Silverplace Spar and Safari Spar in Rustenburg. These stores employ 565 workers.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nomahlubi Jordaan at BusinessLive


NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

Labour department announces that national minimum wage will be R20.76 per hour from 1 March

The Citizen reports that the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) announced on Monday that the new rate for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for an hour worked would be R20.76.  The department said Minister Thulas Nxesi had signed a notice published in the Government Gazette, which approved the new rate that would be applicable as of Sunday, 1 March.  “The new amendment to the NMW is in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which allows for an annual review,” the department indicated in a statement.  The revision also entitles farmworkers to a minimum wage of R18.68 per hour.  Domestic workers will entitled to a minimum wage of R15.57 per hour and workers employed on an expanded public works programme (EPWP) will receive a minimum wage of R11.42 per hour.  The department said the NMW was the floor level below which no employee could be paid, and it did not include any other allowances.  The NMW came into effect on 1 January 2019 at a level of R20 per hour.

Read the original of the report in the above regard at The Citizen


NATIONAL BUDGET / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / JOB CREATION

Campaigners launch ‘The Real Jobs Summit’ ahead of Wednesday’s national budget speech

GroundUp reports that about 150 protesters marched to Parliament on Monday to mark the first day of the two-day Real Jobs Summit, part of the Cry of the Xcluded campaign over unemployment.  The campaign is supported by the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU).  It is also supported by the Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC), Reclaim the City and #UniteBehind, and the Progressive Community Movement from Khayelitsha.  Opening the summit at St George’s Cathedral, the campaign’s Madoda Cuphe told supporters:  “This summit is for the people who feel they have been excluded from society because of unemployment.”  Even according to Stats SA’s very limited unemployment definition, over 6.5 million South Africans are unemployed.  The Real Jobs Summit and march is being held iin the build-up to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech on Wednesday.  Addressing the protesters outside Parliament, Pinky Langa from the Southern African Green Revolutionary Council accused government of failing to create proper jobs.  He said they termed the protest ‘The Real Jobs Summit’ because it was run by people who were unemployed.  Langa advised:  “We are not only discussing the issues of unemployment, but we are coming up with solutions and action plans, we are also looking at what kind of jobs people want.  Government has no real plan about what to do with this crisis.”

Read the full original of the GroundUp report in the above regard by Mary-Anne Gontsana at <https://www.groundup.org.za/article/campaigners-launch-real-jobs-summit-ahead-budget-speech/>. Read too, Activists demanding detailed plans on government’s job creation plan, at EWN

Ramaphosa assures Cosatu that government ‘determined’ to deal with declining economy

EWN reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) that government is determined to deal with the declining economy.  This was in response to Cosatu affiliated unions who have raised concerns about government plans that could be detrimental to their members.  He addressed members behind closed doors at the federation's central executive committee meeting on Monday.  As the country gears up for Wednesday’s budget speech, Ramaphosa came face to face with the leaders of the country’s biggest labour federation.  Apparently, his address was thin on practical details, much like his state of the nation address.  The worker representatives reportedly took him to task about wasteful state expenditure and the public service wage bill.  With concerns that public service workers were being "thrown under the bus" as Treasury looked to cut costs, the union leaders demanded that ministers’ salaries be cut and that wasteful expenditure be curtailed.  The President apparently applauded Cosatu and other labour organisations for initiating the recent Eskom rescue plan that could be funded by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) through bonds and equity.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Theto Mahlakoana at EWN

Gauteng will spend R60bn in next five years to create jobs, premier promises

BusinessLive reports that Gauteng premier David Makhura said on Tuesday that billions of rand would be spent by his administration to build infrastructure and create more than 350,000 jobs in the next five years.  He said the R60bn they would spend on building and maintaining infrastructure over the period would help facilitate the development of 50 black industrialists.  Delivering his state of the province address in Pretoria, Makhura claimed that his administration was also on track to create “sustainable and decent jobs” for young people over the next five years.  The Premier said he wanted to increase Gauteng’s exports and trade within Africa and that the 10, high-growth sectors identified would produce manufactured goods and services “destined for the entire African Continental Free Trade Area” (AfCFTA).  “In 2030, intra-Africa trade should contribute to the creation and maintenance of 150,000 jobs, up from the current 50,000 jobs.  We also want to increase exports to major regions of the world by 10% by 2025,” he explained.  Makhura went on to say that over the five years, the Gauteng city region would attract 447 foreign direct investment projects worth R264bn, which would create more than 69,000 jobs.  The provincial government, said Makhura, would during this decade drive an “aggressive investment agenda” aimed at unlocking the province’s five development corridors.

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


SAA BUSINESS RESCUE

Numsa and Sacca demand that SAA business rescue respects workers’ rights

Engineering News reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the SA Cabin Crew Association (Sacca) have jointly accused the SAA business rescue practitioners (BRPs) of violating the rights of their members working at the airline.  In a joint letter, the unions warned that if the BRPs failed to reply to their demands by Tuesday, they would “have no choice” but to approach the high court to obtain an interdict against the BRPs.  The purpose of the interdict would be to prevent them from publishing their business rescue plan, which has to be released by 6 March.  The unions pointed out that under the Companies Act, SAA employees were considered preferred unsecured creditors.  As such, they have certain rights, which, they claimed, the BRPs have violated.  The unions explained further:  “So far the BRPs have acted unilaterally to restructure SAA and they are doing so without consulting workers in a genuine way and infringing workers’ rights under the Companies Act.  The BRPs have sent letters to employees who will be affected by the [BRP-decided] closure of the eleven [SAA] routes, compelling them to agree to drastically reduced hours. … We have advised our members not to sign these agreements as these are a direct violation of their rights in terms of the Labour Law.”  Numsa and Sacca want the BRPs to comply with four demands, which include releasing relevant document, releasing the draft business rescue plan, consultation with the workers and allowing them enough time to examine the plan and make suggestions and propose options.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • KZN Premier slams SAA business rescue practitioners, saying they’re creating unemployment in the province, at Independent News


HEALTHCARE / NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Fund gives public healthcare sector's human resources a boost

Engineering News reports that about 100 doctors and 34 research graduates, the vast majority of them hailing from severely under-resourced areas, have been absorbed into the public healthcare system as a product of the Public Health Enhancement Fund (PHEF).  PHEF chairperson Dr Stavros Nicolau indicated on Monday that the fund had, over the years, contributed more than R200-million in funding to various programmes that were tackling the critical national agenda of human resources for health.  "This is an aspect we should be most proud of, as it is more likely that these doctors will return to their home villages to service those most in need,” he remarked.  Nicolau also revealed that a further 78 post-graduate students were being assisted through funding under the Bongani Mayosi National Health Scholars Programme, named after the late physician as an ode to his legacy of excellence in academia.  He added that the PHEF had intervened to help resolve some of the challenges facing the South African Health Products Authority, particularly around the turnaround time for the approval of new medicines.  In response, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize lauded the demonstration of positive cooperation between government and the private sector.

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

Ramaphosa promises that government will not be reckless in implementing NHI

Independent News reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised that the government will not be reckless when implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI) in the next five years.  Ramaphosa, in his weekly newsletter, wrote that it was a travesty that 20% of the people had access to quality healthcare because they could afford it and the remaining 80% were denied basic quality healthcare.  “Around R250billion is spent annually on less than 20% of the population.  This is the section of our population that has access to private medical insurance.  On the other hand our country spends R220billion on the rest of the population,” he pointed out.  This situation flew in the face of the constitutional right of the people to have access to quality healthcare, he noted.  However, Ramaphosa also insisted that the government would not be reckless when implementing NHI:  “We will implement it in an incremental fashion and aim to cover the whole country by 2025.  We will use an affordable approach to progressively move towards a comprehensive NHI environment.”  The government has not indicated how much it will spend on the NHI.  But Ramaphosa said all stakeholders in the health sector must rally around the NHI as it was an important intervention in the sector.  Some opposition parties have warned the state will not have the money to implement NHI.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Siyabonga Mkhwanazi at Independent News. Read too, South Africans must rally behind NHI, Cyril Ramaphosa urges, at BusinessLive


UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES

SAPS ordered to pay R150k to six humiliated and illegally demoted major-generals

The Star reports that last month at the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC), the SA Police Service (SAPS) was found to have “humiliated” six Pretoria major-generals by removing them as cluster commanders of several police stations to become mere “overseers” of individual stations.  This has been described as “a recipe for disaster” in police leadership.  Major-generals Anna Mateisi, Masego Botshelong, Nicholas Sithole, Girly Mbele, Pooblan Subbiah and Ketlareng Mohajane were each awarded R25,000 by the SSSBC for being unfairly demoted.  This related to a restructuring programme the SAPS embarked on in February last year to deploy senior police managers to local stations to address crime experienced by communities.  But, the SSSBC arbitrator found this process to have been flawed because the six wronged senior officers went from being cluster commanders to being station overseers and were “stripped of all command and control”.  “The major-generals suffered the humiliation of arriving at stations without knowing who to report to and without having office space and/or any personnel assigned to them,” he noted.  The arbitrator added that this constituted an unfair labour practice because the SAPS and national commissioner General Khehla Sitole demoted the officers without consulting them on the process, and announced the changes to the media before the major-generals were informed.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khaya Koko at Independent News


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES AND ARTICLES

  • Toxic managers who play employees off against each other derail their own careers, at TimesLIVE
  • Study shows how people cope with ‘manager from hell’, at Independent News
  • Eastern Cape hospital in dire straits after contractors halt work due to lack of pay, at News24
  • Taxi driver seriously hurt, pupils inured in crash with MyCiTi bus, at EWN

 


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