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 Thursday morning roundup, see
summaries of our selection of recent South African
labour-related reports.


TOP STORY – ARCELORMITTAL STRIKE

Labour Court orders striking Numsa members at ArcelorMittal SA to go back to work

BL Premium reports that striking National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members at ArcelorMittal SA (Amsa) are expected back at work after the Labour Court granted the steel producer an interim order prohibiting workers from striking for above-inflation wage increases.   This came after Numsa downed tools on Wednesday and embarked on industrial action at Amsa’s operations in support of its demand for a 10% pay hike. The company said on Wednesday that the court had granted it an interim interdict forcing Amsa employees working at the blast furnaces, coke batteries and steel making operations in Vanderbijlpark and Newcastle to pause the strike. “Should these employees continue with the strike it will be considered unlawful,” the company stated. Numsa national spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said because the court order was enforceable immediately, the union members would have to stop the strike action. “There is no written judgment at this stage, and I don’t think we will get it today [Wednesday]. We are all waiting for a written judgment and then we will know how to proceed,” she indicated. The union had issued the company with a strike notice on Monday, after a breakdown in the 2022 annual wage negotiations. The steel giant has fiercely defended its wage increase offer of 7% as “fair”, citing on Wednesday that the increase was higher than the 5.5% average in the sector.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Michelle Gumede and Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


COVID-19

Over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases in SA in one day on Wednesday

TimesLive reports that the Covid-19 positivity rate jumped to 25.3% on Wednesday with 10,017 new infections recorded. This brought to 69,872 the number of active cases.   The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 50 deaths, with at least 10 of these having occurred in the past 24-48 hours. The cumulative Covid-19 deaths are 100,609 to date. The majority of new cases were from Gauteng at 3,946 or 39%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal, at 2,092 (21%). The Western Cape accounted for 1,749 cases (17%), the Eastern Cape for 645 (6%) and Free State for 600 (6%). Mpumalanga with 323 cases and North West with 326 each accounted for 3%; the Northern Cape accounted for 323 cases at 2%; and Limpopo accounted for 104 cases, at 1% of the new cases.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alex Patrick at TimesLive

Pfizer to cut SA production of Covid-19 vaccine due to low demand

Bloomberg reports that plans to produce Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in Cape Town may be scaled back because of waning demand for the shots, according to the head of the company’s SA manufacturing partner.   About 100-million doses a year are slated to be packaged and filled at a plant controlled by the BioVac Institute, partly owned by the SA government, which would become the first southern hemisphere facility to use the messenger RNA technology underlying the Pfizer-BioNTech version. Yet demand for Covid-19 vaccines has fallen globally as countries start to adapt to the pandemic — even in Africa where vaccination rates are lowest. Aspen Pharmacare, the continent’s biggest drugmaker, said this month that it might close a line to make Johnson & Johnson’s dose in SA due to a lack of orders. “As a manufacturer we are concerned about the picture that’s coming through. At the rate things are going it will probably be less than 100-million doses a year,” Biovac CEO Morena Makhoana indicated. Pfizer said the following in response to questions: “It is becoming increasingly recognised that vaccine supply is no longer the primary challenge impacting vaccinating lower and middle income nations. Country readiness is critical in ensuring that a nation is able to effectively receive, transport and administer the vaccine doses as they arrive.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Antony Sguazzin at BusinessLive


KZN FLOODS

SANDF providing psycho-social support for Operation Chariot soldiers deployed in KZN

Daily News reports that SA National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers deployed for Operation Chariot have started receiving psycho-social support from the area military health unit. The SANDF has been deployed across KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in areas affected by the recent heavy rainfall and flooding. They have recovered bodies from contaminated water sources, assisted in the digging up and recovery of missing persons, assisted in providing relief, and have even conducted beach clean-ups along the province’s coastline. The psycho-social team of the area military health unit in KZN consists of a social worker and a psychologist. The SANDF said the team began its visits with the air operations team conducting the search, rescue and body recovery missions with the SA Police Service stationed at Virginia Airport and has conducted other visits as well. “They have been involved in psycho-education, psycho-social support, as well as the social welfare of military members. Further support is provided to members involved in the search and rescue of the deceased due to the devastation caused by the recent floods in the province. Much military personnel has also experienced loss due to the floods and have received support from the team,” the SANDF said.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thobeka Ngema at Daily News

Toyota SA says employees won’t lose jobs in restarting of operations following KZN floods

The Citizen reports that Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has reiterated that none of its employees will lose their jobs as the company implements a systematic phased plan to return its Prospecton plant to working conditions. The recent deadly KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) floods caused extensive damage to the facility and the company said it was likely to lose around 45,000 vehicles that were in production. Toyota clarified that the safety and welfare of its employees remained a key priority. “The majority of Toyota employees fall under the NBF (National Bargaining Forum) and, as such, payment is governed by the rules of the NBF, where 50% of wages are paid where there is no work. None of the TSAM employees will lose their jobs, and they will receive support from the company throughout the process,” the manufacturer advised. However, Toyota added that, as it had done during the Covid-19 lockdown, it would endeavour to improve employee earnings by bringing in employees on a rotational basis to assist in clean up and restoration activities, would work with the Government to provide temporary relief measures (UIF benefits) and would request financial institutions with which employees had loans for a three-month payment holiday, among other benefits. Toyota said it was also working with local NGOs to use its employees to provide community support and clean up. “Employees who volunteer for such activities will be paid by TSAM. It is hoped that the combination of these above initiatives will ensure no loss of income to all our employees.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Faizel Patel at The Citizen. Read too, Toyota could lose 45,000 vehicles at Durban plant due to flood impact, at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category


INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY

Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union calls on nurses to boycott International Nurses Day on Thursday

The Citizen reports that the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) has called on the country’s nurses to boycott all celebrations and commemorations of International Nurses Day on Thursday.   Nurses around the world will commemorate their vocation under the theme “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health.” But South African nurses are said to have nothing much to celebrate. “Nurses were hailed as heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic, but they did not get any recognition in terms of increased pay, not even as a token of appreciation from employers,” said YNITU general secretary Lerato Mthunzi. “YNITU strongly believes that nursing in general as a profession is under attack by those who are entrusted to transform it.   Education, training and development of nurses has reached a screeching halt,” claimed Mthunzi. The union accused the SA Nursing Council (SANC) and the Council for Higher Education (CHE) of denying nurses access and career progression opportunities. YITU’s sentiments came amid a study by Stellenbosch University’s Department of Nursing and Midwifery into the state of nursing care for the elderly. “We found that the nursing workforce in LTCFs is getting older, training is outdated, workloads increase, and information technology skills are lacking,” said the researchers. The YNITU urged all nurses not to attend or participate in any celebrations associated with International Nurses Day, but to assemble at the Union Buildings at 9:00 am in Pretoria. Thereafter, nurses will march to the SANC offices.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Narissa Subramoney at The Citizen


EXECUTIVE PAY

MTN links top executive pay to ESG outcomes, which include upping rural broadband

Fin24 reports that MTN, which has set itself a goal of cutting its carbon emissions to zero by 2040, has linked the pay of senior executives with the firm's environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets. According to the company, the elements of executive compensation for both short-term incentives (STI) and long-term incentives (LTI) depend on progress on three ESG goals: reaching net zero greenhouse emissions, enhancing diversity and inclusion, and extending rural broadband. MTN currently has a rural broadband coverage of approximately 83%, and is targeting 95% by 2025. CEO Ralph Mupita said MTN had made "great progress" in its overall sustainability matters, and continually strived to meet the increasingly high standards that its stakeholders demand regarding ESG impact.   "To this end, we have linked 2022 executive remuneration for STIs and LTIs to ESG," he said. In March, MTN, which operates in 19 markets, showed a 16% reduction in scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions. It is targeting a 47% reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2040. In its remuneration report, the company said it approved a 2.38% increase for executive management for 2021 pay reviews, and non-executive management got an average of 2.42%. MTN aims to create a gender-equal workforce by 2030, and noted in its latest Sustainability Report that it wanted to act on gender pay parity to effect meaningful progress.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sibongile Khumalo at Fin24


HIGHER EDUCATION / TRAINING

Gauteng Health to continue recruiting students for controversial Cuban medical study program

The Citizen reports that Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi has revealed that more students will be recruited for the controversial Cuban medicine study program. Responding to questions by the DA’s Jack Bloom in the Gauteng Legislature, Mokgethi said there had been 264 students in Cuba in 2019 studying medicine, 114 in 2020, 25 in 2021 and 25 this year. She reportedly said the SA Cuba Binational Agreement was ongoing with more recruitments were planned. Bloom reacted: “It is disappointing that the department wishes to continue with a programme that is more than double the cost of local medical training. It also takes two years longer as there is an extra year to learn Spanish and they spend another year finalising their training at a South African medical school.” He went on to say that Gauteng should follow the Western Cape Health Department “which refuses to participate in this expensive programme.” According to Bloom, the money would be better spent to expand training at the three medical schools in Gauteng rather than paying an exorbitant amount for overseas training that still required an extra year of local training. The provincial treasury is currently doing a forensic audit on suspected corruption in this programme, which had a budget of R313 million last year.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Narissa Subramoney at The Citizen

Walter Sisulu University says accreditation of programmes in hand, but MPs want heads to roll

TimesLive reports that Chairperson of the Walter Sisulu University council, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, on Wednesday said the accreditation debacle at the institution was “not as big as has been reported and is largely under control”. Speaking at parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education, Ngcukaitobi said only a handful of programmes, and not 28 as previously reported, were unaccredited. “What we’ve found is that there are five programmes that are an issue, and two of those programmes were once accredited but there was a problem when they were transitioning, in that documents were not submitted timeously.”   The affected programmes according to university management are Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Advanced Diploma in Internal Auditing, Advanced Diploma in Journalism, Post Graduate Diploma in Chemical Pathology and Master of Medicine. The accreditation crisis has left hundreds of students enrolled in the affected programmes in limbo and those who were scheduled to graduate this month have had their graduation postponed. MPs said the dilemma could have been avoided, and called for action to be taken against those who failed to ensure that documentation for accreditation was submitted timeously. MP Naledi Chirwa called for the names of those responsible to be released and that tangible consequences be effected against the perpetrators as the matter had personal and financial implications for parents and the state.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nonkululeko Njilo at TimesLive

Air force cadets who turned to court after being kicked off training programme for using cannabis must await Ombud’s decision

Pretoria News writes that four men’s dreams to be enlisted in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) as air force cadets were dashed when they were kicked out of the training programme after cannabis was detected in their blood. However, the four took the SANDF to court, claiming that the minister and the department did not “respect” their right to use this substance in the privacy of their home. The four launched an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to overturn the SANDF’s refusal to admit them to the training programme. They claimed that they were called at short notice to report to the air force base, prior to each of them having consumed some cannabis at home. While some said it was done for recreational purposes, others claimed they had consumed the cannabis for medical reasons. But they told the court, it did not matter, as this had been done within the law, at their private homes. According to the SANDF, the cadets never disclosed on their application questionnaires that they had used cannabis. The SANDF also said they were not dismissed in terms of labour practices but were withdrawn from the programme due to medical reasons. The applicants lodged complaints with the Military Ombudsman. The High Court judge, however, ruled that they first had to wait for the Military Ombud’s decision before they could turn to the court.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Zelda Venter at Pretoria News

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Dearth of high-level accounting skills creates poser in M&As, at BusinessLive (subscriber access only)


RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

SA’s racial policy to be officially tried by ILO following Solidarity’s complaint

Solidarity reported on Wednesday SA’s racial policy was now officially on trial by the United Nations’ (UN’s) labour agency, namely the International Labour Organisation (ILO).   This after the ILO’s governing body declared at its 344th session held in March this year that Solidarity’s complaint regarding the SA government’s racial policy was admissible. “This means that, at face value, Solidarity’s complaint has merit, complies with all the ILO’s technical requirements and that we have exhausted all remedies in South Africa. The matter is now going into a trial phase,” the trade union indicated in a statement on Wednesday. In Solidarity’s complaint it is contended that the South African government contravenes ILO Convention No 111 dealing with racial discrimination.   According to Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann, the ILO’s finding is a major breakthrough and could change the face of racial quotas for ever. “This is the first time since 1994 that not only a complaint has been filed against the government, but it has entered the trial phase,” Hermann noted. The ILO has apparently written to the SA government indicating that, in terms of the ILO’s rules, a process of voluntary conciliation could be followed between the government and Solidarity. Solidarity has meanwhile indicated that it would participate in such a process. If the government is not interested in conciliation it must provide comment on the Solidarity complaint before 30 May this year. It will then be assessed by the ILO.

Read full original of Solidarity’s press statement in the above regard at Politicsweb. Lees ook, SA rassebeleid deur VN verhoor, by Maroela Media


ALLEGED CORRUPTION

Two Rustenburg police officers in court for allegedly soliciting R500 bribe in connection with Immigration Act contravention

IOL reports that two police officers appeared in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, for allegedly soliciting a R500 bribe. Sergeant Ruth Nkotsoe and Constable Mosimanekgosi Leburu allegedly demanded R500 from the mother of an 18-year-old man who had been arrested in Marikana near Rustenburg for contravention of the Immigration Act.   North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone reported: “According to information received, an 18-year-old suspect, was arrested on Tuesday, 03 May 2022, in Marikana for contravention of Section 49(1)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002). The police officers then initiated communication and demanded an amount of R500 from the suspect’s mother for the release of her son.”   Mokgwabone went on to indicate:   “The suspect was taken to court for appearance on Thursday, May 5, 2022. However, the case was not placed on the roll and the suspect was released.   The two police officers allegedly kept the 18-year-old man’s passport and ordered him to pay them R500. The matter was reported to the police and that resulted in the arrest of the two police officers on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.”   The two police officers were released on R5,000 bail and the case against them was postponed to 27 September.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Molaole Montsho at IOL


SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Sebokeng principal successfully argues that sex abuse allegation was part of a conspiracy by teachers and union members

The Star reports that a Sebokeng primary school principal accused of sexually violating a learner has managed to convince an arbitrator that he was a victim of a conspiracy by teachers and fellow union members. Matthew Ceba, principal at Motlotlo Primary School in Sebokeng, squared off against the Gauteng Department of Education in arbitration proceedings at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC). He faced a single charge of misconduct. The employer alleged that he had called a Grade 7 learner, only identified as MM, to his office and hugged her, sat her down on his lap and romantically kissed her. Four teachers testified against Ceba in the arbitration. MM stuck to her allegation during the proceedings, but Ceba denied the allegation. His defence focused on why allegations would be fabricated against him. Chief among this was that his relationship with his school management team and other teachers was troubled and frosty. The troubled relations went to an extent that teachers fabricated embezzlement charges against him in 2020, Ceba submitted.   The district investigated the matter and he was found not guilty. Ceba testified that he was a victim of squabbling in Sadtu, his union. In a ruling last week, advocate Mark Hawyes, the ELRC arbitrator, found Ceba’s defence credible. Also, said Hawyes, Ceba “provided other unchallenged detail of why he suspected that he was being falsely framed by dissenting factions within Sadtu”.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bongani Nkosi at The Star

 


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