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


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Intercape bus driver shot and critically wounded in Cape Town

Weekend Argus reports that a driver from long-distance coach company Intercape was shot and critically wounded outside the company’s depot in Airport Industria, Cape Town, on Sunday evening. According to police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, Bishop Lavis police attended the incident on Sunday at around 6.30pm. He reported further: “Upon arrival at the scene, they saw a passenger bus, standing in the road.   According to reports the driver and his assistant were on their way to Cape Town to load passengers when two unknown suspects approached the intersection, firing gunshots in their direction. One of the victims sustained injuries from gunshot wounds and was transferred to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.” Swartbooi added the motive for the attack was unknown and the unknown suspects who fled the scene have yet to be arrested. In April, Intercape bus driver Bangikhaya Machana died in hospital days after being shot and critically wounded outside the company’s depot. In the space of just 13 months, there have been over 150 recorded violent incidents in the long-distance coach industry, a number of which have led to serious injuries to employees and passengers of the bus operators.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Velani Ludidi at Weekend Argus. Lees ook, Nóg ’n Intercape-busbestuurder geskiet, by Maroela Media. And also, Bus driver shooting part of 'violent campaign' against long-haul industry, says Intercape, at News24

Public Protector launches new ‘own-initiative’ probe into 'health and safety hazards' at Phoenix mortuary

News24 reports that the Public Protector SA (PPSA) has launched a new "own-initiative systemic investigation" into conditions at the Phoenix mortuary in Durban. This follows new revelations of forensic pathology malpractice at the facility. According to a statement by the PPSA, several media reports suggested that staff at the facility lacked basic tools of the trade, supplies and protective equipment. "It has also been alleged that certain medical apparatus are no longer in good working condition, leading to occupational health and safety hazards; and that the intake of bodies is not commensurate with the capacity of fridges, resulting in corpses lying on the floors," PPSA spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said. According to the reports, insiders claimed that the Department of Health had been neglecting staff by failing to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), which forced them to reuse their old gear. They claimed that last week alone, at least 20 bodies had to be placed on the mortuary's floor because the facility was overflowing with bodies.   A PPSA investigation report in March 2019 revealed widespread problems at government mortuaries across KwaZulu-Natal, including the Phoenix facility. The PPSA investigation team will request a meeting with the health department and labour unions before visiting the facility to conduct an inspection in loco.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Cebelihle Mthethwa at News24. Read too, Corpse crisis at mortuary, at IOL

Eskom in the clutches of internal and external criminals, with senior managers having to use bodyguards in public spaces

TimesLive reports that Eskom is experiencing such high crime levels that the lives of senior managers and their family members are threatened and they have to use bodyguards in public spaces. In addition, some contractors are “exploiting and overcharging” the debt-ridden state-owned entity. These were some of the observations made by cabinet ministers during a media briefing on the power crisis on Monday afternoon. “You find that some general managers of these [power] stations, they move around with personal protectors ... their wives ... their children are taken to school by personal protectors. That starts from inside these [power stations] where the criminals from both the internal and external [environment], they collude to steal the whole tank of diesel, the whole tank of oil coming to [Eskom],” said Police Minister Bheki Cele.   He added that criminal activities were so bad that employees looking for spare parts in storerooms would find nothing. Police have partnered with general managers of the affected power stations to tackle criminal activities. Cele said a middle manager and five other employees had been arrested so far.   “In the past financial year, there were 210 cases opened and 191 of those people were found guilty, some of them are doing between 10 and 15 years in prison,” he reported.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mpho Sibanyoni at TimesLive


Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Metro cop killed during shootout in Joburg CBD on Friday evening, at News24


STRIKES

SARS opens more branches, all of its customs offices as unions wait to discuss wages on Wednesday

Fin24 reports that as a nationwide strike continues, the SA Revenue Service (SARS) announced on Tuesday that it had been able to open all 23 of its customs offices and reduce the number of closed SARS branches to 17. By the end of last week, 21 of its branches had been closed due to the strike.   This as the Public Servants Association (PSA) and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said that they were starting to warm up to the idea of returning to wage negotiations. Their members started to strike in May as part of wage negotiations. The strike was suspended in June, but they resumed the strike mid-July. SARS has since raised its offer from 1.3% to 1.5%, but the unions have shown no sign of budging from their demands. Nehawu wants a hike of 12%. The PSA’s Reuben Maleka indicated that the union expected to meet with SARS at a bargaining forum meeting on Wednesday. On Friday, there will be a meeting at the CCMA to finalise picketing rules. Maleka said while the union was ready to continue the strike, it was open to talks if SARS approached it with "a better offer". Nehawu spokesperson Lwazi Nkolisi said the union would continue to consult with members.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24. Read too, Slight increase in wage offer to SARS employees, at Moneyweb

NUM forges ahead with wage strike at Geomechanics

BL Premium reported on Monday that according to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), it would forge ahead with its strike action at Geomechanics until company bosses revised their wage offer to workers.   NUM embarked on a strike after the CCMA issued it with a certificate of non-resolution after wage talks deadlocked recently. Geomechanics provides drilling and testing services to the minerals exploration market, as well as to the geotechnical and civil engineering industries. The group has branches across SA and in Uganda.   The union is demanding a pay hike of R900 across the board, while the company has proposed increases of between R480 and R630, depending on years of service. The NUM’s Mlulameli Mweli said Geomechanics was not prepared to move from its wage proposal. He claimed that operations had been affected by the industrial action and that no meetings had been scheduled to try to break the impasse. He said lowest-paid employees earned about R5,500 per month. Mweli indicated: “Our members are determined to fight tooth and nail until their demands are met.”   The company’s HR manager, Marco Bondesio, said some of the demands made were not feasible or realistic and could not be met by the company. He added:   “The union failed to mention that the company also proposed a percentage increase on top of the rand value adjustment to ensure that all employees’ salaries are adjusted to accommodate the rising cost of living.”

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


WAGE NEGOTIATIONS

Amid crunch talks, Numsa says it wants to avoid strike action in the retail motor sector

BL Premium reports that operations at car dealerships, fuel stations, auto-spare assembly centres and panel-beating workshops could grind to a screeching halt across the country if no wage agreement is reached between the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and employers in the retail motor sector. The union leaders and representatives from the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) held crunch talks at the Motor Industries Bargaining Council (Mibco) on Tuesday in an effort to break the wage deadlock. Talks are set to end on Wednesday. The wage discussions began in March, but Numsa declared a dispute after parties failed to hammer out a pay-hike deal after three rounds of talks at the bargaining council, where the union demanded a one-year 12% pay increase.   Numsa accused employers – who had not tabled an offer – of pushing the union into a corner by demanding that it should revise its wage demand down. The sector represents employees in components-manufacturing companies, fuel stations, car dealerships, car cleaning and auto-spare assembly, and employs about 306,000 workers nationally, of whom about 90,000 are Numsa members. Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola advised on Tuesday: “We are [now] meeting with employers. We are not saying any more for now, except that we are engaging each other. We will give a full update on Wednesday afternoon after we have [finished] the meeting. If we do not walk out of [Mibco] with an agreement on Wednesday, we are headed for a strike. However, we will do whatever is necessary to avoid that. Our attitude to these talks is to prevent a strike from taking place.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, Retail motor sector wage negotiations deadlocked, with mediation set to take place this week, at Moneyweb

PSA concerned as Finance Minister takes lead in public sector wage talks

Fin24 reports that much to the chagrin of at least one union, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is set to play a more prominent in the ongoing public service wage negotiations as the government looks to make savings on its biggest spending item. The minister indicated over the weekend that he would lead the government's strategy in the talks. While unions have revised their wage increase demand downwards from 10% to 6.5%, the government has not budged from its 2% wage increase offer.   Unions and the government are set to return to the Public Sector Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) on Wednesday in a bid to break the deadlock in talks. Public Servants Association (PSA) spokesperson Reuben Maleka said it was concerning that the National Treasury had "taken over" the role of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) as the leading employer in the negotiations and that it “will be a regression to have Treasury taking a centre stage in the PSCBC. The departure of Ayanda Dlodlo from the position of DPSA Minister in April, to join the World Bank, has left the department without full-time political leadership, although Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi has assumed the position in an acting capacity.   The DPSA minister normally leads the government in public service wage negotiations. Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt commented that Godongwana's seniority in the government and his commitment to curbing the growth of the public service wage bill made him an ideal representative of the government in the talks. According to Maleka, the National Treasury must ensure it brings up a tangible offer to have a meaningful conciliation on Wednesday at the PSCBC.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Khulekani Magubane at Fin24. Lees ook, Dispuut oor salarisverhoging vir onnies verklaar, by Maroela Media


NUMSA INFIGHTING

Numsa Western Cape calls for invalidation of decisions taken at union’s 11th congress

EWN reports that according to the Western Cape region of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), union bosses were reaping what they had sown. They said the suspension of members by the leadership and the ongoing labour court dispute illustrated the problems that the union faced. On Monday, the leaders of the biggest union in the country were served with court papers. In the papers, president Andrew Chirwa and general secretary Irvin Jim are accused of being in contempt of court for continuing last week with the 11th national congress despite a court interdict. The complainant, Ruth Ntlokotse, also called for the decisions taken at the congress to be declared null and void.   Furthermore, the former second deputy president wants the leadership at the union to be held liable for the legal costs. Western Cape region representative Vuyo Lufele commented: "They must be found guilty of being in contempt of court and that is a criminal offence, and they must learn from this because they have been misleading the public." Representatives of the Western Cape region walked out of last week’s national congress.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Ronald Masinda at EWN

Numsa says it is ‘uniting membership’ after internal ructions

BL Premium reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the country’s biggest, and arguably the wealthiest union, says it is now focusing on uniting its membership after a faction successfully applied for a court order stopping the recent national elective congress from going ahead until the union complied with its own constitution.   Numsa, however, elected to go ahead with the conference, held in Cape Town last week, saying it had lodged an appeal against labour court judge Graham Moshoana’s ruling. But on Thursday, Moshoana refused Numsa’s application for leave to appeal the ruling, saying the trade union’s decision to defy the order was “an unguided and unwise move”. Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the union would now petition the labour appeals court (LAC) for direct access to appeal against the ruling. Numsa heavyweights Irvin Jim, Andrew Chirwa and Mphumzi Maqungo were re-elected unopposed as general secretary, president and national treasurer. “Now that Numsa has had its congress and we have a new leadership we can focus on uniting our members. We are clear that it is not the rank and file which are a problem. It is individuals in leadership who are driving a selfish narrow agenda to destabilise the union,” Hlubi-Majola said. Chirwa recently admitted the union was rocked by infighting. In a recent open letter, Numsa former deputy general secretary Karl Cloete wrote that in its 35-year existence, Numsa has seen attempts to “clamp down on dissent with instances of the dismissal of critical thinkers and sidelining of certain regions which did not see eye-to-eye with the national leadership”. Hlubi-Majola, however, was adamant that Numsa would emerge “stronger” after this episode.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Read too, Numsa says it is under siege from all sides, as threat of deregistration looms, at Fin24 (subscriber access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Numsa’s Irvin Jim claims media takedown campaign, at Mail & Guardian (subscriber access only)


ILLEGAL MINING

Police Minister says a national approach will now be used to stop illegal miners

EWN reports that Police Minister Bheki Cele says authorities will now use a national approach to stop illegal miners – once and for all.   Cele, accompanied by the Tactical Response Team, the flying squad, the K-9 unit, and the Hawks, raided mine dumps in the Krugersdorp area – after eight women were gang raped there last week.   They were targeted by so-called zama zamas (illegal miners) while filming a music video. The film crew was also robbed. Almost 90 suspects have now been arrested. None of those apprehended have been linked to the rapes, but DNA analysis is being carried out. Cele said they would be concentrating on all illegal operations.   "What we don't need to do now, we don't have to stop, we need to keep rolling with these operations in these four problematic provinces,” he indicated. Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela said resources were being mobilised: "Some of the operations are of that nature that the local police station cannot deal with it. So it needs us to up our game. At times, I will have to call the National Commissioner to give me more resources so that we deal with the threat on the ground".

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Ray White at EWN. Read too, 85 illegal miners, Krugersdorp rape suspects appear in court, at The Star

One dead as police exchange gunfire with zama zamas in Krugersdorp on Tuesday

TimesLive reports that police and alleged “zama zamas” (illegal miners) exchanged gunfire on Tuesday after a raid at a disused mine off the R28 in Luipaardsvlei, Krugersdorp. The culprits are alleged to have been men wearing Basotho blankets and thought to be illegal miners. Netcare 911 spokesperson Shawn Herbst said a man believed to be an illegal miner was shot dead after he allegedly pointed a gun at police. Herbst said multiple other zama zamas were injured trying to escape. Police spokesperson Lirandzu Themba confirmed the incident, saying the miners pushed back after the raid. Some were arrested. According to Themba, police minister Bheki Cele joined a team consisting of tactical response, Hawks, Crime Intelligence, the K-9 unit, Gauteng traffic police, Sibanye-Stillwater mining security and private security to tackle the illicit operations. Cele said during a police briefing that the shocking news over the weekend of eight young women having been gang-raped in Krugersdorp during a video shoot was 'the shame of the nation'.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Alex Patrick at TimesLive. Lees ook, Zama-zama sterf in skietery met polisie, by Maroela Media. As well as, Shootout ensues after police confront more illegal miners in Krugersdorp, at The Citizen

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • ‘Even pupils’ lunch boxes not safe from zama zamas’, at SowetanLive


MARIKANA MASSACRE

Ten years on, not all Marikana widows have received their promised houses

Mail & Guardian reports that as the 10 year anniversary of the massacre that claimed the lives of 44 mineworkers, police officers and security guards in Marikana in August 2012 draws near, some widows of the tragedy are still waiting for houses promised to them in the aftermath.   As part of the reparations for those affected by the violence, Lonmin undertook to provide houses to the widows of those killed. But to date, eight out of the 44 widows have still not received the accommodation, with mining company Sibanye-Stillwater – which assumed the responsibility after buying Lonmin in 2019 – saying they are “under construction”.   According to Sibanye’s Thabisile Phumo, out of the 44 houses promised, 16 were still outstanding when the company took over in 2019, but the balance has since been cut by half.   Twenty-eight houses were built and handed over by a trust fund set up by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in 2016, Phumo indicated. She added: “We got involved because we were asked by the widows who were still on the waiting list.” The remaining eight houses are being built in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape, as well as Lesotho. Phumo said the far-flung locations, selected by the widows, were one of the reasons for the delayed construction, in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for consultation. In some areas such as Mpumalanga, Sibanye has had to get municipal approval to build the houses. Phumo said she expected the houses to be completed by the end of 2022, but could not provide a definite date.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Anathi Madubela at Mail & Guardian (subscriber access only)

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Marikana: The Musical returns for 10th anniversary of massacre, at SowetanLive
  • Court says talks about compensation for Marikana massacre victims proceeding smoothly, at Pretoria News


COST OF LIVING

Despite the fuel levy relief ending, petrol price reduces somewhat in August

Moneyweb reports that embattled consumers will get some relief at the pumps from Wednesday. The price of petrol (93 and 95 ULP and LRP) will drop by R1.32 per litre, 0.05% sulphur diesel by R0.88/l and 0.005% sulphur diesel by R0.91/l.   Illuminating paraffin (wholesale) will decrease by R1.44/l and SMNRP for IP by R1.92. However, the maximum LPGas retail price will increase by R0.57.   Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe said the main reasons for the fuel price adjustments were due to the average Brent Crude oil price decreasing from $115.77 per barrel to $105 during the period under review, lower crude oil demand due to recession concerns and Covid-19 resurging in China and OPEC and non-OPEC members deciding to increase oil production. The minister reminded consumers that the temporary reduction (R0.75) in the general fuel levy came to an end on 2 August 2022. A R1.50 reduction in the fuel levy was implemented in April and May, then trimmed to 75 cents from 6 July. As a result, the fuel levy will amount to R3.94/l for petrol and R3.80/l for diesel.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Eleanor Becker at Moneyweb. Read too, August’s fuel price decrease brings slight relief but pressure still expected to be felt, at Cape Argus

Absa’s third-quarter economic outlook foresees food inflation peaking in November

Engineering News reports that Absa Corporate and Investment Banking in its 'South Africa Third Quarter 2022 Quarterly Perspectives', says it expects food inflation to rise from 8.6% to a peak of 11.5% in November, before falling back to 4.8% by the end of 2023. "We have seen sharp increases in food price inflation, but crop prices have started to ease, which is an encouraging sign. However, owing to a bit of lag, in the near term, food price inflation will push higher than what it currently is," Absa economist Miyelani Maluleke explained last week. The bank expects headline CPI inflation to peak at a lower level compared with many advanced and developing economies, at 7.9% year-on-year in October. It is then expected to track sideways into the first quarter of 2023, before softening to end 2023 at 4.7%. Higher consumer inflation has sparked higher inflation expectations and strengthened workers’ wage demands, but Absa does not expect a wage-price spiral in SA, given the weakness of labour markets in general. “Bringing inflation expectations back to the 4.5% handle will require the SARB to tighten monetary policy more. We expect to see more hikes of about 75 basis points during the September and November meetings and we have pencilled in a further 50 basis points of hikes to take the repo rate to 7.5%,” said Maluleke.

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

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Under Pressure: Retail worker’s R6,000 salary not enough, at IOL
  • Increase in tariff for imported tyres will protect jobs, claim producers, but importers say it will hurt consumers who are already under pressure, at News24


OTHER HEADLINES / ARTICLES OF INTEREST

  • World Ranger Day honours guardians of the wilderness, at Cape Argus
  • Slegs drie dae oor vir terugvoer oor gesondheidsregulasies, by Maroela Media
  • ConCourt closes door on foreign nationals being admitted as lawyers, at EWN
  • Soveel as 90% minder polisiereserviste as dekade gelede, by Maroela Media
  • ‘I can now pay my child’s overdue school fees’ -- Relieved Denel workers jump for joy as wages finally paid, at Weekend Argus
  • People living on Cape Town's central train line could soon be relocated, at EWN
  • SIU guns for ex-Transnet execs’ luxury properties and other assets, at City Press (subscriber access only)
  • Calls for public comment on revised fraud prevention, whistle-blowing policies, at Cape Argus
  • KZN onnie wat glo verkrag se verhoor op hande, by Maroela Media
  • Bella Vista teacher removed over allegations of hitting pupils with plank, at Cape Times

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page