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 South African
labour-related reports.


RAF STRIKE INTERDICTED

Road Accident Fund obtains interdict to stop unprotected Numsa strike on Thursday

Moneyweb reports that the Road Accident Fund (RAF) has been granted an interdict by the Labour Court against the planned strike on Thursday by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) at the fund’s offices. The strike in support of Numsa’s demands and grievances was further been declared unprotected in terms of the Labour Relations Act. In terms of the order obtained by the RAF on Wednesday, Numsa was interdicted and restrained from inciting, encouraging, participating in or otherwise acting in furtherance of the strike action in relation to its demands and/or grievances. The RAF said late on Wednesday that the strike was unprotected and unlawful, and it would exercise its rights against anyone who participated in the unlawful strike. The fund applied for the interdict following Numsa launching a scathing attack on RAF CEO Collins Letsoalo and giving the fund 48-hour notice of a strike at the RAF offices because of the continuous mismanagement of the entity.   McIntosh Polela, head of corporate communications at the RAF, indicated: “An attack on the CEO is unfortunate and unwarranted. The RAF is not a one-man show, it’s an organisation. It is therefore disingenuous to attack one person, Collins Letsoalo.” Numsa’s Irvin Jim previously said the union was mobilising its members for a shutdown of all RAF offices on Thursday and, on that day, would also march to the offices of the National Department of Transport in Pretoria to hand over a memorandum of demands to Minister of Transport listing all the problems at the fund. Numsa listed six issues that it said had triggered the threat of a strike:

Read the full original of the full report in the above regard by Roy Cokayne at Moneyweb

Other internet posting(s) about strikes


ETHEKWINI STRIKE

One dead, two attempted murders, 88 fired in eThekwini's illegal strike

TimesLIVE reports that eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has indicated that police were investigating the death of a municipal worker and the attempted murder of two others during two weeks of unprotected protest action in Durban. Speaking at a briefing, Kaunda reassured ratepayers that the end of the strike which has caused havoc in Durban was imminent, as the majority of striking SA Municipal Workers' Union members returned to work on Monday. “As of yesterday, we have started to see the majority of employees returning to work, particularly at the engineering, electricity and water and sanitation units. We are confident that today [Wednesday] the number has increased which gives us hope that the service delivery challenges we have been facing will now be resolved,” Kaunda said. He extended the City’s condolences to the family of a cemetery supervisor, whom he named as Ms Kunene, who died in Umlazi at the weekend. Kunene was beaten and succumbed to her injuries. He also reported that 81 employees had been placed on precautionary suspension for misconduct, 1,891 had been issued with misconduct notices and 88 had been dismissed. Thirteen union members who were arrested for public violence and tampering, damaging, or destroying essential infrastructure, where they allegedly blocked the road with rocks and rubbish and burnt tyres and bins in Springfield Park on March 4, were granted R2,000 bail in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. Kaunda said 18,000 volunteers would be deployed to clean the areas worst affected by the strike.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mfundo Mkhize at TimesLIVE

eThekwini strike part of a political agenda, claims business

Moneyweb reports that business leaders in eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal view the unprotected and unlawful strike of municipal workers as politically motivated and a deliberate attempt to undermine and discredit the public-private partnerships between city management, provincial leadership, and private business. “This is not a strike initiated by workers. There’s a political agenda, and the people are in cahoots with the criminal element,” said Andrzej Kiepiela of the KZN Growth Coalition. The illegal strike started on 27 February after a meeting between workers affiliated with the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the city administration could not reach an agreement on a wage dispute. The city’s ultimatum for the striking workers to return to work has not been fully heeded. Briefing the media on Wednesday, Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said most workers returned to work on Tuesday and the city was confident that the number would steadily increase. The strike has brought service delivery in large parts of eThekwini to a standstill, particularly solid waste removal, with widespread water and electricity outages due to sabotage and maintenance backlogs caused by the stayaway. The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a statement it was concerned about the negative message the strike sent to both local and international tourists. Independent development economist Glen Robbins noted that eThekwini’s municipal leadership was slow to respond, even though it had eventually come out to firmly condemn the strike action. “This municipality has been beset by these unprocedural [strike] actions for a number of years. Previously, the municipality has shown that it is open to striking deals with unprocedural action, so there is a sense that the possibility exists that the workers could get their demands met, he commented.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Liesl Peyper at Moneyweb


NMU WAGE INCREASE MARCH

Nelson Mandela University workers march for 8% salary increase

GroundUp reports that about 200 employees of Nelson Mandela University (NMU) protested outside the university on Wednesday, demanding a salary increase. The singing workers marched from Kings Beach, led by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu). They demanded an 8% salary increase, better housing allowances, medical scheme benefits and equality between black and white staff members.   The protest was supported by Cosatu, the SA National Civics Organisation, the SA Students Congress and the SA Communist Party. Protesters, who included cleaners, caterers, clerks and supervisors, said they wanted answers within 30 days. According to Nehawu regional secretary Samkelo Msila, black employees were paid the minimum and employees of other races the maximum for the job.   The protesters dispersed after their memorandum was accepted by Lesiba Ramoroka, director of employee relations at the university, who promised to give it to the relevant people.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Thamsanqa Mbovane at GroundUp


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

'Construction mafia' extortionists threaten City of Cape Town staff, demand protection fees

News24 reports that according to the City of Cape Town’s MMC for Urban Waste Management, Grant Twigg, groups of "construction mafia" extortionists are targeting City officials in the urban waste directorate. "It has come to my attention that there have been incidents where opportunists have gone to solid waste refuse collection staff to try and threaten them, and [they have] also threatened our contractor, demanding protection money," he reported. Twigg said there had been reports of threats of extortion, which aimed to hinder the waste collection service in the Atlantis area. He added that the City was monitoring waste collection in the area and had been engaging with security services.   "We had an incident where three or four men came to our sub-council offices and our depot, demanding payment for the work that was being done in Atlantis by our staff and our contractors... our sub-council manager took the matter to SAPS," he reported. Twigg added that various incidents had also occurred in other parts of the metro.   Violent crime as well as extortion groups which have demanded fees have forced some cleaning companies contracted by the City to withdraw their services in some areas.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Marvin Charles at News24


SEX WORKER MURDERS

Sifiso Mkhwanazi found guilty of murdering six sex workers, found to have acted with ‘premeditation and planning’

News24 reports that Sifiso Mkhwanazi has been found guilty of murdering six Johannesburg sex workers.   Judge Cassim Moosa delivered a scathing account of the 21-year-old’s actions: "I rejected the version of the accused… as beyond false and found that the accused had acted with premeditation and planning and had formed an intention to kill the deceased." He handed down judgment on Tuesday in front of a packed gallery, that included the victims' families, in the Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge. Mkhwanzi was stoic and emotionless through the judgment, keeping his head down.   The judge said that after analysing all of the evidence, he had found that Mkhwanazi "did unlawfully have sexual intercourse with all the deceased". He found further that the the accused “did unlawfully and intentionally defeat and obstruct the course of justice by concealing the bodies of the deceased, and which acts defeated and or obstructed the administration of justice." Moosa ordered that Mkhwanazi be taken for mental evaluation before sentencing was delivered. That is not expected to affect his conviction, but could influence his sentencing.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Ntwaagae Seleka & Iviwe Mzandisi at News24


LABOUR AND POLITICS

Cosatu rejects ‘anti-worker’ DA bill that would ‘violate’ public sector bargaining rights

BL Premium reports that Cosatu has vehemently rejected a DA private member’s bill proposing the introduction of a fiscal rule as being a “flawed and unashamedly anti-worker” measure that would violate the collective bargaining rights of public sector employees guaranteed by the constitution. The labour federation has called on parliament to reject it. In terms of the Responsible Spending Bill introduced by the DA’s Dion George, public sector wages (excluding those under the occupation specific dispensation) would be frozen or decreased depending on the level of net loan debt. The bill proposes the adoption of a fiscal rule on government spending. The Treasury is working on its own fiscal anchor, which at the moment aims for a primary budget surplus as a debt stabilisation measure. George’s bill aims to promote responsible spending by obligating SA to reduce its debt levels and its exposure to debt. The proposed rule would tie the level of government current consumption expenditure to GDP growth so that where there was negative or no growth, this expenditure must not exceed that of the previous year. Cosatu’s Matthew Parks criticised the bill in a presentation during public hearings. “The objective of tackling national debt is correct but its proposals to do that by dumping the bill on nurses and police officers are shameful and would collapse public services,” he argued. Parks added: “The bill seeks to collapse collective bargaining by compelling the state to impose brutal wage cuts upon public servants for the foreseeable future.”

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


SAA

SAA’s R3bn deal with Takatso falls apart, leaving the airline’s fate up in the air

BL Premium reports that Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced that SAA’s deal with strategic equity partner Takatso has been terminated, in a setback to one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s biggest privatisation drives amid pushback from some in the governing ANC party. “Late last week there was agreement that by mutual consent this transaction should be terminated as there is no clear path forward,” Gordhan said after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. He said that in a post-Covid market, a new valuation on the national carrier’s worth was made and this overshot Takatso’s original R3bn offer. The deal was signed two years ago. The latest development raises questions about the fate of SAA, which tumbled into business rescue in 2019 after years of losses. The withdrawal of Takatso takes away a partner that would have injected R3bn cash over three years to fund its operations in exchange for a 51% stake. Gordhan made it clear on Wednesday that there would be no further bailout for SAA from the national fiscus. Like most state-owned companies, SAA — cited as one of the primary sites of state capture — has been a drain on the fiscus, surviving on billions of rand in government bailouts until 2019 when it collapsed into the arms of business rescue practitioners. Uncertainty over the fate of SAA could compound the shortage of alternatives, especially on domestic routes.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Hajra Omarjee at BusinessLive (subscriber access only). Lees ook, SAL-transaksie van die baan, by Maroela Media


JOBURG’S WATER CRISIS

Job losses likely if Joburg’s dry spell continues, business warns

SowetanLive writes that another week of the water crisis that has gripped Johannesburg could result in businesses shutting down and people losing their jobs. This was the view of the business sector as large parts of the city were in their second week of no water supply while others were still recovering slowly. The problem extended to the Vaal, while Ekurhuleni and Tshwane have raised concerns over high water usage due to the current heat wave. “Businesses make provisions in time, but if it [water crisis] continues it will have a negative impact on the economy. If businesses don’t generate income they tend to let people go and they also don’t want to suffer financially. This means that more people will lose their jobs and businesses will be forced to shut down," said Dennis Pretorius, CEO of the Chamber of Business in the West Rand on Wednesday. He said they had received several complaints from their members who were now using their profit to stock up on water as the municipality was unable to supply water, and the water tanks they provided were not enough.   Bernadette Zeiler from Johannesburg Business Chamber pointed out:   “Some businesses are affected in a bad way, some are forced to close as they don’t have water and others operate half-day.” She went on to say: “Water is essential, businesses need water to operate and if the water crisis continues further the economy of the country will be negatively impacted.   Johannesburg plays a major role in the country’s economy, so if more businesses close due to the water crises, the economy will be negatively impacted.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Koena Mashale & Herman Moloi at SowetanLive


DISTRESS GRANT INCREASED

Finance Minister announces increase in relief of distress grant to R370 per month from 1 April

BL Premium reports that the Covid-19 social relief of distress grant will be raised by R20, or 5.7%, to R370 from 1 April, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced in the National Assembly on Wednesday. About 9-million people receive the grant, which the ANC has used as a strong point in its favour in its electioneering in the run-up to the 29 May general elections. No announcement of an increase was made in the budget that Godongwana presented to parliament at the end of February. The R33.6bn allocation for 2024/25 for the grant was a decrease from the R36bn allocated in 2023/24. Concluding a debate on the fiscal framework, Godongwana said social development minister Lindiwe Zulu would publish a comprehensive social security programme for comment, which would define a better future for the social security net in SA. She would also publish regulations announcing the increase in the grant.   President Cyril Ramaphosa had announced in his state of the nation address that the social relief of distress grant would continue and be increased. The increase is unlikely to satisfy civil society organisations, which have called for the social relief of distress grant to be increased to the food poverty line of R760 a month pending the introduction of a universal basic income grant.

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


PENSION PAYOUT STORM

Following social media storm, Old Mutual SA reaches agreement on R3-million pension payout

The Star reports that even though Old Mutual SA has finally come to an arrangement in settling the payment of a R3-million pension payment of an irate family, customers are said to remain wary of continuing to support the financial services company. The insurer came under fire on social media after Sebabatso Molefi expressed her frustration on X and blasted the company for stalling in paying out her mother’s R3m pension investment even after securing a court order on 14 December 2023. Following a meeting between Old Mutual, Molefi and her mother’s legal representative on Tuesday, the insurer announced that they had had a positive engagement. Celiwe Ross, spokesperson for Old Mutual SA, thanked the family for making the time to meet the representatives and apologised for the way the issue had been handled. “The sheer number of customers that have voiced their unhappiness on X with regards to our levels of service is of huge concern to us. We apologise unreservedly to all customers who have been unhappy with the service we have provided and we are continuously looking at ways to improve this,” the spokesperson added. Despite the positive update on the situation, some social media users remained adamant about ensuring that as many people as possible cancelled their investments with the insurer.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Goitsemang Matlhabe at The Star

Other internet posting(s) in this news catery

  • SA's new two-pot retirement system (and why it's really three pots), at Fin24


COMMUTING / TRANSPORT

Commuter shot dead, two others injured in attack on bus in KZN on Wednesday

News24 reports that a commuter was killed and two others injured after gunmen opened fire on a bus in Newlands West Drive, north of Durban, on Wednesday ALS Paramedics spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said three gunmen shot at the bus around 17:30, hitting two men and a woman. "One of the men had been rushed privately to the hospital before the paramedics' arrival. One female believed to be in her 50s had sustained fatal gunshot wounds. There was nothing paramedics could do for her, and she was declared deceased on scene," said Jamieson. A man in his 50s sustained injuries to his back and received treatment before hospitalisation. "At this stage, the events leading up to the shooting are unknown. However, SAPS was in attendance and will be investigating further," Jamieson said.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Cebelihle Bhengu at News24

 


Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page