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 roundup of weekend and recent reports,
see summaries of our selection of South African
labour-related stories that recently appeared.


TOP STORY – TRUCKERS’ SHUTDOWN SUSPENDED

Truck drivers forum confirms planned national shutdown planned for Monday temporarily suspended

EWN reports that the All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied South Africa (ATDF-ASA) has confirmed that a planned national shutdown has been temporarily suspended. Massive traffic disruptions were expected on Monday morning, after the forum threatened to take over major routes. The organisation accused the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) of ignoring unfair labour practices in the freight industry, including the hiring of foreign nationals. ATDF-ASA national secretary Gugu Sokhela said they decided to suspend the shutdown following a meeting with the department. “We have had some commitments from those two departments, which is Home Affairs and the Department of Labour. There is a plan from today [Monday] that will be put into place, so we have temporarily suspended.” However, the chairperson of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints), Tebello Mosikili, said police would remain on high alert to prevent any disruptions. “Law enforcement agencies are on high alert to ensure there are no criminal activities and that law-abiding citizens are not inconvenienced in any way. We call on the road freight industry workers to communicate their grievances within the confines of the law,” he indicated.

Read the original of the short report in the above regard by Gloria Motsoere at EWN

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • SADC Drivers Association warns of retaliation if foreign drivers are attacked, at News24


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY

'We are devastated by this tragedy,' says Sea Harvest as search for 11 fishermen continues

News24 reports that Sea Harvest, the company that owns the fishing trawler which sank 34 nautical miles (nearly 63km) off the coast of Hout Bay, says it is devastated by the incident. The fishermen went missing after the fishing vessel, FV Lepanto, sank on Friday at around 15:34. Sea Harvest Group's chief operating officer, Konrad Geldenhuys, indicated:   "Firstly, we would like to emphasise that keeping our staff safe at sea is our key priority. We are devastated by this tragedy and are working closely with the relevant authorities, primarily the South African Maritime Safety Authority [Samsa], to establish the cause of the accident as soon as possible. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the missing men. We have been in ongoing contact with the affected families and have offered counselling and other support to them and our rescued crewmen during this painful and sad time."   According to the Samsa's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), they received a distress call to notify them of the vessel rapidly sinking, west of Slangkop Lighthouse. Nearby fishing vessels responded to the mayday call and proceeded to the scene. Nine crewmen were rescued from a life raft and brought to shore unharmed, leaving 11 others unaccounted for. The MRCC Cape Town is coordinating the search and rescue operation.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Cebelihle Mthethwa at News24

With rescue & recovery operations concluded, George building collapse site officially a crime scene

EWN reports that the site of the collapsed building in George is now officially a crime scene after it was handed over to police and the labour department for investigations. Rescue and recovery operations concluded on Friday, with all 62 workers accounted for. Thirty-three deaths have been confirmed since the five-storey apartment block, which was under construction, collapsed on 6 May. Ten people remain hospitalised. Authorities on Friday revised the number of people believed to have been on site from 81 to 62. The George Municipality's Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe explained: "We found that some of the names on the contractor's list were duplicated. Official investigations by SAPS confirmed that some of those on the contractor's list were not at work on the day of the incident. CCTV clearly proved that some of those on the site left before the first responders reached the site and to date they have never reported their whereabouts." The Western Cape's police commissioner said that a team of experienced detectives had been assigned to the case. Once police have concluded their investigation, the site will be handed to the labour department for its own probe.

Read the original of the report in the above regard by Ntuthuzelo Nene at EWN. Read too, George building collapse: Rescue operation concludes with 62 confirmed on-site, at The Citizen. And also, Two bodies recovered from George building collapse still to be identified, at EWN

'I will never, ever go back to a construction site,' vows plasterer who survived George building collapse

News24 reports that Armando Xhosa was trapped under two slabs of concrete for around 20 hours after the collapse of the building in George. He is one of the 29 people who survived the incident. Thirty-three others died. Xhosa, from Mozambique, worked as a plasterer at the site. He had been tasked with plastering the floor and was busy working on the third floor just after 14:00 on Monday, 6 May, when the building collapsed. "I had just answered my phone, and I didn't see what happened. Suddenly, the slabs of concrete were going down. I tried to run to the sliding door, but the building collapsed," recalled Xhosa. He was buried under the rubble until rescue workers freed him on Tuesday at around 10:00. Xhosa made it out with minimal injuries, including grazes on his face and hands, which he attributes to the fact that he was wearing a hard hat. The 25-year-old said he would be returning to Mozambique in the coming days, where his wife and child were anxiously awaiting his return. "I will never, ever go back to a construction site. I'm shaking thinking about it. I don't trust them," he said. Pulling a large number of survivors from underneath the rubble was what set this rescue operation apart from most others, said Colin Deiner, the chief director of Western Cape Disaster Management. He said there was no norm or average for how many people were usually pulled out alive from a structural collapse site, but rescue workers were highly successful in the George disaster. "What helped was the fact that everyone was a construction worker and that it was still a construction site. They were in good health, wearing helmets, and they probably realised they should get into an area where they could be safe,” he indicated.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nicole McCain at News24

One worker found alive, as four die in Ballito embankment collapse on Saturday

IOL News reports that one of the five construction workers who trapped under tons of sand, following an embankment collapse in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, was found alive. IPPS Medical Rescue Services spokesperson Samantha Meyrick confirmed that four of the workers were found deceased after the collapse on Saturday morning. “The fifth victim has been found alive and he’s currently under the care of the IPPS medical advance life support, his condition at this time is unknown,” she indicated. Earlier, Meyrick said they had to stop the rescue mission after they had recovered three bodies due to multiple collapses of the embankment. The eThekwini Fire Department was called to assist with suitable equipment to recovery the trapped workers. Meyrick said a tractor loader backerhoe (TLB) was brought on the scene and it was used to slowly excavate the site. She said this process had been slow, due to the high risk on the steeply-sloped site.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sinenhlanhla Masilela at IOL News

Two social development department staffers hijacked in two days in Khayelitsha in Cape Town

News24 reports that two Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) staff members were attacked a day apart in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, last week. In the first incident, a community development worker was hijacked and shot and wounded while on duty on Wednesday. According to a police report, the 56-year-old male victim was driving when unknown gunmen forced him to stop his vehicle. The gunmen forcefully removed the victim from his vehicle, shot him and fled the scene, taking the light Toyota delivery vehicle.   The staffer has since been discharged from hospital. In the second incident on Thursday morning, a social worker was hijacked on her way to the Khayelitsha office. MEC Sharna Fernandez said the department had arranged counselling for both affected staff members. She reported that since the start of this year, there have been five reported attacks on DSD staff in hotspot areas, including Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, and Nyanga.   Fernandez added: "In order to protect our staff, they have been informed that they should avoid going into these areas at night in government vehicles, unless accompanied by a police escort. The department has taken several steps to protect its staff with vehicle types that are in demand by hijackers swapped out for other vehicle types deemed a lower risk." But Fernandez warned that even those cars were becoming a target.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mothushi Thoka at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Faking sick notes in South Africa – you’re committing fraud, at BusinessTech


INDUSTRIAL ACTION

Looming cash-in-transit strike over adding third person to teams transporting money threatens to leave ATMs empty

The Citizen reports that a strike in the cash-in-transit (CIT) sector could see SA’s automated teller machines running dry.   That’s the prospect if the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) grants the Motor Transport Workers Union (MTWU) a picketing certificate to embark on a protected strike. At the core of the planned industrial action is a call by the MTWU for the employers’ association in the freight sector to accede to a demand to add a third employee to CIT teams transporting money. MTWU national organiser Musa Tshabalala said the safety of employees transporting money was “paramount” and added: “The workers’ lives have long been endangered by the fact that in any CIT van, there are only two people, making them an easy target for criminals. We demand a third person be employed as a backup, due to our members being killed daily.” He said strike action was a “last resort”. The union, an affiliate of the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa), said it intended serving a 48-hour notice on the CIT-affiliated companies’ employers association of MTWU’s intention to embark on the protected strike. The Road Freight Association (RFA), representing employers, conceded that the safety of CIT employees was important. “Safety of employees is paramount and not negotiable. We agree on the addition of a third man,” said RFA labour relations officer Dave Behrens.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Brian Sokutu at The Citizen

Public order police roped in to protect Pikitup depots from protesting casual workers

EWN reports that Johannesburg refuse collection company, Pikitup, last week roped in additional support to protect its depots from protesting workers. Public order police were deployed to remove protesters obstructing some of its depots.   Contract workers embarked on a demonstration last week, blocking entrances to the Norwood, Selby, Marlboro, Randburg, Diepsloot, Midrand, and Roodepoort depots. They were demanding permanent employment at the waste management company. Pikitup spokesperson, Muzi Mkhwanazi, said that despite the police deployment, the company remained committed to engaging with workers to find an amicable solution. "It is important to clarify that the current protest action is not a strike by Pikitup's employees but by casual workers. This means that members of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), the recognised unions within the organisation, are not on strike," Mkhwanazi advised.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Mbali Dhlamini at EWN


MINING PROTEST

Community protest shuts down Glencore's Rhovan vanadium operations in Rustenburg

Fin24 reports that Glencore Ferroalloys' Rhovan operations have been shuttered as a result of community unrest, which has dragged on for two weeks with no end in sight. The resources group said protesters in Bethanie were blocking access roads leading to the Rustenburg operation – an open-cast mine and smelter complex producing mainly vanadium alloys – which has been closed since 29 April as a consequence. According to Glencore, it has engaged with various provincial and local governments, unions, the regulator, and community representatives. "The company has also obtained a court order against the protestors that directs the South African Police Service to prevent criminal conduct being perpetrated on the roads to the Rhovan operations. This has to date not resulted in the removal of the protesters," the company said. Glencore is the majority shareholder in the Rhovan-Bakwena Vanadium Venture, while its minority partner, with a 26% stake, is the Bakwena-ba-Mogopa community.   The company said it would engage with representatives of the protesters once they have dispersed, the roads reopened, and the operations resumed. According to a Glencore spokesperson, the grievances behind the protest action remained varied and unclear. But the Bakwena-Ba-Mogopa Community Development Foundation said a list of six grievances had been clearly written down in a memorandum that was submitted on 30 April by the tribal authority to Glencore representatives in SA and in Switzerland. A key issue is apparently the lack of job opportunities for the youth. The other grievances relate to local economic development as well as the thorny issue of a community trust, which has been the subject of a long-run dispute.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lisa Steyn at Fin24

Other general posting(s) relating to mining

  • South Africa slipping to among least-favoured mining jurisdictions, at Business Times (subscriber access only)
  • Despite challenges, new mines are being built in SA and elsewhere in Africa, at Business Times (subscriber access only)


TOP CEO APPOINTMENT

‘We won't be the same company in five years', says Prosus and Naspers and as group eyes AI revolution and picks engineer as new CEO

Fin24 reports that Africa's most valuable group of companies, Naspers and Prosus, has chosen a new CEO who started out in engineering. The group indicated on Friday that after an extensive search, it concluded it would need to grapple in coming years with the game-changing effects of artificial intelligence (AI) that would likely radically transform it within the next few years. The group, whose interests span fintech, food delivery, education and classifieds, announced the appointment of iFood CEO Fabricio Bloisi as group CEO from July.   The move surprised some analysts, who expressed concern over his lack of merger and acquisition experience as he looks to lead a growth-hungry group with a collective value of R2.6 trillion on the JSE. Group chair Koos Bekker reported on Friday that the pick came after an extensive search, with some 60 candidates seriously considered, and with interviews on most continents. "We realised immediately it's going to be an important decision. The last 40 years Naspers had only three chief executives, and if you get it wrong, it's pretty hard and expensive to change," he noted. Bekker said the group's positioning had changed since the advent of the internet, when it lacked assets and needed to acquire them.   Focus has shifted more towards actively managing the many high-quality interests it already has, as well as innovating in a rapidly changing world. "We won't be the same company five years from now, there's no chance, the technological switch is too huge," Bekker said.   Brazilian-born Bloisi, 46, holds a degree in computer science from the State University of Campinas in São Paulo, and an MBA from Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Karl Gernetzky at Fin24. See too, Fabricio Bloisi appointed CEO of Naspers and Prosus, at BusinessLive


EMPLOYMENT EQUITY

Businesses avoid employing disabled people, Disabled People SA laments

The Citizen reports that as SA commemorates Workers’ Month, Disabled People SA (DPSA) said it had nothing to celebrate as most of its members were unemployed. DPSA national chair Patrick Mahlakoane indicated on Friday that after taking a leadership position in the organisation he had witnessed the private and public sector intentionally avoiding employing disabled people. He stated: “On several occasions government departments, which I cannot name, contacted me to assist them locate disabled people with qualifications to fill some vacancies. I mobilised the potential employees and submitted their profiles but nothing happened. We even created a database and submitted it to many companies and nobody was employed.”   He went on to lament: “To be honest with you, most of our people no longer apply for jobs because they know very well that they will not be employed. Mahlakoane aded: “I was so shocked when the government said 7% of the country’s workforce should be disabled persons. How can they increase the percentage while they are still failing to meet the initial 2%?” A well-known disability activist, Dolfred Sihlangu, said he was aware companies were not willing to employ disabled people. “We are not being taken seriously by employers. Advertisements state that people with disabilities are welcome to apply for the vacancy, but those people are rarely employed,” said Sihlangu. What made his blood boil was the fact that the authorities were not doing enough to solve the problem. Teboho Thejane of the Department of Employment and Labour encouraged disabled people to report unfair treatment.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Masoka Dube at The Citizen


NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

Ramaphosa 'open' to more talks on NHI implementation

Sunday Times reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s signing of the National Insurance (NHI) bill last week blindsided top business leaders who were shocked by the move and its timing, less than two weeks before the 29 May general elections. Representatives of big business who have close ties with the President said they were under the impression that Ramaphosa would not sign the bill until their concerns had been met. They said they had gained that impression after meetings held in the days and weeks before the ceremonial signing on Wednesday of the legislation intended to introduce free universal health care for all South Africans.   On Saturday, Ramaphosa struck a conciliatory tone, indicating that the phasing-in of NHI would be a consultative process in which big business could raise its concerns. Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said Ramaphosa was “giving thought to a mechanism that will allow for more engagement and collaboration with business, labour and other social partners.”   Meantime, Solidarity has said that it would be going to court over the legislation. The trade union’s economic researcher Theuns du Buisson estimated that the government would need at least R600bn to fully fund two health care systems, private and public, as things now stood. “The R600bn is the bare minimum just to fund to fund the current system where certain barriers are still in place preventing people from accessing private health care. We then subtract the health budget from that, so they would need to come up with R300bn, which is a massive amount of money,” he pointed out.   He estimated that going the VAT route to raise funds could involve a hike from 15% to 22%.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Sibongakonke Shoba, Caiphus Kgosana & Kgothatso Madisa at Sunday Times (subscriber access only). Read too, NHI implementation will not collapse the state, says Presidency, pleading for 'collaboration', at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Critical healthcare specialist shortages in SA could worsen with NHI, medical bodies warn, at News24


OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST

  • New hate speech laws in South Africa – what employers need to know, at BusinessTech
  • Prasa has failed to fix East Rand train stations which from Boksburg to Springs remain in ruins, at Moneyweb

 


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