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.


Numsa to start indefinite wages strike at Gautrain on Monday

BusinessLive reports that Gautrain services will be hit by a strike starting on Monday when disgruntled members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) abandon their posts and strike to push for wage hikes. But Gautrain has assured passengers that services will not be disrupted by the strike.   Numsa gave the management of Bombela Operating Company, which operates Gautrain, a 48-hour strike notice.   Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said on Sunday the strike was scheduled to start at 6am on Monday and went on to say: “We are warning commuters that the services may be interrupted ... We apologise for the inconvenience. However, we have been forced into taking this drastic course of action.” In July 2023, Numsa signed a one-year wage deal, which expired last month.   Numsa’s primary demands include a 13% wage increase for all employees. The union is also demanding that Bombela cover 60% of employees’ medical aid costs and increase the housing allowance to R2,000 a month. Hlubi-Majola said wage talks began on 17 April “and we have had two rounds of talks. Our last meeting was on June 11, which is when we deadlocked with the employer. We are the majority union with sole negotiating power at Gautrain.   The bosses refuse to meet our demands and this has led to workers resorting to strike action. It is an indefinite strike until the demands are met.”   The union accused Bombela of treating workers unequally: “The bosses rewarded themselves and office workers with R22,000 each as a bonus, but blue-collar workers are denied a guaranteed bonus. They have an incentive bonus which requires that the applicant must first qualify in order to be paid.”

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Luyolo Mkentane at BusinessLive. Read too, ‘Gautrain services will not be disrupted by Numsa indefinite strike’, at The Citizen

Labour Court interdicts Numsa strike at Ford, employees expected back at work on Monday

The Citizen reports that the Labour Court (LC) in Johannesburg has ruled in favour of Ford South Africa (Ford SA), forcing striking workers affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) to go back to work. Numsa downed tools at Ford SA on Thursday (4 July) following failed negotiation talks on bonuses. Ford SA approached the LC on an urgent basis to interdict the strike by Numsa members on Thursday. The court delivered its order on Friday, the second day of the strike at Ford SA in Pretoria, and ordered the workers to halt the strike and return to work. Numsa’s Vivani Shezi said it would be impossible for workers to return to work immediately, as the court order was granted after the strike had commenced.   He indicated: “We comply with the law, if the court has ordered we return to work, so be it”. Shezi added that the employer understood and agreed that workers could return to work on Monday. The parties will return to court on 28 August 2024. Numsa’s legal team has apparently been instructed that if the outcome of the case does not favour them, the court’s order will be appealed.   Shezi also indicated that they would continue to talk to Ford. Last Wednesday, Numsa’s Irvin Jim said they decided to take it to the streets because Ford had gone mum on whether employees would receive bonuses or not.   Numsa and Ford’s management met at the CCMA on 11 June 2024 to discuss a way forward, however, no agreement was reached. The organisation then decided to issue a strike notice to the company.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Tshehla Cornelius Koteli at The Citizen. Read too, Court interdicts Numsa strike at Ford over bonuses, at Na'ilah Ebrahim at Fin24

DUT workers to take to the streets this week as university plans to retrench approximately 152 staffers

News24 reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) is gearing up for a strike amid talks of looming retrenchments at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). The union's Ayanda Zulu indicated on Friday that they were informed towards the end of last year, via a letter, that DUT had implemented a restructuring process for operational purposes. Zulu said they believed the university was using the process to purge certain workers. In May, the university sent another letter, which stated that the university had asked the CCMA to assist with the implementation of the Section 189 process or retrenchments. "There are approximately 152 positions likely to be affected as a result of this proposed restructuring exercise during Phase1 of this process," the letter states. According to Zulu, all categories of workers, including teaching staff, were going to be affected. The university anticipates that its consultations with trade unions and other stakeholders will be finalised by 30 July 2024. Zulu said that, in addition to protest action, Nehawu would approach the university council "to try to halt these unreasonable retrenchments".   He added: "Should the council fail to resolve this impasse, the national union will approach the minister of higher education and training to seek an audience with her on the state of the university, and the urgent need to rescue the university." The university indicated that its final determination on retrenchments would be made at the end of its consultations. However, Nehawu said DUT was "merely being diplomatic" and had "already made its decision". The union said its protest action would commence this week.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Nkosikhona Duma at News24


Four SANDF members found dead in North West, carbon monoxide poisoning suspected

News24 reports that four members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) have died due to suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after they allegedly made a fire to keep them warm during a freezing Friday night in Orkney, North West. The four soldiers had been deployed on a 24-hour shift at Shaft 3, a dormant mining shaft in Orkney, near the disused Harry Oppenheimer Stadium, which has been a hot spot for illegal mining. According to SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini, the members were found on Saturday morning during a shift change inside a container structure which was used as a guard house for those on 24-hour duty. Police were called to the scene, and found that all four were dead, with their rifles and personal items on them. The district surgeon examined the bodies, confirming no injuries.   "A team from the Pretoria Forensic Science Lab Chemistry Unit, also attended the scene and preliminary findings are that the death of the members could have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, from a possible fire made by the members during the cold night inside the container structure," Dlamini indicated.   The bodies of the deceased were transported to the Klerksdorp State mortuary for further investigation and post-mortem.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Cebelihle Mthethwa at News24. Read too, Four troops die in icy cold, carbon monoxide poisoning suspected, at BusinessLive

Survivors of George building collapse 'falling through the cracks'

George Herald reports that a seeming lack of a clear strategy to assist the survivors of the George building collapse on 6 May after their discharge from hospital has seemingly left them fending for themselves. In uncertain circumstances, they are trying to make sense of the traumatic experience and several are still healing from physical injury. Their plight was brought to Rotary's attention last week. “They were superbly managed in hospital, discharged into squalor in Thembalethu and are now destitute," Rotarian Donald Goldfain indicated. He went on to indicate: "Some received food parcels, some did not, some are partially registered at Labour and Department of Social Development (DSD) and some are not. They face eviction from their shacks because there is no income. No one has contacted them and in our opinion at least one needs medical care. These are amputees and people with broken limbs and some who are basically immobile and helpless. George and our community covered ourselves in glory in pulling these survivors out of the rubble and saving lives. The country applauded, but now they do not know who to turn to."   A meeting was called for 1 July at the DSD’s regional office and Garden Route Disaster Management, Labour, George Municipality, members of Rotary, a volunteer and DSD social workers were present.   Wouter Jacobs of Garden Route Disaster Management explained: "The purpose was to identify gaps in the humanitarian relief and psychosocial support system. One of the main challenges identified was that humanitarian relief was done in silos." He said it was discovered that the victims list that DSD was working on was incomplete, which might have resulted in victims or their next of kin falling through the cracks. It was agreed to create a consolidated disaster beneficiary list of all victims and survivors and their relatives. DSD was asked to conduct a needs assessment of these families, and make the necessary referrals to the various organisations.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Alida de Beer at George Herald


Mining analyst likens mining minister Gwede Mantashe to a virulent, incurable disease

Business Times writes that according to veteran mining analyst and director of mining at Modern Corporate Solutions, Peter Major, asking if the mining sector can survive another five years of Gwede Mantashe is like asking if someone can live five more years with pancreatic cancer.   “The thing is, pancreatic cancer is bad. Mantashe as the minister of mining is bad. I don’t see how [President Cyril Ramaphosa] could have found a worse guy to be mining minister. He’s had sufficient time to prove that nobody is blocking any kind of positive advancement in mining more than him,” Major remarked. He added that appointing a competent, fit-for-purpose minister of mineral resources could have been a game changer for the mining industry which, thanks largely to Mantashe, was struggling to survive. Mining is key to the country’s economic growth, but, according to Major, SA mining is a dying industry. A measure of how devastating the regulatory and policy regime has been for SA mining is that “we’ve been in a commodity price super-cycle since 2003 and yet our mining index is where it was 18 years ago.   We’ve closed many more mines every year than we’ve opened.” Under Mantashe’s watch, investment in mining has fallen to levels last seen in 1960, and SA is now rated among the 10 worst mining destinations in the world.   “We need big changes starting from the top if we’re going to reverse this disinvesting trend,” Major pointed out.   “It’s all just talk, talk, talk with Mantashe. He’s a talking master,” Major noted, adding that given Mantashe’s record, the country should not expect any “dramatic change” in his modus operandi in the next five years, and not much investment. In Major’s view, Mantashe’s reappointment is “a mortal blow” but not entirely unexpected. “The government is so used to demonising the mining industry it’s no surprise one of the worst-performing ministers has been kept in charge of its fate,” Major added.

Read the full original of Chris Barron’s interview with Peter Major at Business Times (subscriber access only)

Separation of energy and minerals portfolios broadly welcomed

Business Times writes that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to restructure the energy, electricity and mining portfolios has been broadly welcomed by analysts. The new configuration comes five years after the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy was established under Minister Gwede Mantashe. Last week, Ramaphosa reappointed Mantashe as the minister of mineral resources & petroleum but merged the energy part of his brief with Kgosientsho Ramokgopa’s electricity responsibility.   Ramokgopa was appointed minister in the Presidency responsible for electricity last year to arrest rolling power cuts as maintenance issues at Eskom’s ageing power station fleet threatened to shrink economic growth. The inclusion of energy into the electricity department will remove political interference, according to analyst Peter Attard Montalto. He said it was disappointing that Mantashe remained at the helm of minerals & petroleum. “It is obviously deeply disappointing that he is still in mining but clearly a consolation prize was needed. It will be interesting to see if people are more vocal against him now,” Montalto commented. Last week, the Minerals Council SA, which represents 80% of SA’s mining industry, said the separation of the mineral resources and energy portfolios was a plus for continuity. CEO Mzila Mthenjane expressed the hope that it “will allow minister Mantashe to focus on and give urgency to creating the right legislative environment to grow the mining industry by encouraging investments in exploration, new mine development and existing operations.”   According to analyst Patrick Leyden, stamping out illegal mining remains one of Mantashe’s priorities. “Not only does it result in a significant loss in revenue to the fiscus in terms of royalties and taxes that are not paid, but it also poses a significant problem to communities from a health and general crime and violence perspective,” he pointed out.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Dineo Faku at Business Times (subscriber access only)


Labour Registrar rejects registration application from teacher union affiliating itself to MK Party

News24 reports that the Labour Registrar at the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) has dealt a blow to the organisers of a formation that affiliates itself with former President Jacob Zuma's MK Party (MKP) by rejecting its application to be recognised as a labour organisation in the education sector. The Teachers and Education Workers Union of SA (Tewusa) fashions itself as a competitor and disruptor to Sadtu. MKP spokesperson Nhlamulo Ndhlela did not respond to a question about the union's link to the party. DEL spokesperson Petunia Lessing confirmed that an application for the registration of Tewusa was received by the Registrar's office on 11 April 2024.   It was rejected for registration on 20 May 2024. Lessing said: “The application for registration failed to meet the requirements of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).” Despite this, the union is apparently still contacting and convincing unemployed teachers to fill in membership forms. An email and phone calls to numbers listed for Tewusa went unanswered. Earlier this year, Tewusa had organisers in several districts in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, screenshots of WhatsApp conversations in the union's group indicate. The Tewusa WhatsApp group is still active, with teachers sharing vacancies and MKP-related commentary, news and, quite often, voice notes circulating fake news about adversary political characters.   Meanwhile, Sadtu spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said MKP politicians and aspiring trade unionists had been using her union's name to garner recognition.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Soyiso Maliti at News24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Will new GNU be mum on the perks of office? at IOL News


Two-pot retirement system: Expect delays in payments from the ‘savings pot’

Moneyweb writes that SA is eight weeks away from the most significant retirement reform in the country’s history when the ‘two-pot’ retirement system takes effect. Under the new system, a member’s contributions to a fund will be split into a savings component that is accessible once in a tax year, and a retirement component. For existing fund members, there will also be a third component, namely the vested component, containing the fund member’s contributions up to 31 August 2024.   The savings component will be initially seeded with the lower of 10% of the value of the retirement fund or R30,000 as at 31 August. From there on, two thirds of any new retirement savings will be preserved in the retirement component, which can only be accessed once a member reaches retirement age. Many South Africans have been eagerly awaiting the beginning of September to gain access to a portion of their retirement money in the savings pot.   But Old Mutual’s Michelle Acton cautioned: “Even though the legislation goes live on 1 September, it doesn’t mean funds may be able to pay out on that date as there are several steps that need to be implemented first. Fund administrators can only start doing the seeding calculations (for the savings pot) from 1 September onward.” The seeding calculation determines the initial amounts assigned to different components based on existing retirement savings. That process could take several working days to weeks, depending on the rules set by each retirement fund. Acton points out that the legislation does not stipulate a timeline for when the seeding calculations need to be finalised. “Some administrators might only know what the fund value is on 5 September, or in mid-October. That does not mean they don’t comply with the legislation.” Moreover, the claims process involves several steps (as outlined in the Moneyweb article).

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


'ANC likely to push for implementation of NHI in its present form'

Business Times reports that as the new cabinet gets to work, the ANC is likely to push for the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Act in its present form. This was indicated by Ethicore, a political lobbying company representing Momentum, at a thought leadership seminar last week. Expectations for the NHI under the government of national unity (GNU) were outlined at the annual seminar. Ethicore's MD, Wisahl Jappie, said while the new cabinet was made up of a variety of political parties, the ANC held key positions that made it possible to continue with the implementation of the NHI and finance minister Enoch Godongwana could allocate the required budget to start the process. “The ANC will default to its policy resolution. We can assume that the ANC and political heads at the helm of the health ministry will continue to push for the implementation of the NHI,” she opined. Even if the ANC continues with the NHI, it will likely be faced with challenges from cabinet. Representatives of medical schemes, doctors and other affected organisations have also vowed to institute legal challenges. These include trade union Solidarity, the Health Funders Association, the SA Medical Association, the Board of Healthcare Funders and the SA Health Professionals Collaboration.   Ramaphosa has returned Aaron Motsoaledi to the health portfolio, which he held for a decade between 2009 and 2019, while Joe Phaahla was demoted to deputy minister. In a statement welcoming the new appointments, the national department of health said it “believes the return of both political principals will ensure continuity and stability in the implementation of key health priorities which include the National Health Insurance to enable the country to attain universal health coverage”. Jappie said this statement started a narrative showing that, from the ANC's perspective, the NHI would be implemented. However, she expected pushback from those parties in the government that opposed the NHI Act.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Gloria Motsoere at Business Times (subscriber access only)


Secret profit-share deal on massive digital contract leads to sacking of two top SABC executives

TimesLIVE reports that the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has confirmed that two senior executives, who had been on suspension, have been fired for trying to hide a multimillion profit arrangement on a digital contract. Ian Plaatjies, who served as the SABC’s COO since November 2019, and head of video entertainment Merlin Naicker had their employment contracts terminated with immediate effect after a disciplinary process. Acting SABC executive for corporate affairs and marketing Mmoni Seapolelo indicated that the SABC would not be disclosing the date on which this happened or any other information regarding the development. Plaatjies and Naicker were suspended in February at the same time that head of advertising sales Reginald Nxumalo resigned. This happened in the wake of their alleged failure to disclose a 7.5% profit-share deal with Discover Digital, which runs the public broadcaster’s SABC+ video streaming service. Plaatjies, Naicker and Nxulamo allegedly deliberately concealed crucial information of the 7.5% profit-share agreement from the SABC's executive committee during their presentation of the deal, before it was signed. They also misled the committee when they said the public broadcaster would get 100% of the advertising revenue made through SABC+.   Plaatjies, Naicker and Nxulam signed the deal with the profit-sharing clause without authorisation from the SABC's head of legal or the CEO at the time. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) welcomed the dismissals. They come while CWU workers are fighting for their next annual salary increases after successfully winning the fight for backdated increases to be paid out in September after a three-year salary freeze.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Gill Gifford at TimesLIVE


Standard Bank ordered to pay former senior employee R1.7m over unfair firing for ‘bullying’

BusinessLive reports that Standard Bank has been ordered to pay its former head of compliance in the global markets and market abuse department R1.7m for unfairly dismissing her on allegations that she fostered a toxic culture that led to a skills exodus. Christine Lawson, who was on a package of just less than R2.3m a year, was shown the door in 2023 after she was found guilty of charges levelled against her at a disciplinary hearing. But, the CCMA found the way Standard Bank conducted the investigations into allegations against Lawson was flawed. The CCMA also found it troubling that Lawson was dismissed while no grievances had been lodged against her. The charge sheet used at the disciplinary hearing paints a picture of a manager who made the work environment unbearable for employees who reported to her. The main charge against her was during a period from 2019 she failed to create an environment in which employees “feel psychologically safe” and “perform optimally and do not engage in conduct which is detrimental or poses the risk to the bank”. The charge sheet goes on to detail the impact Lawson’s alleged conduct is said to have had on the team. It includes that a number of her team members had been emotionally distressed over how she engaged them. At the CCMA arbitration, Standard Bank brought five witnesses, while Lawson brought four. “As to the allegation that the employee’s management style was so overbearing and riddled with toxicity that it caused a high turnover in staff and therefore placed the employer at risk, I am not convinced that the employee’s management style was indeed the cause of employees leaving/resigning/requesting transfers,” reads the arbitration award. Lawson’s attorneys said the CCMA’s findings were a wake-up call to businesses to properly investigate allegations of bullying.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Kabelo Khumalo at BusinessLive


  • Three of five most in demand jobs are in finance, at BusinessReport
  • Former Tongaat CFO denies responsibility for accounting fraud, at BusinessLive
  • With 77,000 jobs lost, Eastern Cape economy officially in recession after consecutive declines, at News24
  • Ceta CEO facing a probe: Takes board on R4m trip around the world, with R250,000 pocket money each, at City Press (subscriber access only)
  • Kgetlengrivier municipal manager under fire after giving himself unauthorised salary increase, at The Citizen
  • TUT, National School of Government deal will revolutionise public sector education and training, at Pretoria News


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