Standard Bank’s plans to retrench 500 workers

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply concerned to hear that a possible 500 Standard Bank employees are facing retrenchments by the bank. The bank is arguing that this is happening as a result of the concluded revamping of their IT system. While the bank has argued that most of the affected permanent staff held executive and managerial positions, this is still a big problem for a country with an unemployment record of 27, 5%. South Africa cannot afford to lose even a single job and 500 jobs is jobs slaughter

What is deeply worrying is that businesses are not taking an active role in supporting their current workforces through retraining and also government is not creating an enabling environment to assist these efforts. The failure by government to do more to force big business to adopt a moratorium on retrenchments during the recently held jobs summit was a big mistake. COSATU has been calling for a moratorium on retrenchments and also for retrenchments with a human face, where people are properly eased out of employment with some semblance of dignity, including re-skilling the workers.

Sibanye-Stillwater signs three-year gold wage agreement with unions

MiningMx reports that Sibanye-Stillwater today concluded a new three-year wage agreement with its major unions bringing an end to the 2018 round of talks. Sibanye-Stillwater, which was the last of the firm’s in the council’s bargaining group to conclude its wage talks, signed off on increases to the basic wage of category 4-8 surface and underground employees of R700 in year one; R700 in year two; and, R825 in year three. Miners, artisans and officials will receive increases of 5.5% in year one and 5.5% or CPI (whichever is the greater) in years two and three of the agreement.

In addition to the basic wage, the parties agreed to an increase in the current living-out allowance by R50 to a maximum of R2,150 per month from 1 September 2018. Sibanye-Stillwater said it would increase the living-out allowance by R75 to a maximum of R2,225 per month on 1 September 2019 and by R100 to a maximum of R2,325 per month in the year that follows. 

by David McKay

Matjhabeng municipal workers on strike due to non-payment of funds

SABC News writes that services have grounded to a halt at Matjhabeng Municipality in Welkom in the Free State, as more than a 1000 workers have embarked on a strike. South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) members have gone on a rampage, demanding the municipality make outstanding payments to third parties. Samwu local secretary, Welcome Makhobotloane says they have tried on a number of occasions to address the issue with the municipality.

Makhobotloane says the workers now want the mayor to step down with immediate effect. “We are not on strike, workers are simply here, we have reported for work but all that they are demanding is that what is owed to them should be paid with immediate effect. Their provident funds have not been paid for months, their policies and their medical aid schemes because those monies are deducted from salaries but not paid to relevant services providers. We want to see the removal of the mayor because he’s busy now with the process of removing the second municipal manager after he removed the first one. So that shows that the root cause of this problem may not be the management as such but is more political,” states Makhobotloane.

by Ismael Modiba

COSATU: Competition Amendment Bill will attract investment

Business Live reports that trade union federation COSATU has argued that the contentious Competition Amendment Bill will actually attract investment, contrary to what some opposition parties and local businesses have suggested. Among other things, the bill is intended to provide for an extension of the mandate of the competition authorities and the executive to tackle high levels of economic concentration. It is also meant to tackle the limited transformation in the economy and the abuse of market power by dominant firms.

The committee is conducting public hearings on the bill. In October, the National Assembly adopted the bill, despite objections by the opposition parties. The NCOP has to consider the bill before it is forwarded to the president for assent. In its submission, COSATU called on the government to act more decisively to deal with collusion and concentration as these hamper development and contribute to inequality.

by Bekezela Phakathi

West Rand workers still not paid in full

EWN reports that employees of the West Rand District Municipality say that haven’t been paid for the past three months.  The workers gathered at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg yesterday, calling on the office of the Gauteng premier to deal with their grievances.

They say that haven’t been paid for the past three months. Last month, workers held councillors hostage demanding their salaries be paid. A large group of workers from the municipality clad in red were singing and dancing as they waited for Premier David Makhura to come and receive their memorandum.

by Katleho Sekhotho

COSATU working with POPCRU will present a joint submission on SAPS’ Rural Safety Strategy to Parliament

COSATU will present POPCRU and COSATU’s submission on SAPS’ Rural Safety Strategy to the Portfolio Committee on Police today Wednesday 14 November, Good Hope Chamber, Parliament.
Key crisis undermining SAPS’ successful implementation of its Rural Safety Strategy includes:

·         Lack of priority crime specific strategies;
·         Insufficient resourcing;
·         Inadequately resourced SAPS stations;
·         Insufficient vehicles;
·         Inadequate training;
·         Lack of support and attention given to
vulnerable groups, in particular women
and children;
·         Expansion of gangs to peri-urban, coastal,
fishing village and rural areas;
·         Growth in various forms of trafficking;
·         Neglect by employers and government of
the rights of farm workers;
·         No programme by government and industry
to curb alcohol abuse; and
·         Serious socio-economic crises facing our rural areas.

Until these crises are dealt with, SAPS will not be able to begin dealing with the rising levels of crime facing rural residents.

Exams disrupted at University of Mpumalanga

SABC News writes that exams at the University of Mpumalanga were on Tuesday disrupted; police fired shots after clashing with the university security, workers affiliated to National Education Health And allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and students. The workers and students want the vice chancellor removed. Last week NEHAWU members and the students handed over a memorandum of grievances to the Department of Higher Education.

They are accusing the university’s management of corruption and nepotism. Student Representative Council member  Mzwandile Shabangu says students are compromised as they are fighting corruption, yet falling behind on exams. “Our examinations have been disrupted several times, we are very much behind and we are approaching December. We are on a disadvantage already as students but we understand that as much as we might be behind in our academics but we are more concerned about the growing corruption that is taking place here at the University.  That’s why we have even sacrificed our own academic time to ensure that we uproot the issues of corruption, those who are coming after us won’t come back to find the same challenges,” says Shabangu.

NEHAWU’s General Secretary Zola Saphetha explains.

DENOSA Nurses leave clinic in protest against attack

The Citizen reports that 61 Denosa members out of the 76 nurses at the Katlehong health centre have been withdrawn by the union. They were asked to report to other health facilities where the union believed they would be safe. This comes after nurses at the Katlehong health centre deserted it in protest after a midwife was attacked, allegedly by a group of community members at the weekend. This is one of many incidents where staff were attacked at Ramokonopi Community Health Centre in Katlehong in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.

The workers, the majority of whom are affiliated to the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), have boycotted the clinic in protest at continuous attacks against staff by irate residents and, sometimes, thugs. According to Denosa Ekurhuleni regional secretary Lebohang Khumalo, 12 members of a family entered the centre on Sunday night and started physically assaulting a midwife after a baby was stillborn. Khumalo said the union had withdrawn its members with immediate effect to exercise its right in terms of Chapter 2 of the National Health Act, which allowed the workers to work in a safe environment.

by Eric Naki

New coal mine in Bronkhorstspruit creates over 300 jobs

The Star reports that more than 300 jobs have been created at a recently opened mine in Bronkhorstspruit.  Canyon Coal opened its Khanye Colliery with a blast, following a detonation procedure led by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, the week before last. The mine’s spokesperson Neslihan Er Ogur indicated that the establishment of the mine created 316 full-time jobs and 194 temporary opportunities during the construction phase.

“When the mine is in full production, a total of 316 people will be employed on a full-time basis.  These numbers include the two plants, the mining employees, weighbridge and stockyard, laboratory, office and support personnel.  The mine is also involved in enterprise development, in order to develop small and medium enterprises to start up and develop sustainable businesses,” Ogur said.  At the opening of the mine, Mantashe said:  “We have to produce optimally.  We have resources we are not using, mines that are not being mined.  We must improve productivity.  That’s why I’m excited by the presentation about your plans.”

by Tebogo Monama

COSATU to present submission on Competition Amendment Bill

COSATU will present its submission on the Competition Amendment Bill to the NCOP’s Select Committee on Business and Economic Development at 11am Tuesday 13 November, Old Assembly Chamber, Parliament. COSATU strongly supports the Competition Amendment Bill of 2018.
The following areas are particularly supported by COSATU:

  • This Bill will undo the concentration in the economy by the old white boys club, who are keeping emerging black players out.
  • We believe that this bill will promote investment and lead to a reduction in prices in the SA economy.
  • We support the public interest section of the bill that will lead to a greater focus on jobs and the promotion of worker ownership.

COSATU believes that the instances of collusion by mainly white owned apartheid style companies had flourished due to the previous economic practices. This bill seeks to end the rampant corruption by the old boys club, and bring the competition rules in line with many other developed countries.

For further information – Tony Ehrenreich at 082 773 3194 or Matthew Parks at 082 785 0687