UIF looks for former mineworkers

ANA reports that the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will kick off a registration campaign that would see millions in unclaimed benefits paid to former mineworkers in the Northern Cape, the Department of Labour said on Thursday. The campaign will target the Hartswater area in the Phokwane Local Municipality.

“The campaign is aimed at ex-mineworkers who left employment in the mines prior to 01 April 2002.  This category of workers is urged to come and make applications for unclaimed benefits from the UIF,” the department indicated in a statement. “The campaign will continue on 26 and 28 June 2018 in Kimberley and it will spread to other towns across the province,” said the UIF.

Ref: The Citizen

Sarb keeps interest rate on hold

eNCA reports that interest rates have been kept on hold, South African Reserve Bank (Srab) Governor Lesetja Kganyago announced on Thursday. The decision comes after a meeting of the central bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) in Pretoria.

This means the repo rate, the rate at which Sarb lends money to banks, will remain unchanged at 6.5 percent. The prime lending rate, the rate at which banks borrow to consumers, stays put at 10 percent.

Gauteng MEC for transport shuts down Tsakane taxi rank

News24 reports that Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Ismail Vadi has shut down Tsakane taxi rank in Ekurhuleni with immediate effect following a shooting that left four people dead on Wednesday morning.  “No taxis will be allowed to operate from the Tsakane taxi rank and law enforcement personnel will be deployed to the affected area tonight (Wednesday),” Vadi said in a statement.  He urged commuters in the Tsakane and Brakpan area to make alternative transport arrangements.

The taxi rank would remain closed until the security risk relating to the taxi industry in the area stabilised, he indicated.  The announcement came after four people were shot and killed and six others were injured during taxi-related violence in Brakpan on Wednesday morning.  The shooting took place shortly after members of the Brakpan Taxi Association attended a meeting in the area to resolve their complaints.  After the meeting had concluded and members began to leave, a dispute about the Brakpan and Tsakane taxi routes among the members apparently sparked the shootout.

by Iavan Pijoos

AngloGold Ashanti to retrench 2 000 mineworkers

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) can confirm that it has received Section 189 notice from AngloGold Ashanti to retrench 2 000 mineworkers in all its operations in South Africa. The NUM is shocked that AngloGold Asanti is likely to retrench such a huge number of workers at the time when there is a high rate of unemployment in the country.

This is the same company that took a decision to retrench 849 mineworkers in January 2017 and also in June 2017 where they took a decision to retrench 8 500 mineworkers. It has become a fashionable trend for this company to retrench mineworkers. NUM, therefore, calls on AngloGold Ashanti to rethink its position to retrench. They must create opportunities for job creation rather maximizing profits at the expense of the poor mineworkers who earn poverty wages.

AngloGold Ashanti on latest job cuts

Fin24 reports that AngloGold Ashanti said in a statement on Wednesday that it had made “the difficult decision” to restructure the company to support a smaller footprint in South Africa. The restructuring process will affect all employee levels, including the South African executive committee and senior management.  The company indicated as follows:  “South African operations continue to face a multiplicity of challenges, including increasing depth and distance from central infrastructure, declining production profiles, and cost escalations that have continued to outpace both inflation and the gold price.

In addition, the margins are negatively affected by a much stronger exchange rate.”  The gold producer promised that the consultation process with the trade unions would be aimed at ensuring the remaining assets – which employ approximately 8,200 people – remained viable.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said they would engage AngloGold to try to prevent the retrenchments, while the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) vowed to try preventing job cuts by working with its union rivals.

by Tehillah Niselow

Reinstatement of workers at Toyota

The Liberated Metalworkers Union Of South Africa announced that workers who were suspended at TOYOTA will now go back to work. Many are expected to go back to work this month while others have already been reinstated through the efforts of LIMUSA shop stewards. This victory of workers comes after a battle by LIMUSA against TOYOTA. The employer had suspended some of these members for almost a year due to the deliberate delays caused by TOYOTA.

LIMUSA regrets that members who were represented by other unions in the gross misconduct cases were dismissed. Even though it is a victory for LIMUSA that our members are back at work, the union cannot celebrate the dismissal of any worker. LIMUSA said that it remain committed to championing the struggles of metalworkers on the shop floor.

Clause will be removed from mining charter

Bloomberg reports that South Africa will remove a clause from its Mining Charter that includes naturalized citizens in the group of people who should benefit from attempts to more evenly redistribute the country’s mineral wealth. Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is in talks with companies, unions and mining communities on an update to the mining charter after a version published last year by his predecessor prompted legal challenges from the industry. 

Among the criticisms of the 2017 charter was its recognition of black and other historically disadvantaged people who had taken citizenship after being in the country for long enough. Opposition parties suggested that the clause was included to benefit the Gupta family, who are friends with former President Jacob Zuma.  “We want to cut out anything that looks suspicious in the charter,” Mantashe said in an interview Tuesday.  The reworked mining charter will not be an entirely new document, but will rather be based on the previous paper, Mantashe said.
by Sam Mkokeli
Ref: Business Report

Public Sector wage negotiations deadlocked

SABC News reports public sector wage negotiations have stalled, as not all stakeholders could come to an agreement. The signing of the latest three-year wage agreement between the government and public sector unions, which was supposed to take place on Monday, has been postponed indefinitely, at the last minute. Although the parties remain deadlocked, Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says she is confident that an agreement will be reached soon. Government tabled and signed its final offer of 7 % on Friday evening.

The Public Servants Association refused to budge on signing the finalised public sector wage agreement, halting the conclusion of the protracted negotiations. The department of Public Service and Administration said in principle, unions have agreed to the public sector wage agreement, but no deal has been signed. For the unions, salaries of the lowest paid government workers remain a sticking point. Workers on scale codes 1 to 3, who earn R5 000 a month and less, want those scale codes to be scrapped outright. It’s now up to unions to decide, after consulting their members, to accept the offer or resort to their right to strike. The consultation process could last up to 3 weeks.

by Lulama Matya

Court petition by Mining Forum SA to stop Lonmin takeover

Business Report writes that Mining Forum of SA, a non-profit organisation advocating for the rights of mining communities in North West, has decided to petition the North West High Court in order to block the Lonmin takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater.
If successful, this would throw a spanner in the works of the proposed R5.1billion deal, which last week got a boost after the SA Reserve Bank cleared it.  The forum has been disaffected with Lonmin for a while over the platinum miner’s alleged failure to meet its socio-economic obligations.

The forum’s Blessings Ramoba said on Friday that the organisation wanted the court to revoke Lonmin’s mining licence for failing to implement social and labour plans between 2014 and this year.  Former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane suspended Lonmin’s licence in November last year, but the suspension was lifted three days later.  “We want the court to reinstate that suspension.  We want the court to put the sale on hold until Lonmin has fulfilled its obligations to the community in terms of the social and labour plans,” Ramoba said.  In his view, Lonmin was in breach of its statutory obligations in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act.

by Siseko Njobeni

Global ban by clothing retailers puts SA’s mohair industry at risk

Bloomberg reports that a ban on mohair by dozens of global clothing retailers is threatening a R1.5bn industry in SA, the world’s biggest producer. Almost 70 clothing companies worldwide have announced that they will stop using mohair following the release earlier in May of video footage from 12 Angora goat farms in the Karoo region.  The footage showed goats being dragged by the legs or horns and sustaining injuries from shearing.  A worker decapitating a goat also featured.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which produced the video, alleges that abuse in the mohair industry is “rampant and routine” and inflicts “unspeakable suffering”.

While industry organisation Mohair SA announced earlier in May it would immediately suspend mohair from the farms implicated in the video, it said it considered much of the report to have been incorrect and misrepresenting the industry.  There are about 1,000 Angora goat farms in SA, employing an estimated 30,000 people.  It is too early to determine the long-term impact of the ban, said Deon Saayman, MD of Mohair SA.

Ref: BusinessLive