Nehawu members employed by Parliament to return to work after strike

EWN reports that National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) members employed by Parliament are expected to return to work after going on strike on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with their suspended colleagues.

The union’s parliamentary branch chairperson, Sthembiso Tembe, and a colleague were suspended for their alleged role in disrupting staff meetings called by Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana last week.  Staff will return to their posts to allow Nehawu’s national office bearers time to intervene in the impasse. The union’s Western Cape Secretary, Eric Kweleta, indicated that a meeting was scheduled for next Tuesday.  The union and Mgidlana are at loggerheads over outstanding issues related to a strike last year.

by Rahima Essop

Domestic worker dismissed for ‘stealing tea bag’

News24 reports that in Komatipoort, a 29-year-old shop owner in Mpumalanga has admitted to dismissing his domestic worker for allegedly stealing a tea bag. The businessman, Dawood Gulzar, denied allegations that he had fired the woman for personal reasons. “This lady is a thief. She never stole money, but she’s stealing our small things like a tea bag and some sugar,” he said this week. When asked if he had proof that the woman, Lenah Phiri, 32, had stolen something from his house, he nearly lost his temper.

“My friend, I don’t need to prove to you; I know my groceries. I count my things when leaving the house and I know them very well. She should have asked because I know it’s very cold nowadays, rather than stealing,” he said. The dismissed domestic worker said she had been working for Gulzar for the past seven years. “I still can’t believe it. I thought my boss was cracking a joke when he said I stole a tea bag. I have been nothing but loyal to my work for the past seven years, never think of stealing anything. I was told that I stole a tea bag. A tea bag out of all things,” she said. “How can I steal a tea bag instead of money? I always found R200 and R100 banknotes when I’m doing laundry, but I gave them all back. It’s obvious that I was no longer useful to them after all these years,” Phiri said. The matter has been handed over to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

by Futhi Mhlanga

AA workers go on strike as wage negotiations breakdown

South African Transport & Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) members at the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) have embarked on a national strike due to a dispute in wage negotiations. About 300 AA workers responsible for towing, patrols and emergency response have down tools due to a failure to reach agreement in the latest round of wage negotiations. SATAWU served notice of intention to strike early this week. A meeting convened to avert the strike failed to reach consensus yesterday.

Workers’ demands are as follows:

  • 12% across the board wage increase
  • R9 000 minimum wage (not cost to company)
  • 13th cheque
  • 60% company contribution to pension fund and medical aid scheme
  • Extension of incentive scheme to include all categories of workers
  • Insource 50 outsourced employees

The employer is only offering a 6% across the board wage increase. Also at stake is the signing of the union recognition agreement due to a dispute regarding paid time off and benefits for of full-time shop stewards. For more information contact:
Zanele Sabela, Media Officer – 011 403 2077 /
079 287 5788, info@satawu.org.za

 

Municipalities’ spending on staff surges

BDLIve reports that municipalities’ employee-related costs grew by 43.9% between 2011 and 2015, or from R50bn in 2011 to R73bn in 2015. This was revealed in the Statistics SA financial census of municipalities in Pretoria on Wednesday. Employee-related costs contributed to just over a quarter of municipalities’ total operating expenditure in the financial year ended in June 2015, according to Statistics SA. Statistician-General Pali Lehohla told reporters in Pretoria on Wednesday that all 278 municipalities combined in SA increased their operating expenditure from R264bn in the 2014 fiscal year to R285bn in 2015, of which employment related costs contributed 25.6%.

He said municipalities in Gauteng had the highest rate of employee-related costs, at R23.5bn in 2015, while the councils in the Northern Cape spent R1.8bn on employee-related costs. Explaining the increase in employee-related costs, Stats SA’s director for local government institutions, Malibongwe Mhemhe, said: “The number of employees has increased and the salaries have increased.” There were disparate factors behind this growth. For instance, in urban and metro municipalities, the hiring of interns over and above the normal staff complement was an additional contributor to employee costs, while work being done in rural municipalities required the hiring of more manual labour. All municipalities’ combined liabilities rose from R177bn in 2014 to R197bn in 2015. The steepest climb in this regard again came from Gauteng’s municipalities, where liabilities rose from R68.3bn to R80bn.  Municipalities had a total capital expenditure of R59.2bn, of which 54% was in Gauteng municipalities.

by Khulekani Magubane

SA wants to attract young people to farming

SABC News indicates that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has launched a celebration of young producers and entrepreneurs. The celebration aims to highlight the importance of agriculture, forestry and fishing as an important contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as well as to make it more appealing to young people.

Deputy Minister of DAFF, Bheki Cele says while the average farmer in South African is 68, his department aims to show young people how ‘cool’ farming is. “Remember this is the 40th anniversary of the young people in South Africa. So they stood up 40 years back, and we are making a clarion call to stand up again. We realised that we have so much human resource around ourselves; so we said let’s display that resource to the South Africans and allow them to take charge and lead us.”

The celebration also showcases young people qualified in interesting degrees within the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector. Some of these degrees are in the study of insects and aquatic (water) studies. Beneficiaries of scholarships from the Department of Agriculture such as famous Chef, Siba Mtongana were also celebrated. The event is hosted at Phetogo farm in Kameeldrift, Pretoria. The farm is owned by young black farmers.

Set minimum wage at R8‚000: PACSA

TimesLive reports that in its monthly food price barometer for May‚ the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action argues that the current racial disparities in income and the number of people dependent on a single worker‚ require a national minimum wage which can defeat inflation and mitigate high levels of unemployment.

PACSA argues that Stats SA’s first quarter Labour Force Quarterly Survey (QLFS) showed that of the 29 million blacks eligible to work‚ only 11.6 million were employed‚ 8 million were unemployed and 9.5 million were not even economically active. Based on the QLFS figures‚ PACSA says one black South African wage supports about four people in comparison to a white worker who supports about two people.

“Every time one job is lost‚ the already very low wage given to a worker still in a job must now go even further to support his brother or sister’s family who has lost their wage earner. This pushes families deeper into poverty‚” PACSA said. “The national minimum wage‚ albeit not the only instrument‚ could be a very important one to deal with our economic challenges. We have proposed a National Minimum Wage of R8‚000‚ cost for a household of 5 persons‚ to provide the possibility of living at a basic level of dignity.”

by Penwell Dlamini

Barclays Africa to invest in skills development

BDLive reports that banker Barclays Africa will invest more than R2.7bn over the next three years in its shared growth programme, CEO Maria Ramos said on Wednesday. At a CEO Engage event hosted by the Gordon School of Business Science, Ramos said this would include an investment of the bank’s money in youth education and skills training programmes across Africa, and R1.3bn in small and medium enterprises financing raised through its banking divisions together with clients and partners this year.

Ramos said it was part of a strategic commitment in which Barclays Africa would contribute to education and skills training in the markets in which it operates, enterprise development and financial inclusion.  “Despite it being popular we have desisted from talking about or making promises in respect of job creation because we understand that we have to deal with a fundamental obstacle, and that is whether the human capital we have matches the skills needs of the global economy.” Most of SA’s unemployed were younger than 34, with unemployment highest among those without matric, or with matric only. “The rate of unemployment reduces dramatically with post-matric formal and on-the-job training, while it is in single digits for university graduates.”
Skills development was essential to attracting investment, growing the economy and creating jobs, Ramos said.

by Ntsakisi Maswanganyi

Services disrupted at Midvaal Municipality

SABC News reports that services at the Midvaal Municipality have been disrupted since last week. Workers accuse the municipality of racism and unfair labour practices. They are calling for the municipal manager to be removed. They’ve spoken out against what they call poor working conditions and alleged racism from senior staff. The workers want the Midvaal Mayor, Bongani Baloyi to take decisive action against the municipal manager, who they say is misusing municipal funds.

But the municipality has dismissed the allegations, saying this is just a political gimmick. The workers have vowed to continue until their demands are addressed.

by Ntlantla Kgatlhane

Nursing assistant out on bail – ARV’S

The woman stationed at at the Makgatho Clinic in Botlokwa was arrested by the Hawks Anti-Corruption Unit after attempting to sell stolen ARV’s to an undercover police officer. Information was received about a person selling stolen ARV’s to people in the city said Limpopo Spokesperson for the Hawks, Capt Matimba Maluleke. “An undercover cop approached the suspect and she attempted to sell him 24 sealed round bottles containing ARVs tablets for R7 500.” The suspect has been released on R1000 bail and will appear again on 18 August. Investigation into the crime as well as others who could be involved continues, concludes Maluleke.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Limpopo strongly condemns the act of this nurse who was caught red-handed selling ARVs on the streets of Polokwane yesterday. “We are disappointed in her conduct as it taints the good name of the profession and undermines the great contribution and hard work that many nurses put in their work every day in servicing communities despite severe shortage of nurses,” says DENOSA.

Reports of a fuel delivery strike dismissed as untrue

Business Report writes that Chevron South Africa has dismissed rumours circulating on social media of a fuel delivery strike.  The company, as well as and the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu), claimed no knowledge of the origins of the false strike notices.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Chevron SA said:  “We can confirm that this information is incorrect and fuel deliveries and supplies to filling stations across the country remain normal.”  A message shared on WhatApp warned that petrol and diesel would run out at fuel stations from today.

by Theto Mahlakoana