Saldru study cautiously links 2013 minimum wage increase to farm job losses

GroundUp reports that new research by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (Saldru) at UCT suggests that the 2013 increase in the minimum wage for farm workers caused a drop in employment. In March 2013, the statutory daily minimum wage for agricultural workers was increased by 52% increase (from R69 to R105 a day).  This followed widespread labour unrest, particularly in the Western Cape.

Previous research across various sectors had found that minimum wage increases had either insignificant or negative effects on employment rates.  Yet, the Saldru researchers concluded that the data showed that the 2013 minimum wage increase did cause substantial job loss among rural farm workers.  However, they cautioned their results, saying that possible measurement errors and small sample sizes might have complicated the findings.  The researchers were unable to determine exactly how many jobs the wage increase cost.  The study also found that the average wage for rural farm workers increased, meaning that the legislation was being adhered to.

by Rejul Bejoy

South African employers recruit overseas amid ‘immense’ ICT skills crisis

BusinessTech reports that new survey data shows that South Africa faces a growing Information and communications technology (ICT) skills crisis of immense proportions. A Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) ICT Skills Survey has found that the percentage of corporates recruiting skills from overseas has more than doubled over the past two years, from only 12% in 2014 to 26% this year.

“In retail and distribution, with a specific focus on consumers, there are simply not enough skilled people with the technical savvy to understand the differences in the latest technology,” said Werner Joubert, product country head at Asus.  But it is at corporate level where there is a real skills crisis at almost every ICT level, which has a dire effect on South African businesses.  According to the 2016 survey – released in July – 71% of businesses stated that the skills gap was at the least having a major effect, while as many as 29% said it was a threat to their viability.

Necsa, unions reach wage agreement

Engineering News reports on a wage agreement reached between the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and labour unions, following months of negotiation. The parties agreed that, effective 1 July, employees earning less than R600,000 a year, would receive a 7% increase, as well as a R5,000 one-off payment, while those in the income bracket above R600,000 a year would receive a 6.1% increase.  The outstanding 50% parity payments would be made in two tranches on 25 September and 26 April 2017, respectively.  The negotiations related to other outstanding demands, such as medical aids and a thirteenth cheque, would be entered into within three months.

Pay cuts needed in mining, says Sibanye’s Froneman

Business Report writes that the message from Sibanye Gold boss Neal Froneman to investors on Thursday was that the difficult market conditions in the mining industry would require “bitter medicine”, including cutting salaries. This was particularly so for the platinum sector, which was on its knees amid metal price weakness and rising costs.  “We should be talking about reducing wages not increasing them by 50 percent,” Froneman said. But cutting salaries is likely to be rejected by labour in the platinum sector where labour tensions have escalated in recent years amid union rivalry.  Trade union Solidarity yesterday said salaries should not be cut but should be linked to inflation in return for job security.

by Dineo Faku

CWU reaches agreement with Sentech

CWU reported its media statement yesterday that it has reached an agreement with the SOE Sentech on a long outstanding dispute over the payment of bonuses. Sentech and CWU have agreed that by the end of August 2016, workers will get their bonuses which is equal to 60% of their monthly salaries. This will have a positive impact on workers’ financial challenges going forward. We further want to announce that the company and CWU are now engaging in talks about Salary increases and Substantive matters and we believe that much ground has been covered.

CWU also welcomed  the ANN7 workers to their fold after the signing of a collective agreement with the company. On the SABC, CWU said that their members at SABC who are working under Phalaphala FM, consulted with the union on the company’s intention to relocate the radio station from Polokwane to Thohoyandou. CWU indicated that they were engaging with the management of SABC in line with the mandate they received from their members. Amongst others, we are looking into compensation issues and relocation for workers and those who volunteered.

CWU intent on fighting job losses at WNS

Communication Worker’s Union said in its statement yesterday that the WNS company came through a back door in this country with the courtesy of the most merciless and exploitative Vodacom. WNS previously known as Fusion to Vodacom workers, then changed their name to WNS to pursue same objectives of taking over major companies call centers through processes of the Section 197 (outsourcing) then reduce benefits, make working conditions unbearable then ultimately, workers resign. All workers who were transferred from Telkom to WNS are working under unbearable conditions with poor remuneration. At the same time, workers who worked for Vodacom about 12 years and moved to WNS are now facing retrenchments. We therefore demand reinstatement of the original benefits for these workers, and stop all the intended jobs cuts in this company.

As from the 1st of August 2016, CWU calls for all its members working for Telkom to down tools in line with our program of action.

  • 1st August 2016 – Go slow, Work to Rule, Boycott over time and from 12pm picketing to commence.
  • 2nd August 2016 – Picketing through the day – and handing over of memorandums.
  • We are waiting for the authorities to approve our marches in three provinces namely KZN (Durban), Western Cape (Cape Town) and Gauteng (Johannesburg) in the next week. Once the necessary processes are concluded we will announce the dates.
  • We are further targeting Johannesburg Stock Exchange
  • Our Program of Action will continue till the 9th of August 2016 (Women’s Day). If no agreement is reached, we will then intensify our Program of Action.

For more info: Aubrey Tshabalala  – General Secretary on 0614811080

Communication Workers Union (CWU) prepares itself for a mother of all strikes in Telkom

Communication Workers Union (CWU) prepares itself for a mother of all strikes in Telkom following the long standing unresolved dispute between the parties. Attempts have been made to resolve this matter amicably with the company for over a year now, being locked in the substantive and salary negotiations. Our engagement around the round table proved to be futile, and in the last 2 years, the Telkom workforce has dropped from a massive 23000 to just over 10 000. CWU has evidence (emails of executives) of white workers who were protected from these jobs bloodbaths, by redeploying them to other departments in the company prior to the retrenchments and or outsourcing the said targeted departments. The continuation of the Apartheid wage gap has not been addressed in the past 22 years. Telkom  seems to be incapable of solving its problems without cutting jobs and throwing thousands of workers into an army of unemployment. We are more determined to fight against any further job losses in Telkom and everywhere else in the ICT industry where we are organised.

CWU’s demands are as follows:
– All workers to be aligned to 50 percentile (to redress the Apartheid wage gap)
– We call for status quo on Gainsharing – we reject the proposal on the 13th Cheque
– On salary increases we demand 11% salary increase
– Three (3) years Moratorium of retrenchments
– Equal Performance incentive as per functional area (50th percentile)
– The company must stop outsourcing in any other form
– 6 Months maternity leave.

This is another entity that is directly linked to Telkom SA, which is without fail denying workers proper benefits. Over the years now workers at Trudon were settling for an insulting wage agreement with the hope that management will improve their offer in the future. We, therefore demand a 12% salary increase which is a revised offer from R4500 across the board and no to medical aid.

For more info – Aubrey Tshabalala : General Secretary on 0614811080

SACCAWU on a three day protected strike at the JD Group

About ,2 600 SACCAWU members have commenced a three-day protected strike, arising from an unresolved wage dispute with JD Group . The strike takes place in the context of a ruthless retrenchment programme, coupled with a brutal assault on terms and conditions of employment of workers ,which has been driven with military precision since the take-over of the JD Group by Steinhoff. More than 10 000 workers have already been retrenched over the past two years, whilst most secure full-time jobs have been informalised ,through the engagement of lay-bye specialists and freelancers at store level.

The Company has now reneged from its earlier commitment to negotiate a new commission structure for sales people. Its current wage offer will only serve to worsen inequality, and undermines all efforts aimed at driving the decent work agenda.Whilst, the union is demanding an across the board increase of R600-00 per month, the employer is offering a mere 6.25% ,which translates to an increase of R 125-00 per month ;for the lowest paid worker at R 2 002-00 per month. The employer is also refusing to meet the demand of a minimum wage of R 4 500-00 per month. The employer is further refusing to abolish labour brokers and has reneged from an earlier commitment to negotiate a new commission structure.

The strike has commenced today and will continue tomorrow until Monday the 1st of August 2016. The Union is also staging a protest march to the Company’s Bradlows store situated in Albertina Sisulu Street in Johannesburg. The march will commence at 11h00 from Urban Ocean Parking in Corner Rissik and Fox street. A memorandum of demands will be handed over to management at 13h30. Whilst members have embarked upon protected industrial action the Union remains open to genuine negotiations aimed at resolving the current.

 For more information , please contact: Cde Piet Ngoato 0823368928 or Cde Mike Sikani : 081 0515710

Vuyo Mvoko can get his SABC job back ‘if he retracts’

Cape Times reports that SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) contributing editor Vuyo Mvoko was told he could have his position back if he retracted everything he had written and said about the public broadcaster.  The offer, which Mvoko turned down, was made on Thursday, just moments before he was due to appear in court to challenge the broadcaster over his dismissal.

He and seven other SABC journalists were fired in the past month for challenging the broadcaster’s editorial policy.  Mvoko was axed after he wrote an article for The Star criticising the censorship and culture of bullying at the corporation.  While his seven colleagues were reinstated this week, Mvoko was not.  He then applied to the court to have his contract enforced after the SABC said he would no longer be used to produce programmes until their dispute was settled.  A ruling in the case is expected on Tuesday.

by Gabi Falanga

Gas leak puts 20 Elandsfontein workers in hospital

Caxton News Service reports that approximately 20 workers were transported to hospital after an industrial accident at a business in Elandsfontein in Johannesburg on Thursday morning.  It is believed that there was a gas leak in a building and the gas was inhaled by the workers, leaving up to 20 patients with varying degrees of illness and injury.  Just after 10am, multiple emergency vehicles were dispatched to the business.  Paramedics worked on the scene to triage and stabilise the patients, before they were rapidly transported to various nearby hospitals for further management.  Some of them were under advanced life support care.  Local authorities were on the scene to investigate and fix the source of the leak.

Full report at The Citizen