SACTWU settles 2016 clothing industry wage negotiations

eNCA reports that the COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has settled its 2016 wage negotiations for the domestic clothing manufacturing industry. SACTWU said in a statement that negotiations commenced in April this year, and a settlement was reached under the auspices of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry (NBC).

According to the union the two year agreement was signed at a council meeting of the NBC last Thursday. For the first year it said a package increase of 8.5-percent will become effective. From 1 September 2016, 8-percent will be allocated to increase the industry minimum wage and 0.5-percent will be used to improve the employer provident fund contributions, the statement said. The increase was more than the 6-percent inflation rate. For the second year, an increase of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1-percent will become effective the statement added.

CWU says Telkom is withholding striking workers’ salaries

BDLive reports that Communications Workers Union (CWU) on Monday accused Telkom of interfering with the salaries of striking staff, who are in their fourth week of industrial action at the telecoms provider. CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said at a briefing in Johannesburg the union believed Telkom management’s “victimisaton” of employees was in response to mounting pressure on the company’s operations.

This comes after a failed SMS campaign to encourage members to return to work on Monday. CWU members have been on strike since August 11, demanding an 11% salary increase, changes to alleged salary disparities, and maternity leave. “A manual verification of days worked during August will be performed on the 31August to establish how many days, if any, the striking employees worked during August 2016. If there are any salary payments, then they will only be made after 31 August 2016 but no later than 7 September 2016, in accordance with the (Basic Conditions of Employment Act),” Telkom said.

BY Karl Gernetzky

Fatal flaw in sugar industry argument, new analysis shows

BDLive reports that the beverage industry’s claims that a tax on sugary drinks will destroy tens of thousands of jobs in SA is unfounded, as consumers are likely to switch to alternative products, according to analysis published on Monday by Trade and Industrial Strategies (TIPS). “There are a lot of substitutes. That is the fatal flaw in their argument,” said analysis author Neva Makgetla, the TIPS programme manager for trade and industry.

“Enterprising sugary-drinks companies could sustain their revenues by moving into healthier untaxed substitutes. That would be more socially responsible than waging a campaign to block efforts that are needed to improve public health in SA,” Makgetla said.

The Beverage Association of SA (BevSA) has vigorously attacked the proposed tax, saying it will destroy  jobs, and cut the GDP by R14bn. BevSA executive director Mapule Ncanywa had this to say in response: “A public-private partnership between industry, government and the scientific community is widely recognised as a better solution to reduce obesity and other (noncommunicable diseases) among South Africans.”

BY Tamar Kahn

Miners stage underground sit-in at Thusi Mine

SABC News reports that Fifty seven miners have staged an underground sit-in at Thusi Mining in Ermelo, Mpumalanga. The miners have not been paid for three months and are demanding their salaries. It is understood the mine decided to discontinue operations without informing them.

The miners have been underground for seven days now. The highest paid employee earns R6 500 a month and the lowest R4 500 per month. These miners threaten to remain underground until their demands are met. Attempts to get a comment from the management of the mine failed.

by Siphephile Kunene

ArcelorMittal drops ‘quota system’ for new jobs

Fin24 reports  ArcelorMittal notified all employees in a letter earlier this month that 100% preference would be given to certain designated groups when making external appointments in future. “ArcelorMittal’s decision to adopt this policy with immediate effect is not in line with the Employment Equity Act (No 55 of 1998),” said Marius Croucamp, deputy general secretary of the steel industry at Solidarity.

ArcelorMittal has withdrawn this policy. This after trade union Solidarity threatened the steel giant with legal action in a cautionary letter. Croucamp further added that that the trade union would still play a watchdog role to ensure that ArcelorMittal adhere to the principles in the Employment Equity Act.

SA Treasury to hold sugar tax workshop

ANA reports that National Treasury on Monday confirmed that it will hold a stakeholder workshop in November to discuss the proposed tax on sugar sweetened beverages. This comes after the Beverages Association of South Africa (BevSA) last week warned that the proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages had the potential to reduce the industry’s contribution to GDP by R14-billion and had the potential to cut about 60 000 jobs.

“The proposed workshop will form part of the consultation process. All stakeholders who provided written comments will be invited to this workshop,” Treasury told the African News Agency (ANA) on Monday.  BevSA has since encouraged Treasury to publish a socio-economic impact study on its proposed tax on sugar sweetened beverages, but Treasury has stated that such a study would be released in due course.

Ref: Engineering News

strikers call on Danish consumers to boycott Robertson Wineries’ wines

Netwerk24 reports that striking workers at Robertson Winery (RW) have called on Danish consumers to boycott the company’s wines.  This is according to The Copenhagen Post, which is the only English language newspaper in Denmark, where the wines are sold in many supermarkets.  More than 200 employees downed tools on Wednesday after wage negotiations deadlocked.  On Thursday, the company obtained a court interdict preventing the strikers from intimidating temporary workers who had been brought in.

On Friday, a charge was laid because the temporary workers were apparently again intimidated.  Karel Swart of the Commercial, Stevedoring and Allied Workers’ Union (CSAAWU) told the Danish pressure group Afrika Kontakt that the wages that workers were paid amounted to slave wages.  The Copenhagen Post commented that Robertson Winery (RW) describes its wines as ““elegant” and “delicate”, but the smell in Denmark is one of “bad working conditions”. (Loosely translated from Afrikaans)

by Nellie Brand-Jonker (Ref: SALabourNews)

Mines oppose DMR proposal of 1% of revenue going to community development

Bloomberg reports that SA’s biggest mining companies are opposed to a government proposal that 1% of their annual revenue be spent on developing communities associated with their operations. They have countered with a suggestion that they instead pay out a share of net profit as that would be based on the affordability of the individual companies.  The Chamber of Mines of SA (CM) is in discussions with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and labour unions over a review of the so-called mining charter, which mandates measures designed to boost black participation in the economy.

The proposal, if implemented, would require that the money be spent on communities near the mines as well as those from where they draw their labour.  While mining companies already have to submit social and labour plans detailing their initiatives for community development, the legislation governing the implementation of the plans is flawed and doesn’t ensure accountability to the intended beneficiaries.

by Paul Vecchiatto and Paul Burkhardt (Mining Weekly)

SA GOVT COULD OFFER VISA WAIVER FOR INTERNATIONAL GRADUATES

EWN reports that Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has encouraged foreign students in SA to consider working in the country, while addressing the International Students Conference hosted by University of Cape Town in Newlands yesterday.

Gigaba says the government wants to change this and his department will issue a visa waiver for international graduates with critical skills. He says those who wish to work in the country will qualify for a long-term work visa. Gigaba says the South African government is trying to retain African graduates on the continent. The minister’s also encouraged young South Africans to consider studying at universities in other parts of the continent.

by Xolani Koyana

Labour disputes delay construction of Sarah Baartman Centre

News24 reports that the construction of the R164m Sarah Baartman Remembrance Centre in Hankey, Eastern Cape has been delayed by labour disputes and is several months behind schedule, GroundUp reports. Construction started in August 2014 and was expected to be completed in two years. This Department of Arts and Culture legacy project, was expected to create nearly 1 000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs during construction, and 134 permanent jobs.

The project has been plagued by work stoppages. Workers complain they are being underpaid and paid late. They said they should fall under civil construction and not general construction and earn R250 a day instead of R150 to R180. Derrick Jaffon, chief liaison officer of Lubbe Construction, has this to say “We can finish the project next year around February, if we work without labour stoppages. The last two years were a challenge because we had numerous labour disputes. This time I hope we will undergo constructive discussions with the union and the workers. ”

by Joseph Chirume