Varsities on shutdown as wage talks deadlocked

DispatchLive reports that two Eastern Cape universities, Walter Sisulu University and University of Fort Hare, remain on total shutdown as wage negotiations between management and unions remain deadlocked. Thousands of academic and non-academic staff at WSU and UFH continue to strike for better pay and better benefits. Mid-year exams at both these universities were disrupted as result of the strikes.

While UFH has postponed the disrupted exams to the next semester, WSU was yet to decide when the mid-year exams, which never took place due to the strike, will be written. WSU went on total shutdown three weeks ago. While UFH went on a total shutdown today after talks at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)  on Monday between management and the NEHAWU members failed  to break the deadlock, with the union refusing a new offer.

by Aretha Linden

Website, Facebook page launched to help ex-mineworkers claim for silicosis

The Citizen reports that a new website and a Facebook page was launched yesterday in a bid to assist former mineworkers and their dependents who may be entitled to compensation from a trust fund to pay mineworkers who contracted silicosis or TB at work. The R5 billion settlement was reached last month after three years of extensive negotiations between the companies and the claimants’ attorneys. The six mining companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony and Sibanye-Stillwater – and attorneys Richard Spoor Inc., Abrahams Kiewitz Inc. and the Legal Resources Centre who represented thousands of mineworkers and their dependents.

The settlement needs to be approved by the South Gauteng High Court, which could take several months. If and when the settlement has been approved‚ a trust will be set up and the process of compensating ex-mine workers will begin. Until then, former mineworkers or their dependents may register their details on the mineworker database. Both the website and Facebook page will be updated regularly with relevant information. The website is: www.SilicosisSettlement.co.za – and the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/silicosissettlement. 

Ref: ANA

South Africa marks 105 years since Natives Land Act

SABC News reports that Tuesday marked 105 years since the 1913 Natives Land Act was enacted three years after the establishment of the then Union of South Africa. The Act was repealed after 1994. It prohibited so-called Natives from owning, leasing or acquiring land. One of the first moves against the Natives Land Act was seen when Sol Plaatjie – founder of what became the ANC – unsuccessfully challenged the British Government to scrap the legislation, a year after it became law. “Awakening on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, – the South African native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.”  These were the words of Solomon Tshekiso Plaatjie after the 1913 Natives Land Act became law.

According to various publications and information obtained from the Parliamentary Library, the Natives Land Act was signed into law on of June 16, 1913 by the then Governor General Herbert Gladstone. The implementation of the Act only kicked in on June 19, 1913. Natives were prohibited from entering into land transactions or owning land in the Union of South Africa. They were not allowed to buy, own or lease land for farming purposes. They were also not allowed to occupy farm land unless they were tenants while they were servants on farms. The 1913 Natives Land Act Act was amended several times even during the Apartheid era but was ultimately repealed after the dawn of democracy in 1994.

by Mercedes Besent

 

Civil engineering sector concludes three-year wage deal

Engineering News reports that the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry on Tuesday announced the signing between all parties in the civil engineering sector of a three-year settlement agreement regarding wages and conditions of employment. The parties agreed to a 7.5% wage increase across the board for the first and second years. The increase for the third year will be 7.5% or the consumer price index, whichever is greater.

The settlement will come into force once promulgated by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant later this year. The employers were represented by the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors and the Consolidated Employers’ Organisation, while employees were represented by the National Union of Mineworkers and the Building Construction and Allied Workers Union.

by Anine Kilian

ESKOM tables wage hike offer of 4.7%

EWN reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says Eskom has now tabled a new wage offer of 4.7% for 2018. NUM’s spokesperson Livhuwani Mamburu took to social media earlier yesterday, saying the new wage offer was tabled on Tuesday along with a four-year agreement with inflation guaranteed.

Negotiations between Eskom and the unions are expected to continue until Thursday. Eskom says it would like to give the process a chance before making any public pronouncements.

Municipal strike in Port Elizabeth set to continue

eNCA reports that the municipal workers’ strike in Port Elizabeth is set to continue. Officials say are waiting for the mayoral committee to sign off on a new long service bonus offer. As the strike enters its fifth day, refuse is piling up on the streets with discarded bags lining almost every curb.

While the municipality works on a contingency plan, they are calling on all residents to take their refuse to a waste centre. But there seems to be no quick solution. The municipality says they it can’t afford to pay R75-million back pay in long service bonuses. Officials say a final offer will be decided on at the mayoral committee meeting on Wednesday and then given to the unions to peruse. Until then residents will have to clean up after themselves.

Eskom, unions resume wage talks

eNCA reports that Eskom and trade unions have resumed wage talks on Tuesday. Negotiations are set to take place over the next three days. Three unions representing workers reached a deadlock with the power utility last week after Eskom said it would not pay any increases this year.

Workers went on strike, resulting in the implementation of load-shedding on Thursday and across the weekend. The unions are demanding wage increases of between nine and 15 percent and an additional housing allowance.

Teachers’ right to strike on the line in essential services review

BusinessLive reports that a government agency is investigating whether to declare teachers and education support staff essential services. The probe has potentially far-reaching implications, as workers who are deemed to render essential services have a limited right to strike. The Labour Relations Act defines an essential service as one that, if interrupted, would endanger the life, personal safety or health of part of or all of the population.

Mugwena Maluleke, the general secretary of the South African Democratic Teachers Union, said teaching could not be an essential service because “no life is threatened once it is not rendered”. “People do not understand what the ILO [International Labour Organisation] and the Constitution say about this issue,” said Maluleke. “Our position is informed by the ILO guidelines… we will be taking part in that debate [on teaching as an essential service], but we will also consider the Essential Services Committee list as a whole.” The committee is also conducting an investigation of whether public transport services should be declared an essential service.

by Tamar Kahn & Bekezela Phakathi

Labour registrar warns Salga it could revoke its registration

BusinessLive reports that the labour registrar has warned the South African Local Government Association (Salga) it would revoke its registration as an employer association. Labour registrar Lehlohonolo Molefe said the association had breached sections of the Labour Relations Act and had ceased to function in line with its own constitution. The warning, dated May 29, was published in last Friday’s Government Gazette.

Molefe said Salga had failed to comply with the provisions of sections 98, 99 and 100 of the Labour Relations Act, which related to disclosure and submission of financial records and audited financial statements to the registrar. Section 98 requires that every registered employers’ organisation must keep books and records of its income, expenditure, assets and liabilities. Section 99 compels the organisation to keep a list of its members, minutes of meetings and ballot papers for a period of three years. It was unclear which sections of its constitution Salga failed to function in line with. On Monday Salga said it had lodged an objection to the notice and had engaged with the labour registrar to resolve the matter. Salga said it had not declared its membership by March 31 in line with section 100.

by Theto Mahlakoana

Case relating to Marikana deaths postponed

eNCA reports that six years after the Marikana massacre, nine police officers appeared in court on Monday. The case was however postponed to 14 September. They face several charges including murder, attempted murder and obstructing justice. These charges relate to the deaths of four miners during the protests, which continued for several days. This will be the suspects’ second court appearance.