NUM signs three-year wage agreement with Petra Diamonds

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has signed a three-year wage agreement with Petra Diamonds Limited at Cullinan Diamond Mine, Finsch Diamond Mine Kimberley Ekapa Mining JV and Kiffiefontein JV operations in South Africa. The wage agreement is effective from the 1 July 2017 and shall remain in force until 30 June 2020. This comes after a week-long strike after the union withdrew the labour of all its members working in Petra Diamonds at the Koffiefontein Mine, in the diamond-rich province of Northern Cape. The NUM was demanding a 10 percent wage increase across the board for three years, a housing subsidy and living out allowance of R1,500 to be paid every month for three years.

The union was also demanding an increase of R1,000  be paid to all employees who are part of the in-house medical aid scheme and 100 percent medical aid subsidy to employees who do not belong to the in-house medical aid scheme. The three-year wage agreement with Petra Diamond provides for annual increases to NUM members in the region of nine percent to 10 percent for year one, and 8.5 percent for years two and three. It is effective from July 1, 2017 and will remain in force until June 30, 2020. The parties agreed to basic salaries with a living out allowance of R1,200 for year one, R1,350 for year two, and R1,500 for year three.

A home ownership scheme subsidy will begin from R1,300 this year and accumulate to R1,500 in year three. The parties agreed to an ex-gratia equal to 50 percent of one month’s individual salary at Koffiefontein Diamond Mine, and 70 percent of one’s individual basic salary at Kimberley Ekapa Mining, Finsch Diamond Mine, and Cullinan Diamond Mine. The parties also agreed that with effect from July 1, 2017, maternity leave will be increased to three months with 100 percent of basic salary and one month unpaid. NUM members will also have their leave days increased to 21 days working days per annum for five days shift employees at both Kimberley Ekapa Mining JV and Koffiefontein JV.

Makro workers picket in Port Elizabeth

GroundUp reports that about 150 workers at the only Makro store in the Eastern Cape are on strike. The strike, by about 150 members of the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU), began in Port Elizabeth on 22 September. On Friday, workers picketed at the entrance to the store at Kabega Park. Simphiwe Valela, SACCAWU Eastern Cape regional educator, said the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) had declared a deadlock and issued a certificate of non-resolution on 13 July.

“We are demanding an increase in our wages based on the rand value, not on a percentage as the company insists. All workers, including those under existing labour brokers and those hired from outside, should be guaranteed the same minimum wage,” said Valela. “Makro is insisting on a 7.5% increase while we need 8.5% or R750 across the board, based on a minimum of R6,000 a month or whichever is the greater.” “At present Makro is paying a minimum of R5,000 a month to permanent employees, which is not enough given the current inflation,” he said.

The strikers also want casual workers be absorbed into the company in order for them to get the same benefits as permanent workers. Valela said, “At present the casual workers are working 130 hours a month earning nearly R25 an hour. We are demanding that they should work for 160 hours a month.” Other demands by the workers include a baby voucher of R1,200 (up from the current R1,000); an annual bonus equivalent to 50% of an employee’s salary; maternity leave of 66% of monthly salary for nine months; a subsidised housing scheme; and a buying card that would enable workers to get discounts at all MassMart companies.

by Joseph Chirume

The union power in state pensions

BusinessLive reports that trade unions and coal companies represented by the Chamber of Mines will meet on Monday for a crucial round of talks on a multiyear wage deal that will either lead to an agreement or launch dispute proceedings.

Coal companies represented by the chamber are Anglo American Coal, Delmas Coal, Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga, Kangra Coal, Koornfontein and Glencore. In February the mines said they wanted talks to be held on a decentralised basis, but the unions rejected this. The parties met in June and concluded a framework agreement.

by Charlotte Matthews

eNCA in another dispute about contractless employment

The Star reports that another labour-related legal tussle looms for news organisation eNCA over more allegations of contractless employment at the channel. Nhlanhla Mbatha alleges that he worked for 13 months at eNCA as a sub-editor without a contract from October 2015 to the end of November last year, when he was “unceremoniously” told his contract had finished – “even though I never signed one”.  He is taking the channel to the Labour Court, where papers have been filed, following an unsuccessful attempt in March to get what he felt was recourse at the CCMA.

Mbatha’s allegations follow those made earlier this month by freelance anchors at eNCA who alleged that they too worked at the channel without contracts.  Meantime, Mark Rosin, the group COO at eNCA’s controlling company, eMedia Investments, said:  “Any suggestions that eNCA does not adhere to the labour laws of the country are false.  The matter of contracts, freelance and otherwise, is an internal matter on which we will not be drawn to comment in public.”

by Khaya Koko

Violent protest amid wage strike at Makro store

eNCA reports that a violent protest broke out on Friday at a Makro store in northern Johannesburg, according to a Thomson Reuters witness. The store is part of Massmart’s Makro chain, whose employees have been on a wage strike for a week.  Marune Rossouw, a Thomson Reuters employee, said she was trapped inside the store with around 50 other people as protesting staff rampaged through the car park, throwing stones at cars.  A police spokesman could not immediately confirm the incident at the store.  A Massmart spokesman also could not immediately give confirmation.

Mineworker dies at Impala Platinum today

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has learned with shock the death of a mineworker at Impala Platinum number 20 shaft yesterday as a result of rock fall. As the NUM, we are deeply concerned about these fatalities happening at Impala Platinum. NUM calls upon the company to pull up its socks and improve its health and safety system.

NUM members and other mineworkers are extremely worried about health and safety standards at Impala Platinum mine. The NUM is of the view that one death in the industry is just one death too many, production should not and must not be at the expense of mineworkers’ lives. The NUM would like to convey its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family, colleagues, and friends of the deceased during this difficult time.

8 000 jobs to be created as Table Bay Mall opens

Business Report writes that in a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, the new Table Bay Mall opened its doors to a flurry of eager shoppers. The latest regional shopping centre development by property investment company, Zenprop Property Holdings, commenced trading on Thursday in the Sunningdale region.

The mall is esteemed to become a significant contributor to the economic development of both the West Coast region and the Western Cape province. Developers estimate an additional 8 000 jobs to be created which range between tenants and service providers.

by Zeenat Vallie

Cosatu and SACP’s grievances legitimate, say analysts

The Citizen writes that nationwide marches on Wednesday by labour federation Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP) were about genuine issues that affected the whole country, Ebrahim Fakir of the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute said. Fakir said the majority of South Africans were impacted by corruption, state capture, job losses and underperformance by the country’s economy under Zuma.

“It is easy to say that the marches were not about substantive issues, but no one must underestimate the impact of state capture. The call for Zuma to step down is appropriate and Cosatu is entitled to voice out how they feel about him,” Fakir said. Many employers released their workers to participate in the protests showed their support for the action.  The labour agenda was said no longer to be only about wages and jobs, but had become highly politicised.

by Eric Naki

COSATU members protest in cities across the country

GroundUp reports that on Wednesday, thousands of Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) members marched in city centres across the country in support of the federation’s call for a national strike day against state capture and corruption. The marches were supported by trade unions NEHAWU and SADTU, as well as the South African Communist Party (SACP), the South African National Civics Organisation (SANCO), and the ANC Women’s League.

The march memorandum stated: “Economic Development continues to be obstructed by the systemic capture of the state by a well-organised predatory elite”. It called for President Jacob Zuma to agree on a date to proceed with the Commission of Inquiry recommended in the Public Protector’s State of Capture report. It also called for the state to “cancel all commercial dealings with the Gupta family with immediate effect.”

by GroundUp staff

No more labour brokers for Gauteng government

SABC News reports that Gauteng has decided to do away with labour brokers before the end of the year. Premier David Makhura made the announcement when he addressed Cosatu supporters protesting against corruption and state capture in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

He says: there’s no debate about outsourcing and labour brokers. We know it’s there.” Cosatu has been fighting government to force it to totally ban labour brokers. The federation has been of the view that only a total ban on labour brokers will stop the abuse of workers by employers. Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini has hailed the country-wide march against state capture, and corruption. He said that the response to the march was overwhelming.

by Tshepo Mongai