Public Enterprises Minister launches Eskom nuclear training initiative

BDLive reports that Eskom has initiated a major training programme for nuclear operators, saying it will train 100 artisans as operators at its Koeberg plant to meet SA’s requirements in the future.

The programme, launched by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in Cape Town on Thursday, is a strong vote of confidence by government and Eskom for an expanded nuclear energy sector in the future.  The Koeberg-Eskom programme is the latest in several initiatives to gear up for SA’s proposed nuclear build, which government has said will involve the construction of 9,600MW of new capacity.  Others include training programmes with Russia, France, China and South Korea, where SA students are being trained in a variety of skills.  However, there is a raging debate on the affordability of new nuclear plants, which due to new safety standards have become enormously expensive to build.

Report by Carol Paton

SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng mulls introducing staff uniforms

In the course of an interview with City Press, SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he has been thinking that maybe the national broadcaster’s employees should have uniforms “so that they can understand unity.”

He said SABC employees were expected to “sing the song and talk the talk of the SABC”.  He explained further that:  “If the SABC releases a statement, our employees can’t say ‘the SABC said this’; they must say ‘we are saying this or have decided on that’.  They can’t report like other broadcasters when they are part of any SABC decision.”  Motsoeneng also indicated:  “The SABC is independent as an organisation, but no one is independent within the organisation.”

Report by Poloko Tau

Netcare’s pharmacy outsourcing deal draws fire from union Hospersa

BDLive reports that private hospital group Netcare’s plans to outsource its Medicross pharmacies and its hospital retail outlets to retailer Clicks have drawn the ire of independent pharmacists and union Hospersa.

Netcare will continue to run its own hospital pharmacies. The Independent Community Pharmacy Association said the development threatened small businesses, while Hospersa (The Health & Other Service Personnel Trade Union of SA) said Netcare had failed to consult employees about its plans to transfer them to Clicks.  “Hospersa is truly astounded by this.

In terms of the Labour Relations Act, employers have to consult with employees when considering transfers, and here we see Netcare announcing it in a newsletter.  It is unheard of,” said the union’s Noel Desfontaines.  Hospersa is also unhappy about Netcare’s broader restructuring plans, and voiced its concerns to the company last week.  Netcare CEO Richard Friedland said on Wednesday that affected Netcare and Medicross staff would be transferred to Clicks on similar conditions of employment, and no jobs would be lost as a result of the transaction.

SA firefighters in Canada down hoses over ‘wage dispute’

eNCA reports that South African firefighters working in Canada have downed their fire hoses. They caused a sensation when they broke into song after arriving to help fight that countrys’ spring fire outbreak.

But now they have gone on strike over pay. According to reports, the firefighters claim that they were promised R750 a day, but are only receiving a third of this. Working with Fire is sending a team to Canada to try resolve the issue. It says the pay was agreed to before the group left the country, and any outstanding amounts will be paid upon their return.

Occupational Health & Safety: Know how

In the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act), 85 of 1993, we find out who our health and safety representatives are…

Who appoints health and safety reps?
The workers elect health and safety representatives at a time and place agreed upon with the employer.

Mafube municipal workers enraged over non-payment of salaries

eNCA reports that hundreds of Mafube municipality workers in the Free State are furious, after their employer failed to pay their May salaries. The municipality’s broke and owes several service providers, including pension fund administrators.

Some workers have downed tools, as they fight for their wages. Mafube’s financial woes are nothing new. In his 2014-2015 municipal report, auditor general Kimi Makwetu noted that since 2010, the municipality’s had financial management problems. Last year, it lost millions to irregular expenditure. Now, with a crisis unfolding and hundreds of workers in limbo, the Cooperative Governance Department is stepping in.

The municipality’s salary bill is nearly double Treasury’s norms and standards. “They have around 120 million budget per annum and of the 120 million – 78 million goes to salaries. So you would imagine that constitutes about 70%.” Duma Mokete said. Until they get their salaries, these workers say they’ll halt service delivery.

Free State farmworker killed after falling from truck

The New Age reports that a Free State farmworker died and seven others sustained moderate to minor injuries after falling from a truck on Monday morning.

According to emergency services, the incident happened around 7:30 as farmworkers were being transported to a farm on Klein road, Bohlokong in Bethlehem.  It is believed that the farmworkers were standing at the back of the truck when parts of the vehicle’s upper structure gave way. At least eight of the workers fell off the truck while it was moving.

World’s first Apple Training Centre for the blind opens in Western Cape

EWN reports that the world’s first Apple Training Centre for the blind has opened its doors in the Western Cape.  The facility, launched in Worcester on Monday, aims to empower visually-impaired people with technological and IT skills by transfering text into audio.

The multi-million rand programme is a partnership between local NGO Kaleidoscope, Absa and global technology giant Apple.  Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz commented:  “We must stop disempowering the disabled by viewing them as incapable dependents.  They are just as capable of achieving success, and our role as society is to ensure the barriers in front of them are removed and they are afforded opportunities to prosper.”

What is Section 77?

There has been much discussion in the media around the Nedlac Section 77 process and the role of the institution in ensuring protest actions are protected. Section 77 refers to Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act which speaks to protest action to promote or defend socio-economic interests of workers.

Two new Nelson Mandela Bay call centres to create over 800 jobs

HeraldLive reported that Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) has clinched two new call centre investments, which are set to bring more than R100m to the municipality and create a combined 857 jobs. The two companies, namely Sensational Debt Relief and WNS Global Services have already started operations from their premises in Central and Coega, respectively.

Municipal economic development head Anele Qaba said the metro was also in discussion with two more call centre companies with the potential to bring a further 800 jobs to the city.  With the high unemployment rate in NMBM, the business process-outsourcing sector is a major target for job creation.