NUM WELCOMES THE LABOUR COURT JUDGMENT

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) welcomes the Labour Court judgment that was delivered on the 24th of June 2019 that confirmed that a coalition between NUM, Solidarity and UASA succeeded to obtain an urgent interdict against AMCU regarding an agency fee agreement signed with Lonmin to recover agency fees from employees at Lonmin’s Marikana operation.

The court also ruled that the agreement between Lonmin and Amcu was unlawful, invalid and that all amounts already deducted from employees had to be paid back to them. This follows after Amcu and Lonmin had signed an agreement on 24 April 2019 in terms of which 1% up to a maximum of R200,00 was to be deducted from the salary of employees not belonging to Amcu. This agreement came into effect on 1 June 2019.

The Labour Court order is as follows:

1. The Agency Shop Agreement concluded between Lonmin and AMCU on the 24 April is invalid and unenforceable.

2.Lonmin is interdicted from deducting any agency fee in favour of AMCU from the wages of the NUM, Solidarity and UASA members in terms of the Agency Shop Agreement.

3. Lonmin is ordered to immediately refund all agency fee deductions made or to be made from the wages of the NUM, Solidarity and UASA members in terms of the Agency Shop Agreement.

In terms of the Agency Shop Agreement signed between Lonmin and AMCU, it clearly states that “the parties agree that employees who are not members of any trade union shall not be compelled to become members of AMCU”. The court order further states that it would be unlawful to make any deductions from non-AMCU members in terms of an invalid agreement and NUM, Solidarity and UASA are thus entitled to the relief they sick to interdict an imminently unlawful act occurring.

TECHNICAL GLITCH LEADS TO DELAY IN PRASA WORKERS RECEIVING SALARIES

EWN reports that the Passenger Rail Agency of south Africa (Prasa) said that some of its employees will only receive their salaries on Friday due to a technical glitch. Workers at Prasa Corporate and Metrorail divisions were affected by the 24-hour payment delay. Prasa’s spokesperson Nana Zenani said they’re investigating the matter.

“This particular instance has to do directly with the payment of salaries. What we want to determine through the determinations instituted by the group CEO and board is the accountability in the values chain of the releasing of that money,” Zenani said. “We doubt very much that it has to do with sabotage,” she added. Prasa is the second state-owned entity this week to experience challenges in paying salaries. Denel also issued a statement saying it would only be able to pay 85% of salaries. However, the entity received a cash injection making it possible to pay workers their entire pay.

by Kgomotso Modise


Union threatens strikes as municipalities, SOEs and provinces battle to pay bills

Engineering News reports that on Wednesday, the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) threatened strike action if all workers at around 30 municipalities around the country were not paid immediately. On June 14, Free State treasury head Godfrey Mahlatsi informed the provincial departments that they would have to explain to suppliers that some payments would be delayed, as a result of a postponement of disbursement runs on the BAS system (the province’s accounting system).

Mahlatsi’s memo to department heads said the postponement of the disbursements was necessary “mainly as a result” of the need to pay salaries for educators on the same day. The disbursements would therefore be made on July 2, he explained. Samwu said it was “angered and agitated by the continuous failure by municipalities to pay workers their salaries in full and on time”. According to the union, more than 30 municipalities had indicated that they would not be able to pay full salaries or at all. The union said it had met with newly appointed Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and her deputy, Parks Tau and that the issue of non-payment of salaries was highlighted. The union said it would also demand that workers be compensated for penalties for late payments and that interest be paid on late salary payments.

by News24wire

Employees at luxury guesthouse win unfair dismissal case

GroundUp writes that the CCMA has ruled against theLAB Lifestyle. “I ran the guesthouse like it was my own place for 15 years … Now I’m unemployed and soon to be homeless,” says Katrina Zwanota, the former manager of theLAB Lifestyle guesthouse outside Robertson, Western Cape. Zwanota is one of 12 employees who have accused the company of unfair dismissal. They say they were dismissed so that the company could hire cheaper labour. Zwanota and her family have also been given notice to vacate their home, which is situated on the farm, by 1 July. In a letter dated 2 October 2018, seen by GroundUp, the previous owner Gier Tellefsen told Zwanota that her contract had been transferred to Balk. The letter stated that her employment under the new owners would be “on the whole no less favourable to the terms and conditions of employment with Rosendal” and that the “recognition of service” would remain unchanged.

“Your remuneration including the value of any perks will be equal to that which you currently receive”, she was told. Three other employees have also taken their case to the CCMA. Katrina Arendse, Jasmine Tromp and Colene Baardman were told in January that the company no longer had work for them. According to the CCMA document, the company told the commissioner that it was downsizing and had retrenched the employees. But because the three women were not consulted or informed prior to this, the commissioner ruled in favour of the women in May, finding the company’s actions to be “procedurally unfair.” The company was ordered to pay Arendse and Tromp R16,000 each, and Baardman R8,000.

by Barbara Maregele

Pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals found in fish caught off Cape Town’s coast

GroundUp reports that the ocean around Cape Town is so polluted that pharmaceutical and industrial chemical compounds are accumulating in the flesh of fish caught off the coast. Scientists from the University of the Western Cape’s chemistry department have found that fish caught by small scale commercial fishers in Kalk Bay are contaminated by antibiotics, pain killers, antiretrovirals, disinfectants, and industrial chemicals. Species tested include snoek, bonita, hottentot (Cape bream), and panga, obtained from random daily commercial catches sold at Kalk Bay harbour in late 2017. The presence of pharmaceutical compounds in fish is due to untreated or poorly treated sewage flowing into our ocean. This is because drugs are not wholly metabolised in the body.

The City has said that no testing or treatment for chemical compounds such as those indicated in Ojemaye and Petrik’s study, is undertaken. The City’s water and waste services department, headed by Mayco member Xanthea Limberg, has regularly blamed storm water run-off following periods of rainfall, rather than discharge from marine outfalls and sewage treatment works, when coastal water quality tests fail minimum guidelines. This is despite the national Department of Environmental Affairs regulations that storm water pollution must be treated at source. Repeated requests by GroundUp to the City over the past 18 months to provide the results of the inland and coastal water quality tests conducted on a monthly and twice-weekly basis respectively, have not yielded any results.

by Steve Kretzmann

SAMWU Demands Full and Immediate Payment of Workers’ Salaries

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is angered and agitated by the continuous failure by municipalities to pay workers their salaries in full and on time. This while, third parties such as medical aid, funeral policies and pension funds are in arrears. Essentially, municipalities are cheating workers out of their hard-earned money, which is by the way too little to sustain their lives. 

SAMWU therefore demands the immediate payment of all salaries of municipal workers that have not been paid yet. When workers go on strike, municipalities apply the no-work no-pay principle, as a result workers are determined to apply the no-pay no-work principle until such a time that their salaries reflects in their bank account. The union further demands that these municipalities compensate workers for any charges and penalties incurred as a result the late payment. Workers’ salaries should also be paid with interests the longer the employer takes to pay them, because as they wait, the more their salaries lose value.

SABC says salaries will be paid

EWN reports that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Tuesday assured its staff that salaries would be paid at the end of June following reports that the broadcaster was struggling to find money to pay employees.

The broadcaster had applied for a cash injection from national Treasury, while it battled serious financial troubles. Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams had earlier this year issued an assurance that government would not allow the broadcaster to slip deeper into its financial crisis.

by Sifiso Zulu

Eskom will be unbundled, says Gordhan

eNCA reports that Eskom’s unbundling into three units will go ahead as planned. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said a final plan for the split is progressing well. The plan has been criticised because of its delayed implementation.

“Good progress has been made in relation to working out a road map to implement the proposals in the February 2019 Sona to separate generation, transmission and distribution functions into three separate business entities wholly owned by the state. There is no deviation from this strategic path,” said Gordhan.

Court ruling will legalise dependents of asylum seekers

GroundUp reports that on Wednesday, the Western Cape High Court handed down a court order that allows the dependents of asylum seekers and refugees to legalise their status in South Africa in a process known as ‘family joining’. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Scalabrini Centre hailed the court order as “life-changing”. The Scalabrini Centre, represented by the Refugee Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town and Advocate Suzanna Harvey, took the matter to court in 2016. The organisation said that many applicants had experiencedbarriers in the family joining process.

The organisation said, “Dependents are now able to apply to be documented as either through family joining or on their own grounds. Certain documents need to be provided where possible, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate. This is regardless of where the marriage or birth took place and affidavits are to be submitted in the absence of such documents. “This family joining is to be completed regardless of whether the dependents were included in the applicant’s original asylum application or not. Should there be ‘serious doubts’ about the validity of a parents’ claim over their child, DHA can request a DNA test,” said the Scalabrini Centre. On Friday, Home Affairs spokesperson said the order was based on an agreement between the department, Scalabrini and the UNHCR.

by Tariro Washinyira

Five taken to hospital after fire at SABC building

eNCA reports that a number of SABC employees have been taken to hospital after a fire broke out at its Radio Park building in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The fire broke out in one of the kitchens in the building, which has resulted in at least five people being taken to hospital. Staff at the public broadcaster had to be evacuated.

SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said that an electrical fault in the distribution board box in one of the canteens caused the fire. Mthembu said that the fire was extinguished “in good time” but the five people that have been taken to hospital suffered from smoke inhalation. Staff at the public broadcaster have since reported back to duty.