Two mineworkers are fatally injured at Kloof Mine

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is saddened that two mineworkers who were trapped underground at Kloof mine due to a fall of the ground have passed on. Kloof Mine is an operation owned by Sibanye Stillwater.

We are deeply worried about the safety of workers and we are continuing to witness these shocking fatalities. The cause of the incident is not yet known but DMR inspectors are investigating. We sell our labour, not our lives, lungs, and limbs. One death is one death too many as we talk about breadwinners of the families. The NUM sends its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased during this difficult time.

 

CCMA called in as DUT strike continues

Timeslive reports that the embattled Durban University of Technology has turned to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in a last ditch bid to resolve the month-long impasse with unions over wage increases. The academic year was due to start on Monday‚ but the breakdown in negotiations over better salary packages‚ saw lectures being pushed to February 12. Management is offering a 6.5% increase in basic salary and a 6.5% housing allowance‚ without a once-off bonus. But striking unions are demanding an 8% increase and a R350 hike in the housing allowance.

“The deadlock on the salary increment which led to a staff strike…resulted in DUT management writing a letter to the CCMA‚ invoking a Section 150 of the Labour Relations Act‚ which allows independent mediation by the CCMA‚” said DUT spokesman Alan Khan. He added that the CCMA ordered that both parties appear before its commissioners. Khaya Xaba‚ National Health Education and Allied Workers Union spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal‚ said the strike would continue. He added that management had refused to budge on its offer and that a 6% increase on a R1 100 house allowance would only amount to R66.

by Suthentira Govender

Inquiry into Lily Mine tragedy completed

eNCA reports that mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane said on Monday that government had completed its inquiry into the tragedy of Lily Mine and that the report would now be handed over to the Department of Mineral Resources. “The inquiry into the Lily Mine accident has been concluded, and a report will be submitted to the department in the next few weeks,” Zwane told delegates at the opening of the “Mining Indaba” in Cape Town.

The bodies of  Mnisi, Nkambule and Nyirenda remain underground after a lamp room container in which they were working was swallowed up by the earth when a pillar collapsed at the mine on the morning of 5 February 2016.

Ref: ANA

COSATU to make submission on Debt Relief Bill

COSATU will today present its submission on Parliament’s progressive National Credit Amendment Bill that seeks to provide urgent debt relief for the most highly indebted workers and families. COSATU supports the NCA Bill as it will:

– Allow the unemployed, workers earning less than R7 500 per month and women and child headed households and homes with a person with a disability and debt under R50 000 to apply for varying forms of debt relief.
-Debt relief could come in the form of a 1 or 2 year interest free suspension, adjustment of interest rates or cancellation of a reckless and illegal loan.  It will also protect some of the most important assets of workers from repossession.
– The bill also allows the Minister for Trade and Industry to make a special intervention in the cases of economic sectors or regions which have experienced an economic or natural crisis.
– The bill provides for harsh penalties for reckless and abusive lenders, including fines and imprisonment.

COSATU will make further proposals to: protect workers’ home and vehicle loans as well as loans of small and emerging farmers; increase the coverage of house hold goods from repossession; and include student loans as qualifying for debt relief. COSATU will push for Parliament to intervene with regards to the: Excessive bank lending rates which hurt the poor; the wage gap, retrenchments and outsourcing the hurts banking workers; the marginalisation of townships, villages, rural and informal areas by the banking sector; the need to crack down and close loan sharks; ending mainstream banks owning load sharks and exploiting the poor; transformation and accessibility in the banking sector for the poor; capacitation of the post bank as a choice for the poor; and consumer and banking sector education.

Beatrix miners rescued from underground

BusinessLive reports that electrical power was restored to the Beatrix gold mine owned by Sibanye-Stillwater early on Friday morning, allowing the rescue of some 948 miners trapped underground since Thursday morning. After the last of the miners were hoisted to the surface, Sibanye CE Neal Froneman said:  “The actions taken by management and decisions taken resulted in all of our employees returning safely to their families.”

The mine in the Free State was paralysed by a power outage after a storm on Wednesday night knocked over a pylon supplying electricity to the mine and trapping 1,300 people underground. Power was then restored to two shafts and 336 people were returned to surface.  Harmony Gold on Thursday provided three generators from the nearby Joel mine to assist with the rescue efforts.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday expressed concern for the wellbeing of the trapped workers’ health.

by Allan Seccombe

NUM is deeply worried about retrenchments at Aveng Grinaker-LTA

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) can confirm that it has received Section 189 notice from Aveng Grinaker-LTA to retrench 2,863 workers. The NUM is worried and saddened that Aveng Grinaker-LTA is likely to retrench such a huge number of workers at the time when there is a high rate of unemployment in the country.

NUM says that  Aveng Grinaker-LTA should instead create opportunities for job creation rather maximising profits at the expense of the poor construction workers who earn poverty wages. Aveng Grinaker-LTA said it is retrenching due to most of its projects coming to an end and no future projects are awarded to the company.

 

NEHAWU update DUT strike

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] has been on strike at the Durban University of Technology [DUT] for the past three weeks over the wage dispute and financial mismanagement by the university. The national union is demanding a 10% wage increase across the board, R9000 once off bonus and Housing allowance.

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education visited the institution yesterday to try and resolve the three weeks impasse only to find that Prof Mthembu had locked himself in his office and claimed not to be around leaving the Deputy Minister frustrated. If he can avoid the Deputy Minister he can also equally avoid issues raised by workers and allow them to withdraw their labour for three weeks and destabilize any services and academic calendar of the institution. As NEHAWU, we demand strong leadership at DUT in order to end the current impasse between the national union and university management.

NEHAWU SUSPENDS WITS STRIKE

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] has reached an agreement with the University of Witwatersrand [WITS] after protracted negotiations and a strike characterised by court interdicts and highhandedness by the untransformed university management.

The agreed salary increases [on a sliding scale] are as follows:
– Academics Post Grade 5-9 = 7%
– Professional staff Post Grade 5-8 = 7%
– Post Grade 9-15 = 7,8%
– Post Grade 16-17 = 9,2%
– And 10% increase for dog handlers, drivers, meal allowance per shift, night shift and night work allowances.

Parties also agreed to work on modalities to turn Wits into a high performance institution and motivate workers beyond salary increases. In this regard a committee to deal with this aspect will be established as a matter of priority. Parties further agreed on a committee that will work on addressing the issue of moving staff on Post grade 16-17 to midpoint of salary scales by the end of April 2018 and also advice council on modalities and take the issue of affordability and sustainability into account. Parties also further agreed that the principle of ‘no work no pay’ will be offset by workers filling-in leave for all the days that they have been on industrial action. Our other demands of (1) Night shift allowance (2) Long service awards and (3) Bonuses and (4) Harmonization of conditions of service will be addressed in the bargaining forum as per the signed agreement.

COSATU to make submissions on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill to Parliament today

COSATU will present its submission on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill (National Key Points Act) to the Portfolio Committee on Police at 11:45am 31 January, Room V475, Old Assembly, Parliament. The National Key Points Act was adopted at the height of the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime and thus is not in line with our democratic constitutional values.  It has long been abused to prevent workers from unionising and organising, exposing illegal activities and exercising their constitutional rights to protest.  This has affected thousands of COSATU members working at National key points across the country, state and economy.

COSATU engaged extensively on the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Bill with government at Nedlac and achieved the following critical victories for workers:
– Workers’ hard won constitutional rights to unionise, organise, picket, protest, disclose corruption and illegal activities will be protected;
– The CIP Bill will not interfere with workers’ rights as provided by key progressive laws e.g. the LRA, BCEA, PDA, PAIA, PAJA and the Constitution;
– Critical infrastructure (CI) designations will no longer be the sole and unaccountable prerogative of the Police Minister but include public comments, clear criteria and the recommendations of the CI Panel.
– The CI Panel will be chaired by the civilian Secretary for Police and include non-governmental experts.
– CI designations will focus on terrorist, criminal, natural and hazardous threats.
– Searches of persons entering CI must be done with regards to decency and order and by persons of the same gender.
– Prosecutions must be based upon transgressions with a clearly criminal and unlawful intent.
– The provision for Parliament to play an active oversight role.

Whilst COSATU is pleased that its above demands were met by government, it will make further proposals to ;further strengthen public participation in the designation of critical infrastructure by the CI Panel and Minister by specifically requiring public comments be taken into account when making such designations; and explicitly prohibit the strip searching of workers during searches.

SAMWU Welcomes Bargaining Council Ruling

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) notes and welcomes the ruling by the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC)  Gauteng Region that Mayor Herman Mashaba and his administration have been unfairly treating workers at the City of Johannesburg.  SAMWU is pleased to report that it had taken the matter to the SALGBC on the basis that these workers were unfairly treated by the City. On the 23rd January, the SALGBC ruled that the suspensions of these workers constituted unfair labour practice in terms of the Labour Relations Acts and as such ordered that the uplifting of the suspensions and that  they return to work by the 5th February. 

 In addition to the uplifting of the illegal and unlawful suspension of our members, a criminal ( 999/05/2017) which the City of Johannesburg had opened was withdrawn against the union’s members on the basis that there was nothing linking them to the so called “fraud and corruption”. Workers at the City’s Revenue Department are part of a larger group which have been dealt harshly by this administration. There are currently workers across the City who have been on suspension for almost a year without disciplinary action taken against them. Samwu says it will once again be approaching the SALGBC to have all suspensions to be ruled unlawful so that workers can return to work and service the communities which they were employed to.