NEHAWU to march to Department of Education

The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union is currently mobilising for a National Day of Action against the Department of Higher Education and Training on the 21st November 2017. The National Day of Action will be in a form of march to the Head Office of the Department in Tshwane, while other provinces will hold pickets. The National Day of Action is as a result of the challenges faced by our members in the Sector Education and Training Authority, Technical and Vocational Education and Training and the Community Education and Training Colleges.

 The intention of the march is to hand-over a memorandum of demands to the Minister of Education and Training regarding SETA’s and TVET/CET colleges on a number of outstanding challenges that the department has dismally failed to address. The national union is currently conducting general member meetings in these sectors and mobilization is at an advanced stage and members are ready to send a clear message to the department that these issues can no longer remain unresolved. The march is regarded as a warning shot and if the department continues to drags its feet in responding positively to our demands within the specified period in the memorandum will leave the union with no option but to render the system unworkable and ungovernable.   

NUM calls for inquest into mine fatalities

Business Report writes that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called for an investigation into rising fatalities in the mining industry after two mineworkers died last week at AngloGold Ashanti’s (AGA’s) Mponeng mine.  Six other miners are recovering in hospital following a fall-of-ground incident at the Carletonville mine that was triggered by a seismic event of 1.1 magnitude at 3.6km on Thursday.  “A thorough investigation is needed to get to the bottom of the fatalities,” Erick Gcilitshana, NUM health and safety secretary said on Friday.

He noted that the increasing number of fall-of-ground incidents, particularly in Klerksdorp and Carletonville, was worrying.  Two mineworkers died at the Mponeng mine in October, while two others died at AGA’s Kopanang mine in September due to fall-of-ground incidents.  Four mineworkers died in July at the Tau Lekoa mine (owned by Heaven Sent, a Chinese venture capital firm) following a fall-of-ground incident and five others died at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine in August.  “It is a point for serious concern for us.  The principals, including chief executives, unionists and the officials from the Department of Mineral Resources, need to come together and discuss safety and how to achieve the vision of zero harm,” said Gcilitshana.

by Dineo Faku

SATAWU kicks off salary negotiations at Transnet

The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union  tabled its salary increase demands at the Transnet Bargaining Forum yesterday. The union has proposed a three-year agreement with an assurance that there will be no retrenchments for the duration of the agreement. SATAWU is demanding 12% across the board (ATB) increase for each of the three years starting April 2018. An extra 2% over and above the ATB percentage has been proposed for those employees earning less than R100 000 per annum.

Labour wants the employer to up its medical aid contribution to R1 790 for the first year, R2 500 for the second and R3 500 for the third year. The union is demanding the same year on year increases for the housing scheme. All other allowances are to increase by the agreed ATB percentage. The maximum amount any employee can be paid for overtime per annum is to be raised to R300 000 in 2018, and thereafter rise by the ATB percentage. The current funeral cover is to be extended into retirement at the company’s costs. Medical aid contribution for retired employees to increase from R213 to R500 in 2018 and ATB thereafter. The agreement reached is to be implemented on 1 April 2018 including for fixed term contracts.

NUM and Cosatu march to Sibanye Gold Stillwater in Westonaria

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Cosatu West Cluster marching to Sibanye Gold Stillwater in Westonaria today to present a memorandum of demands. This comes after Sibanye Gold sent forced retrenchments termination letters to more than 2 000 workers at Cooke 1 to 3 last week.

The company has already instructed workers not to go underground as it is preparing to put the operations on care and maintenance. The mineworkers will start their march at 12 pm from the Libanon Red Club in Westonaria to the Sibanye Gold Stillwater Corporate Offices.

SACTWU Picket at China Shopping Complex in Bloemfontein

SACTWU will be picketing at the China Shopping Complex in Bloemfontein to highlight the plight of the workers in the manufacturing sector whose jobs have been decimated by the cheap and mostly low quality finished products imported from China. SACTWU believes that the practice has almost brought the textile industry into extinction with many workers living in poverty whilst they are able and willing to work but the job opportunities have been eradicated by the cheap imports of finished products from China.

SACTWU supports the Proudly South African ‘Buy Local Campaign’ and would be encouraging the workers and the community to spend their monies wisely by buying locally produced goods and services in order to preserve and create jobs. The picketing will take place on Saturday, November 04, 2017 in front Hanger Street, Bloemfontein at 09H30 – 12H30. The union is making a call to all workers to join and support this  activity of not only protecting jobs but also ensuring job creation in big numbers because it is only through mass production that jobs may be created!

Sibanye-Stillwater confirms 7,000 employees cut at Cooke

Miningmx reports that Sibanye-Stillwater has completed a restructuring process at its Cooke gold and uranium shafts on the West Rand, cutting a total of 6,976 from its workforce including 1,350 employees who took voluntary separation packages. However, the group has decided to keep operations at Beatrix West in the Free State open for as long as they remain profitable.  In effect, that has given 1,640 employees a temporary stay from retrenchment.  But James Wellsted, head of corporate affairs, said this decision came with important conditions.

“The mine will stay open for as long as it is profitable and we are spending almost no capital expenditure on the operation,” he indicated.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) criticised the company on Tuesday, saying that the firm had decided to pump R20bn into offshore operations (Editorial note: It is actually R31bn) instead of investing in local operations.  The Cooke surface processing plant will continue to operate for as long as there is sufficient feed material for it to be profitable.

by David McKay

SAMWU Update on Salary Payments at Mopani District Municipality

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) is pleased to announce that the Mopani District Municipality acceded to our demand for the immediate payment of salaries for workers within the Municipality. We have since confirmed that all employees were paid their monthly salaries on the 27th October albeit 2 days late. After the union’s intervention, the management of the Mopani District Municipality apologized to all employees for the inconvenience that the late payment of salaries had caused and further made an undertaking that corrective measures would be taken to ensure that such does not happen again, as this was not the first time that workers were not paid on time.

Samwu has since reached an agreement with the Municipality that workers who experienced inconveniences and financial consequences such as bank charges for failed and returned debit orders would be refunded in full by the Municipality. This agreement was further referred to a Local Labour Forum for ratification.

NUM threatens to strike in coal sector over wages

Business Report writes that South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Tuesday its coal workers will embark on a strike if the Chamber of Mines does not meet its wage demands. A strike in the coal sector could affect power supply as the lion’s share of electricity in Africa’s most industrialised economy is generated from coal.

The wage offers vary depending on the company, ranging from a 5 percent to 7.5 percent increase in 2018 and in 2019 for the lowest paid workers. Some of the mining companies are also proposing once-off payments as part of the wage offers. The union is demanding a once-off payment of R1,100 this year and an 8 percent increase for 2018. NUM’s demands also include a 9% wage increase in 2019, but the union said it will only sign an agreement for the third year if the Chamber accepts to remain in the collective bargaining forum.
by Tanisha Heiberg
Ref: Reuters

Sibanye to lay off 2 000 miners – NUM

Fin24 reports that the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Tuesday afternoon that 2 000 of its members had received “forced retrenchments termination letters” from Sibanye-Stillwater’s Cooke Gold mine. The mine, located south-west of Johannesburg, has three vertical shafts, which are referred to as Cooke 1 to 3. In a media release NUM said workers at all three shafts received termination letters. A spokesperson for Sibanye-Stillwater said the information was correct.

“Following a 90 day consultation process with the unions under the auspices of the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration), we have had to place the Cooke operations under care and maintenance,” he said.  NUM said it would be holding a mass meeting on Wednesday morning at the mine. In early August, Sibanye had announced plans to lay off thousands of workers as part of a restructuring plan.

SATAWU members down tools at Bidvest SACD

The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) members at Bidvest SACD will embark on strike at noon today. The members are disgruntled because management refuses to accede to their demand of a 7.5% across the board wage increase, sticking to 6.5% instead. Wage negotiations started in May this year with the deadline for implementation set for 1 July.

However, despite the involvement of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) the deadlock remains unresolved five months later. Notice of the strike was served on the company on Monday after the CCMA issued the certificate of non-resolution. Parties had agreed earlier on in the negotiation process that the wage increase would take priority over other issues that would be tackled after a wage agreement was signed. SATAWU members are resolute that they will remain on strike until management accedes to their demand.