SATAWU TO TAKE BUS WAGE OFFER TO MEMBERS

South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) will take employers’ offer to members for approval. There was very little movement registered for most of the week until Satawu and other unions made the following concessions in an attempt to move negotiations forward.
– Reduced the demand for across the board (ATB) increase from 20% to 16%
– Cut the demand for minimum basic wage from R10 000 to R8 000. The minimum basic wage in the sector is currently R6 076.
– Labour undertook to consider payment of annual bonus in employee’s birth month, provided employers agree to pay pro-rata bonus to workers terminating employment contract regardless of whether they were dismissed or not. Annual bonus is currently paid in early December each year.

In response, employers proposed parties sign a three-year wage agreement to be implemented from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021 with the following ATB increases:
– 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 (4.7%)
– 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 (5.2)
– 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 (5.7%)

Employers also proposed the same ATB increases for minimum basic wage for the three-year agreement. Responding to labour’s demand of six months maternity leave at full pay, employers offered four months maternity at 35% pay for the 2018/2019 year; 37% for the 2019/2020 year and 40% for the 2020/2021 year. Included in COBEO and SABEA’s offer are nominal increases for subsistence and travel allowances, night shift and cross-border allowance. Satawu will seek a mandate from their members on whether to accept the offer and report back to the Bargaining Council for the second phase of negotiations starting 12 February to 16 February.

‘Bungled’ minimum wage bill excludes vulnerable workers

BusinessLive reports that the narrow definition of workers as “employees” used in the National Minimum Wage Bill was not agreed on when the policy was drafted at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). Labour federations which were part of the negotiations said they were shocked to discover that a broader definition was replaced by a narrower definition of ‘employee’, which would exclude independent contractors among other vulnerable groups of workers.

Cosatu and Fedusa said it appeared the Department of Labour and other government representatives involved in the legislation process had made a blunder by replacing “worker”, which was intended to cover those who may fall through the cracks by broadening the definition’s scope, with the narrower “employee”, as defined in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.  The federations, along with fellow federation Nactu, have made a joint submission to Parliament arguing that what was reflected in the bill was not what had been decided upon by labour, business and the government at Nedlac.  Cosatu parliamentary leader Matthew Parks said it was “mind-boggling” that a bill which had taken two and half years of Nedlac engagements to conclude, could end up being bungled.

by Theto Mahlakoana

NEHAWU SUSPENDS STRIKE AT UNISA

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] has reached an agreement with the University of South Africa [UNISA] to bring a long strike of 8 days to an end which was as a results of the intransigent of the Unisa management. The wage increase agreement is on a sliding from 6.5% to 8.5% for the lowest paid workers.The agreement also include a massive increase on salaries for security personnel and cleaners with a salary increase of 20% and 18% respectively.

The union has further registered a victory on retaining performance bonuses of R112 millions to be paid to all qualifying workers in line with the Integrated Perfomance Management System [IPMS] to be implemented in February 2018. Workers will also share performance bonuses to be backdated to 1st January 2018. Both parties also agreed on a process to absorb ICT workers who have been on contract for 15 years by no later than the 31st of March 2018 as per the LRA amendments.

Students squat at Mthatha’s WSU and KSD TVET College Campuses

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training was shocked to learn the use of squatting by a vast number of students at Water Sisulu University (WSU) and King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College (KSD TVET College) student residences in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. The Committee received a first-hand experience of the situation at WSU’s Nelson Mandela Drive Campus where a single room accommodates three or more students due to limited student accommodation and the non-existence of access controls in the student residences. Also, both WSU’s Zamukulungisa and Nelson Mandela Drive Campuses have decaying student residence, lecture rooms and recreational facilities something that poses a grave challenge to student development. Members of the Student Representative Council (SRC), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) raised their concerns on overcrowding and lack of maintenance of student residence.

Further to the situation of student accommodation, WSU’s SRC President, Mr Siphelo Mkhuzangwe indicated that the communication breakdown between the university management and students hinders the processes of resolving many issues relating to student development. NEHAWU and NTEU representatives expressed similar views, stating that labour unions are not consulted on important issues, and that there is no transparency and the university management is not accountable. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Rob Midgley briefed the Committee on the maintenance backlog faced by the university, the plans to expand student accommodation and on progress on the 2018 registration process. The Committee is in the process of engaging institutions on their plans to expand infrastructure, in particular student accommodation and other teaching and learning facilities, and some of the administrative issues that may impact on the academic enterprise.

by Parliamentary Communication Services

Workers at Wits University down tools over wage increases, Unisa strike continues

SowetanLive reports that workers at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) downed tools on Tuesday, joining employees at the University of South Africa (Unisa) who have been on strike since last week‚ demanding a 9% pay hike. On Wednesday‚ Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Buti Manamela met with Unisa management and Nehawu representatives.

Nehawu’s Mike Shingange said despite the intervention of the deputy minister‚ the strike would continue.  He also pointed out that the SA Student Congress (Sasco) was standing with the workers.  Manamela acknowledged that significant progress had been made in finding a sustainable solution to the strike impasse at Unisa, also noting that both parties had demonstrated a great deal of restraint and maturity and were moving closer to a settlement.

by Yoliswa Sobuwa

COSATU Gauteng to march to Overvaal Hoerskool

COSATU in Gauteng will be joining its affiliates and other progressive forces as part of the mass rolling action in support of the opening of the doors of learning for all. COSATU in Gauteng will be leading the march to Overvaal HoerSkool in Sedibeng Region.

The details are as follows:
Date: 25 January 2018
Venue: Caltex Garage
Time: 09:00

 For more information:
Dumisani Dakile (Cosatu Gauteng Provincial Secretary)
Cell: 082 727 1422

Wits University workers to down tools

SABC News reports that Wits University workers are expected to go on strike on Tuesday following a wage dispute with management. The National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) is demanding an 8% wage increase while the university is offering 6%. Union spokesperson Khaya Xaba says workers have been holding lunch hour pickets for the past two weeks in an attempt to persuade management to come back to the bargaining table.

Wits University says contingency measures have been put in place to minimise the impact of the strike. Nehawu represents almost 1 000 of the more than 5000 workers at the institution. Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel says management is still willing to negotiate with the trade union. “We’ve arranged for an independent facilitator to come in to hold a session with all the unions and the university to see if we can find a way forward or common ground. However, Nehawu has still decided that they want to embark on the strike. For this week, we’re doing mostly online registrations, so the registration process won’t be affected too much. We will have contingency plans in place to ensure university processes continue.”

by Nomsa Mdhluli

Wage talks between NEHAWU and UNISA deadlock

EWN reports that negotiations between the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the University of South Africa (Unisa) are still deadlocked amid an ongoing strike for wage increases. The institution has upped its salary offer from 6.5% to 7%.  But, the union has rejected the offer, saying it won’t accept anything less than 12%.  It is also demanding that Unisa should absorb all contract workers with immediate effect.

Nehawu’s Khaya Xaba stated that the university did not honour meeting with the workers on Friday, but went to court seeking to nullify the strike.  “The court ruled against them in nullifying the strike and said the strike is protected and legal.  It also ruled that we cannot intimidate people or block the gates; we remain adamant that 12% is what will end the strike.”  As the strike has affected applications and registration processes for 2018 academic year, the university has extended the deadline for applications to 23 January and for registrations to 30 January.

by Koketšo Motau

Nehawu says Unisa strike will continue if demands not met

EWN reports that the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says the strike by its members at the University of South Africa (Unisa) will continue indefinitely if the institution refuses to meet their demands. The union is demanding a 12% salary increase across the board while the university is now offering 7%, up from the previous 6.5% (an eNCA report indicates that the workers’ demand has been revised downward to 9%).

The union is also demanding the absorption of all contract workers with immediate effect and a halt to what it alleges is exploitation of its members in the Department of Information and Communications Technology.  The union has threatened to intensify its strike and mobilise members at other universities. Registrations at the various Unisa campuses have been disrupted. To make matters worse, Unisa’s online-registrations website appears to have crashed.

by Koketšo Motau

DUT students encouraged to register online due to Nehawu strike

Business Report writes that Durban University of Technology (DUT) employees went on strike this week demanding a 10% annual salary increase. DUT is offering a 4% annual salary increase, which the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has described as an insult.  In a press statement, the union expressed its strong view that the management of DUT, and especially the Vice-Chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu, has been treating the employees with disdain. DUT’s communications manager Noxolo Memela commented that management remained committed to resolving the issues and making sure that the university and its operations went back to normal as soon as possible.

Regarding the salary negotiations, Memela noted that DUT management engaged with the labour unions and representatives on an ongoing basis.  Union leadership will apparently be invited to a meeting scheduled to take place this week, where there will be more talks to resolve the stalemate.  At present, student registration is underway at the university and according to Memela, registration has been slightly affected.  The university has encouraged all students to register online because of the strike.

by Dhivana Rajgopaul