Eskom negotiations deadlocked

BusinessLive reports that the Eskom wage negotiations deadlocked on Wednesday, just as workers accepted the power utility’s wage offer. Disagreement between the company and trade unions is now over Eskom’s decision to charge workers for sabotage, unlawful strike action and disruptions at power stations during recent labour unrest.  The illegal industrial action forced Eskom to implement load-shedding as plant operations were negatively impacted.

Eskom employees are not legally permitted to take part in strikes as their work is considered an essential service.  On Wednesday, unions were apparently ready to sign the wage deal that guarantees workers wage increases of 7.5% in 2018 and 7% for 2019 and 2020, with a once-off cash payment of R10,000.  Eskom also offered workers a consumer price index-linked housing allowance for three years.  Solidarity, accepted the wage offer last week.

by Theto Mahlakoana

Wednesday deadline looms for Eskom workers

eNCA reports that the proposal crafted by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) includes one-off cash payments of R10, 000. Pay talks hit a stumbling block after the cash-strapped power utility said it would not pay bonuses as part of the wage increase package.

Mineworkers union, the NUM, and metalworkers union Numsa are discussing the latest proposal with workers. Solidarity accepted an earlier agreement of R5,000 cash and a 7,5 percent increase for this year.

Eskom’s new wage offer

BusinessLive reports that Eskom workers have until Wednesday to accept or reject a new wage offer that includes one-off cash payments of R10,000. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was instrumental in crafting a settlement proposal in talks on Friday between the power utility and unions.  Talks had hit a stumbling block after the company said it would not pay bonuses as part of its wage increase package, with workers demanding 2% of their annual pay as bonuses.  According to the CCMA’s written proposal, wages would rise by 7.5% in 2018 and 7% in 2019 and 2020.

Housing allowances would be adjusted in line with inflation for the three-year period of the agreement.  However, the document stipulates that unions “reserve the legal right to challenge the non-payment of bonuses”.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said they would be engaging with their members on the offer.  Last week Solidarity signed an earlier agreement tabled by Eskom that offered workers a cash payment of R5,000.  However, Solidarity members would still receive whatever increases are agreed to during the final settlement.  The CCMA hopes the deal will be signed on Wednesday.

by Theto Mahlakoana

Protracted strike at University of Fort Hare comes to an end

News24 reports that National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) members at the University of Fort Hare have agreed to end their protracted strike, despite not all their demands not having been met. The workers have been on strike for almost two months as they would not accept the university’s offer of a 7.5% salary increase, which they have now agreed on.  The union had been demanding an increase of 8% and a notch progression of 1%.

“We suspended the strike to allow the process of teaching and learning to continue.  We don’t want to be seen as selfish people who continue to fight for 0.5% whilst exams continue to be affected,” the union’s provincial secretary Miki Jaceni said on Sunday.  He added that, although they had settled for a lower figure and agreed to end the strike, they would continue engaging with the university and the Department of Higher Education and Training on other matters that were of concern to them.

by Sesona Ngqakamba

NUM is worried about retrenchments at Impala Platinum in Rustenburg

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) expressed shocked and anger towards Impala Platinum mine’s decision to retrench 13 000 mineworkers over a period of two years at its operations in Rustenburg. The decision to retrench 13 000 was reported in the media today and employees were not aware of this decison. NUM says that other alternatives should be explored, retrenchments must be last resort.

The NUM is concerned that when mining companies issue Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act they do not align it with Section 52 of the MPRDA 2002, which states the following: “The holder of a mining right must, after consultation with any registered trade union or affected employees or their nominated representatives where there is no such trade union, notify the Minister in the prescribed manner- (a) where prevailing economic conditions cause the profit to revenue ratio of the relevant mine to be less than six percent on average for a continuous period of 12 months; or (b) if any mining operation is to be scaled down or to cease with the possible effect that 10 percent or more of the labour force or more than 500 employees, whichever is the lesser, are likely to be retrenched in any 12-month period.”

Unions refuse to accept Eskom’s wage offer

eNCA reports that there’s still no end in sight to the protracted wage negotiations between Eskom and workers unions. This is despite trade union Solidarity accepting the company’s wage offer.  NUM and Numsa are digging in their heels and are not budging. Eskom said its latest offer is final.

Power supply has been hampered this past week following strikes by employees at power plants. The power utility is reporting acts of sabotage. The unions say they will not rest until their demands are met, and their actions may include a full-blown strike. Unions say employees will not accept that no bonuses will be paid when individuals at the company have enriched themselves unlawfully without any consequences.

SACTWU RECEIVES SETTLEMENT PROPOSAL FOR CLOTHING INDUSTRY WAGE DISPUTE

We refer to our media release dated 15 July 2018 and recopied in email below. We announce that the COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), has received a settlement proposal with regards to the current national wage dispute on the Clothing industry.

This follows the wage conciliation meeting that was held on 25 July 2018, in Durban. This was conciliated by Afzul Soobedaar, who has now submitted a recommended settlement to the disputing parties. The clothing employers have accepted the recommendations. Our union has commenced its own internal reporting processes regarding the recommended settlement. We anticipate to finalise our reporting processes by this coming Sunday.

Higher education dept intervenes in Fort Hare wage impasse

SABC News reports the Higher Education Department says it’s engaging with stakeholders at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape to find a lasting solution to the eight week-long strike over wages. Workers belonging to trade union Nehawu are demanding a 9% wage increase. They have rejected the institution’s 7.5% increase plus a R3 000 once-off payment. Students have not been able to finish their mid-year exams due to the strike. On Tuesday, students barricaded the R63 near the Alice Campus to demand urgent intervention in the matter.

The department’s Director-General, Gwebindlala Qonde says: “I think it must be understood that Fort Hare has increased salaries above average in respect to other institutions in the country, including above what government has actually offered towards wages across the board.” “This situation is putting Fort Hare in a dire situation in terms of budgetary arrangements so it’s quite important for us to look into the situation and workout mechanisms of ensuring that the institution is saved,” says Qonde.

SACTWU monthly members on strike at Belgotex

The monthly staff at Belgotex in Pietermaritzburg are currently on a protected strike. The monthly members of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) have been on strike since 25 July2018. The strike notice was issued on 23 July 2018, this complies with the Labour Relations Act that notice needs to be served 48-hours before any strike takes place.

About 116 of our members are currently on strike for a better salary increase, the strike also comes after the employer implemented a 6.3% increase without consulting the workers or the trade union. Monthly staff are demanding a 15% increase across the board.

SAMWU Update on Salary and Wage Negotiations

Parties in the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC) reconvened on the 23 July 2018 for two dispute resolution processes. This follows the deadlock in the negotiations which resulted in both unions declaring separate disputes in an an attempt to resolve the deadlock. On the 16th July, SAMWU attended conciliation which was referred by the other union with the intention of seeking the enforcement of the facilitator’s report which was overwhelmingly rejected by municipal workers in its current form. That conciliated process remained unresolved and as such a certificate on non-resolution was issued by the commissioner.

Our conciliation was scheduled and held on Monday 23 July, this matter also was not resolved and as such a certificate of non-resolution was issued. This therefore resulted a joint arbitration of mutual interest held immediately after the conciliation. Parties are now awaiting the arbitration award which will be presented by the commissioner which we trust will take into account our submissions particularly that of low earning employees. Once this is done parties will return to the Bargaining Committee for further deliberations.