Charlotte Maxeke hospital staff to get unpaid bonuses

BusinessLive reports that the Gauteng health department has moved to defuse tension with unions, which led to last week’s  protests at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, by undertaking to pay outstanding staff bonuses by the end of June. Unpaid bonuses for 2016-17 were the trigger for last Thursday’s disruption of services, with operations postponed and patients turned away as members of various union blocked entrances at the facility.

Operations were also cancelled at Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp on Tuesday due to protests.  The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union’s (Nehawu’s) Tshepo Mokheranyana said he hoped the latest protests had “taught the department a lesson”, but in the same breath said the union did not endorse violent protests that placed patients’ lives at risk.  The incident was unplanned and had involved several unions, Mokheranyana stated.

by Tamar Kahn

Medical staff at Mapulaneng hospital on strike

SABC News reports that according to the Mpumalanga Health Department, the Mapulaneng hospital in Bushbuckridge has been operating on a skeleton staff after doctors and nurses affiliated to the SA Medical Association (SAMA) downed tools.  They are demanding an improvement in the hospital’s security after an off duty doctor was shot and wounded at the hospital premises by criminals last month.

Spokesperson for the provincial Health Department, Dumisani Malamule, said a meeting to resolve the dispute would be held on Monday and added:  “Over the weekend we were operating with a skeleton staff, some of them are not back at work.  But patients were being assisted, they did get service and there is no patient that was turned away because of the current situation.  We are hopeful that the further negotiations that we still going to engage on, will actually bring solution to this problem that we are faced with in Mapulaneng.”

Ref: SAlabournews

NEHAWU meets with the Department of Health

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union in the Gauteng Province met with the Gauteng Department of Health as part of mapping a way forward in relation to the payment of outstanding bonuses. NEHAWU is elated to report that the employer has finally agreed to pay the outstanding bonuses for the 2016/17 financial year. On the 5th June 2018, a special multilateral meeting will be convened to further finalise the matter. A date of payment will be issued at that meeting, however, the Department has assured NEHAWU that payments will be made in the current month of June.

 This is a victory for our members and workers which comes after NEHAWU ferociously pushed the Department to pay all qualifying workers their bonuses. As NEHAWU, we will continue to push their Department to respond comprehensively to the memorandum of demands submitted by the union on the 16thMarch 2018. The union says its members are highly incensed by the refusal of the Department to respond to the demands contained in the memorandum as they have an adverse effect on service delivery.

Mineworker dies at Sibanye Stillwater

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is deeply concerned that the mining industry has yet claimed another life of a mineworker, this time again at Sibanye Stillwater’s Driefontein Hlanganani shaft outside Carletonville. The mineworker died early hours of this morning at Driefontein Hlanganani shaft due to fall of ground. This is after three mineworkers were trapped while doing their night shift work.

Driefontein is running fast to break the record of fatal injuries in the mining industry within a short space of time after the seven workers that died on the 3rd May 2018.  The NUM demand that a Day of Mourning be observed at Driefontein Mine and must not operate in honour and respect of the mineworker who died early hours of this morning. The fatalities that are happening at Sibanye Stillwater are totally unacceptable. One death is one death too many

Protest action unfolds at Charlotte Maxeke hospital

SABC News reports that trade union NEHAWU says what happened at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg could have been avoided if the Gauteng Health Department had kept the promise it made during wage negotiations. The union has confirmed that operations at the hospital will continue uninterrupted on Friday. Operations at the hospital were disrupted on Thursday during a protest by workers demanding their bonuses from the Gauteng Health Department.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramakgopa condemned the protest and called for those who trashed the hospital and stopped surgeries from continuing to be brought to book. NEHAWU Gauteng deputy secretary Gracia Rikhotso says, “ What is also disappointing on our side is that the minister and the MEC are trying to play victim mentality, without taking responsibility because this situation could have been avoided had they complied with the agreement and complied with the decisions that we have taken through the consultative processes in abating this situation.”

SACCAWU takes on Woolworths

Business Live reports that the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) said on Wednesday that employees who were retrenched by Woolworths for not accepting the terms of the conversion to flexitime in 2012 must be reinstated. Khulekani Ngubane, head of the organising campaign’s collective bargaining unit at Saccawu, said that Woolworths had been the test case for the retail sector in the campaign to switch workers from full-time status to flexitime. On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court reserved judgment in the case brought by the union against Woolworths. The case involved 44 workers, all Saccawu members, who had been retrenched when they did not accept the conversion, early retirement or voluntary severance.

Saccawu applied to the Labour Court, which held that Woolworths had failed to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the dismissal of the employees was operationally justifiable. This meant the dismissals were deemed to be procedurally and substantively unfair. Woolworths was ordered to reinstate the dismissed workers retrospectively from the date of their dismissal without loss of pay. Woolworths appealed to the Labour Appeal Court, which agreed with the Labour Court that the dismissals were unfair but did not agree with the remedy since the full-time posts were now redundant. Instead the Labour Appeal Court awarded the payment of 12 months’ compensation. Ngubane said that the 12 months’ compensation was not satisfactory given the number of years involved. Kirsten Hewett, a spokeswoman for Woolworths, said the decision to change to a more flexible model was “based on pending labour law changes and adapting to being a future-fit retailer”. She said employees who were affected were paid a severance package when they were retrenched.

by Ann Crotty

New amendments to ensure transparency of PIC investments

Fin24 reports that the National Assembly has passed a legislative proposal for amendments to the Public Investment Corporation Act to promote transparency and good governance at the investment manager. Scof member and African National Congress MP Thandi Tobias explained that the amendments ensure that no “conspicuous” investments can be hidden, as the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will be required to table before Parliament the listed and unlisted investments through its annual report.

The bill also provides for labour unions to have a say in the investment of workers’ money by having three labour representatives on the PIC board. The PIC is responsible for managing investments of the Government Employees Pension Fund.

by Lameez Omarjee

Samwu to meet Ramaphosa over N West municipalities

SABC News reports that President of the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) Pule Molalenyane will meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa to ensure that the signed proclamation for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is extended to all 22 municipalities in the North West. The union’s national delegation says it will also meet Co-operative Governance Dr. Zweli Mkhize, who is set to visit the province this week after all municipalities failed to receive a clean audit.

Samwu’s president Pule Molalenyane says, “Because of political interference we want people to be held accountable in the North West and be arrested. We have a case where one municipal manager was fired in Limpopo but hired in false disguise in North West. North West is the capital of corruption. So we are going to encourage the president to appoint Special Investigative Unit there, to do a thorough job in all those municipalities.”

by Lucas Mothibedi

Is singing a song a dismissible offence? ConCourt to rule

eNCA reports that the Constitutional Court will on Thursday hear an application about whether workers can be fired for singing certain struggle songs. In 2013, nine Duncanmec employees in Germiston were fired for singing a song which included the words “my mother is rejoicing when we hit the boers”.

The Engineering Bargaining Council and the Labour Court ordered that the employees be reinstated. But the employer argues their relationship has broken down irreparably.

Limpopo Municipality workers down tools

SABC News reports that some of the workers at the Modimolle-Mookgopong Local Municipality in Limpopo have stopped working, demanding to be paid their salaries. The workers were supposed to be paid on Friday, but the municipality sent SMSes informing them that they will only be paid this week. South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) provincial spokesperson, Patric Aphane, says the municipality is treating some workers unfairly as others have been paid.

“The problem is that the municipality claims to be bankrupt and we are quite astonished about that. We have instructed our workers not to go to work because they can’t work and not to be paid. The problem is when they start to pay a faction of employees and not pay others – when should employees be paid or not be paid at all? We will be raising the issue with the MEC,” says Aphane. Modimolle-Mookgopong Mayor Marlene Van Staden says the municipality is raising R1.8 to pay the remaining workers.