Lecturers at Walter Sisulu University to strike

BusinessLive reports that Walter Sisulu University (WSU) management is facing a total shutdown across all campuses on Wednesday. The university and its teaching staff are deadlocked in talks about a wage increase, with employees seeking an 8% hike and management offering 6.3%. As many as 2,000 employees took to the streets in Eastern Cape towns where WSU has branches on Tuesday morning after wage talks collapsed. Union leaders held gatherings at the university’s four campuses to report on the stalemate and to declare a full-blown protected strike. Vice-chancellor Rob Midgley has insisted the standard “no-work no-pay” rule will apply for all the strikes.

Mcebisi Jojo of the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said there was only one campus where workers had reported for duty — Nelson Mandela Drive — but these employees would join Wednesday’s strike. Unions are calling for the resignation of Midgley, who took over in 2016 from then interim vice-chancellor Khaya Mfenyana. Nehawu and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have been negotiating with management for the past four months. Last week the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration granted the unions a certificate for a legal strike. University spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo defended the presence of extra security on campuses, saying this was the procedure during all protests.

by Simthandile Ford

SAMWU Demands Immediate Payment of Salaries

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMMWU) has learned with apprehension the non-payment of salaries to the employees of the municipality who until today some have not received their salaries particularly those working in the Mookgophong satellite offices. Samwu says it is very disgusting that the municipality chose to pay workers of Modimolle and left out employees working in Mookgophong satellite re-inforcing the notion that the merged municipalities are still separate entities whilst pleading poverty.

SAMWU demands the municipality to pay the workers without further delay and stop discriminating and or setting employees and communities of Mookgophong against those in Modimolle. Councillors have been paid their monthly salaries while workers are left linger in poverty and starvation. The union further demand that the late payment of salaries should be accompanied by interests for the days which the salaries at in arrears. 

COSATU Western Cape to picket at Parliament

COSATU is picketing in front of Parliament in support of the Minimum Wage Bill passes in parliament today. The minimum wage is a long struggle for COSATU and finely it’s becoming a reality and we will not be allowing those opposing COSATU to claim the high ground on an important issue.

Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality unable to pay all workers

Sowetan reports workers at Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality in Limpopo are up in arms after their employer failed to pay all of them this month, pleading poverty. The municipality, known as Lim368, was formed following the merger between the Mookgophong and Modimolle municipalities after the 2016 local government elections.  It is led by the DA under the stewardship of mayor Marlene van Staden.  Some employees at the Modimolle offices were apparently paid their wages, while those in Mookgophong were told to be patient as the council had difficulty in collecting revenue.  Workers were given letters informing them that they would be paid before the end of the month.

Van Staden advised that the municipality had run out of funds, saying:  “I can confirm that our officials from Mookgophong did not receive their salaries because the municipality is bankrupt.  This is due to lack of revenue collection in the Mookgophong area.”  She indicated they were working hard to ensure that everybody got paid before the end of the month, claiming non-payment affected senior officials.  But shop steward Ernie Mbiza said it did not make sense their colleagues in Modimolle got paid while they did not receive their payments.  Provincial secretary of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) Patrick Aphane said they would call for the municipality to be placed under administration.

by Frank Maponya

AngloGold Ashanti to retrench 2 000 mineworkers

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) can confirm that it has received Section 189 notice from AngloGold Ashanti to retrench 2 000 mineworkers in all its operations in South Africa. The NUM is shocked that AngloGold Asanti is likely to retrench such a huge number of workers at the time when there is a high rate of unemployment in the country.

This is the same company that took a decision to retrench 849 mineworkers in January 2017 and also in June 2017 where they took a decision to retrench 8 500 mineworkers. It has become a fashionable trend for this company to retrench mineworkers. NUM, therefore, calls on AngloGold Ashanti to rethink its position to retrench. They must create opportunities for job creation rather maximizing profits at the expense of the poor mineworkers who earn poverty wages.

Reinstatement of workers at Toyota

The Liberated Metalworkers Union Of South Africa announced that workers who were suspended at TOYOTA will now go back to work. Many are expected to go back to work this month while others have already been reinstated through the efforts of LIMUSA shop stewards. This victory of workers comes after a battle by LIMUSA against TOYOTA. The employer had suspended some of these members for almost a year due to the deliberate delays caused by TOYOTA.

LIMUSA regrets that members who were represented by other unions in the gross misconduct cases were dismissed. Even though it is a victory for LIMUSA that our members are back at work, the union cannot celebrate the dismissal of any worker. LIMUSA said that it remain committed to championing the struggles of metalworkers on the shop floor.

Public Sector wage negotiations deadlocked

SABC News reports public sector wage negotiations have stalled, as not all stakeholders could come to an agreement. The signing of the latest three-year wage agreement between the government and public sector unions, which was supposed to take place on Monday, has been postponed indefinitely, at the last minute. Although the parties remain deadlocked, Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says she is confident that an agreement will be reached soon. Government tabled and signed its final offer of 7 % on Friday evening.

The Public Servants Association refused to budge on signing the finalised public sector wage agreement, halting the conclusion of the protracted negotiations. The department of Public Service and Administration said in principle, unions have agreed to the public sector wage agreement, but no deal has been signed. For the unions, salaries of the lowest paid government workers remain a sticking point. Workers on scale codes 1 to 3, who earn R5 000 a month and less, want those scale codes to be scrapped outright. It’s now up to unions to decide, after consulting their members, to accept the offer or resort to their right to strike. The consultation process could last up to 3 weeks.

by Lulama Matya

Retrenchments at Pan African Resources’ Evander mine

BusinessLive reports that Pan African Resources (PAR) said on Thursday that it had concluded the engagement with organised labour at Evander required in terms of the Labour Relations Act and had signed retrenchment agreements with unions. The company agreed to a R160m retrenchment scheme in respect of the 1,700 employees being laid off at the mine.  The settlement would be paid from debt and cash.  PAR attributed its retrenchment move to the low rand-gold price and its inability to return the Evander underground mine to profit.

One of the potential offsets to the job cuts would be a project to extract the 8 Shaft pillar — an area of rock left untouched around the shaft to ensure its integrity — that PAR was studying to determine the economics involved.  Good news coming from the company was that it was days away from completing the commissioning of a mill at its Barberton tailings retreatment project.  Its second tailings retreatment project, the one at Evander, is on track to start gold production in August.

by Allan Seccombe

Nehawu suspends two-day stay away

SABC News reports that workers’ union, Nehawu has suspended their planned two-day stay away and will see hundreds of nurses who have been on a two-months strike return to work in the embattled North West province. Thousands of the union members from six provinces had this week marched to the provincial legislature in what they called a National Day of Action to hand memorandum of fresh demands to the Inter-Ministerial Task team.

Nehawu had given the Inter-Ministerial Task team 24 hours to respond to their demands that include better working conditions and the removal of Premier Mahumapelo amongst others. NEHAWU’s general secretary, Zola Saphetha says: “The inter-ministerial team has been able to respond to our ultimatum of 24 hours. We have agreed to process issues as listed on the memoradum. Relevant ministers should find time to engage with us in relations to issues of their departments.” “We agreed that we will meet again in a week or two. For now there will be no use for a stay-away.”

by Lucas Mothibedi

NEHAWU to meet Inter-Ministerial Team

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] will meet the Inter-Ministerial team this afternoon to discuss the memorandum of demands submitted yesterday in Mafikeng during the National Day of Action.

The national union gave the team 24 hours to respond to the demands contained in the memorandum. The meeting will take place as follows:

Date: Thursday         May 17, 2018
Time: 14h00
Venue: Brits Municipal Hall, Brits, North West