Uneasy truce over weekend at Free State hospitals after strike spread last week

Health E-News reports that a week after workers at the Manapo Hospital in Phuthaditjhaba, in QwaQwa in the Free State, began their strike, health workers at other hospitals joined the action. Unpaid overtime seems to be the main spark for the strike led by members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).

By late Friday, tensions had eased and an uneasy truce was under way. An agreement was reached that saw the strike action lifted for the weekend.  But the unions say that if the Free State’s Health MEC does not meet with them to negotiate a satisfactory solution to their demands very soon, the strike will continue.

by Bontle Motsoeneng

COSATU supports the striking workers at Golden Era over wage negotiations

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is fully behind the workers strike at a company called Golden Era in Mogwase, Moses Kotane Municipality, North West. This is legally protected strike as a result of the employer’s failure to accede to the workers demands. So any attempt to intimidate and threaten workers with dismissal will be fiercely opposed by COSATU. Workers are demanding a minimum wage of R4500, thirteenth cheque, 15% wage increase and a travelling allowance.

The employers have currently pays them a disgraceful amount of R2400 and a travelling allowance of R3.25.  These bullying tactics are proof enough that these employers are profiteers, with a disdain for the labour laws of the country and the rights of workers. We are continuing to identify the key vulnerable sectors and strata of vulnerable workers as a way of strengthening our representation of these vulnerable workers. We do this well aware that the majority of workers remain unorganised, low paid, and super-exploited. The wages of the workers at Golden Era might be frighteningly low but half of all workers in this country earn less than R3500 a month. About 31% of all workers are self-employed; 24% are in temporary or seasonal work and an increasing number of workers are employed through a third party. This is worsened by the fact that 70% of all formal workers are not in any trade union.

COSATU planning and mobilising for a one day national strike on the 07th October 2016 during the International Day of Action

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is has already rolled out its mobilisation campaign for the upcoming planned mass action in response to the challenges facing the workers during this year’s International Decent Work Day on the 7th October 2016. The August CEC resolved that the federation needs to embark on a one day strike on the 07th of October 2016, during the International Decent Work Day to fight for the following issues:

  • Demand the total banning of the labour brokers.
  • Demand the scrapping of the e-tolling system including the expensive toll gates.
  • Fight in defence of our Jobs and against retrenchments.
  • Demand the implementation of the Legislated National Minimum Wage.
  • Fight to defend and protect our Collective Bargaining Agreements.
  • Fight for compliance with Occupational Health & Safety Standards in all workplaces.
  • Fight for the implementation of the NHI.
  • Fight for the scrapping of the Taxation Amendment Law.
  • Demand the implementation of Free Education.

NUM is shocked to learn of sexual harassment at Assmang (Blackrock operation)

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is extremely shocked and disappointed to learn that senior management of Assmang (Blackrock Operation) in Kuruman still allows sexual harassment on its employees and not treating it as a serious misconduct. The harassment happened on the 25th of August 2016 and was reported to management on the 26th of August 2016 in the morning. This young black lady is a temporary employee of this mine is going through a difficult, emotional, and traumatic period.

  • An employee is then subjected to polygraph test
  • She is now subjected to disciplinary hearing by the employer in defence of a senior male employee
  • The alleged perpetrator is enjoying his rights at work and moving freely around the mine proud and threatening to sue this young woman

NUM members picketed today during lunch at the company and resolved to picket until their colleague is back at work. NUM is appealing to the chairman of this company Mr. Patrice Motsepe to provide leadership and direct the company to do the right thing in particular for the poor women who works in the mine. The NUM will do everything in its power to ensure that women are protected as we fought hard for the women to work in the mining industry in South Africa.

Livhuwani Mammburu, NUM National Spokesman

COSATU’s back to basics and listening campaign moves to Eastern Cape , East London tomorrow

The Congress of South African Trade Union’s Back to Basics and Listening campaign is continuing across the country with the Deputy General Secretary, Cde Solly Phetoe visiting the workplaces in and around the Eastern Cape , East London He will also be attending a joint Shopsteward council at the Municipality Hall in the city. This part of the federation’s implementation of the 2015 Special National Congress and our 12th National Congress, resolutions , where workers instructed the federation to go back to basics.

Workers instructed the federation to remain occupied with broad social and political issues, as well as the immediate concerns of its members. They said that it must continuously strive to remain a social force for transformation. We know that our influence at all levels is dependent on our organised power, our capacity to mobilise, our socio – economic programmes and policies and our participation in political and social alliances. For the federation to remain rooted and committed to worker control and democracy, we shall continue to engage and listen to our members during this ongoing campaign. This also forms part of the mobilisation for the upcoming 07  October 2016 Decent Work national strike.

For more information , please contact Cde Solly Phetoe-
COSATU Deputy General Secretary on 082 304 4055

Violent protests expose children to harm: SAHRC

SABC News reports that a South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) investigation has found that the violent protests in which schools are destroyed infringe on children’s rights to basic education. The probe has also found that the departments of education and co-operative governance as well as the police fail to protect the constitutional rights of children to attend school during violent protests in the country. The findings were released in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The SAHRC says they have found that protesters do not see schools as being community-owned, but rather as state entities that can and should be destroyed to gain the attention of authorities. Another finding is that the destruction of schools usually has no relation to the grievances of the protesting communities who commonly demand basic service delivery. The SAHRC also found that the infringement on access to education by children has adverse effects not only on learning, but also on security and health of the children. It says these violent protests expose children to potential harm, and additionally deny thousands of children the food which they receive at schools which have feeding programmes. The report will be taken to parliament to be tabled.

by Noma Bolani

UCT dismisses student suspension claims

SABC News reports that the University of Cape Town (UCT) has dismissed incorrect claims that 12 students are currently suspended. Earlier, students and workers held a joint demonstration in support of 12 suspended students. Head of media liaison at UCT, Elijah Moholola, says the university started a disciplinary process earlier this year against 12 students charged with misconduct, arson and vandalism.

“So far we have eight students whose cases have been concluded, while one declined to participate in this process, the outcomes of these disciplinary cases are confidential but we can categorically state that the claims all 12 students have been suspended are definitely incorrect. The other two processes regarding the remaining three is currently on going,” says Moholola.

Doctor in Compensation Fund fraud case pleads not guilty

ANA reports that a doctor who is alleged to have defrauded the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund of almost R400,000, pleaded not guilty in the Pretoria Magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

Dr David Michael Adams faces 29 counts of contravening Section 6 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, and 29 counts of theft.  He was arrested in 2011 while running a practice in Lehurutse, North West.  Adams has admitted to receiving R396,660, which he says was processed by the Compensation Fund and paid into his account.  The matter is set to resume on 14 November.

by Shina Mphahlele

DENOSA worried about mass resignation of nurses

Jacaranda FM reports that  Denosa’s Mandla Shabangu says the challenges facing the nursing fraternity have contributed to mass resignations. “As a union we’ve been engaging the Department of Health about the challenges that have been facing nurses, which some of them forced them to rather resign from employment and look for employment somewhere else, because of the difficulties they’re facing,” he said. Health MEC Sbongiseni Dhlomo has asked hospital and clinic managers to find out the reasons behind the increase in resignations.

Most of the professionals quitting are said to be midwives, neonatal and theatre nurses especially in rural areas. Shabangu says safety and staff shortages are contributing factors. “If this is raised with the department, the department is saying: ‘We don’t have enough money to keep nurses employed.’ How will the nurses remain employed and cope with the burden of work that was done by five people?” he said.

by Lucky Khanyile