Lafarge fires 150 employees for engaging in illegal strike

Business Report writes that cement and building materials producer Lafarge SA has dismissed about 150 employees after they embarked on an illegal strike and ignored two written ultimatums to return to work.

HR director Veli Gwamanda said on Thursday that the dismissals followed several illegal work stoppages in the past few weeks.  The letters of dismissal were issued on 8 July.  The workers were demanding the reinstatement of the National Union of Mineworkers’ (NUM’s) national full-time shop steward, who had been suspended for contravening company policy.  Cosatu claimed Lafarge attempted to forcefully relocate the full-time shop stewards from Lichtenburg to its head office so the company could “exploit members of NUM”.  Cosatu will be marching on the premises of Lafarge SA on friday in support of NUM and its members and to pressurise the company on all the issues raised by the union.

by Roy Cokayne

COSATU Limpopo supports NUM Foskor Branch March taking place today

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in Limpopo is fully supports the protest march by the National Union of Mineworkers, Foskor Branch in Phalaborwa planned as follows:
Date                            : 22 July 2016
Assembly point           : Foskor Mine, Main Security Gate
Destination                 : Moshate House
Time of Departure      : 12h30

The following are some of the demands to be presented in a memorandum to the mine management and the Board of Directors:

  • Payment of bonuses for 2015/2016 financial year
  • Demand that outsourcing of the North Pit must stop immediately
  • Quality business opportunities for local business people
  • Insourcing of clinic and security 

For more information contact Gerald Mkhomazi Twala, COSATU Provincial Secretary at 071 587 2872 or Phillip Mankge, NUM North East Regional Secretary at 083 536 5947

cosatu participate in national day against child labour

The Congress of South African Trade Unions will participate in the National Day against Child Labour as organized by the Department of Labour at Cullinan, in Gauteng. It is on record that there are still 168 million children in child labour, 85 million of whom in hazardous work across the globe. 

COSATU participated in the ILO launching of the International Labour Conference commemorative event in which global unions have declared; End Child Labour in supply chains: It’s everyone’s business. The commemorations are organized under the Theme ‘Let me be the Child’ and are arranged as follows;

Date: 22 July 2016
Venue: Cullinan Community Sports Ground
Time: 09h30

The Deputy Minister of Labour will address the community of Cullinan about the adverse effects of child labour.

Chris Dlamini Memorial Lecture today organised by COSATU gauteng

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in Gauteng has organized a Chris Dlamini Memorial Lecture at Johannesburg today, 22nd July 2016. Comrade Chris Dlamini will be remembered by workers in the formative years of the Workers’ Shield after being elected as the Deputy President.

COSATU General Secretary, Comrade Bheki Ntshalintshali will deliver the lecture. Alliance leadership are also expected to address workers.
Part One: Memorial Lecture
Venue: Johannesburg City Hall
Time: 10h00
Part Two: A March against outsourcing, retrenchment, precarious working conditions, unsafe and un-reliable public transport
All workers at the memorial lecture will march to Employers in Gauteng such as The Department of Transport, Woolworths and Telkom from 14h00. All routes will be communicated at the memorial lecture by Gauteng leadership.

For more information contact:
Dumisani Dakile
COSATU Gauteng Provincial Secretary
Cell: 0827271422

Many banking jobs on the line after thousands of employees fail Fais exams

Business Report writes that thousands of employees at major South African banks are at risk of losing their jobs after failing the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (Fais) regulatory examination.  The once-off examination, the deadline in respect of which was the end of June, was meant to ensure that the employees met minimum competence requirements.  Sources in the industry on Wednesday estimated that thousands of bank employees had failed.

Some banks have already commenced with dismissals and with so-called incapacity inquiries against affected employees on the basis that the failure to complete the examinations breached conditions of employment.  Gizelle Conradie of the Finance Union, Sasbo, indicated that they recently took one of the big banks to the CCMA after it dismissed a member for not completing the examinations by 30 June.  The commissioner agreed with the union and the bank had to reinstate the individual with back pay.  But, the bank is taking the matter on legal review.

Hauwei to train 1 000 South Africans in ICT

ANA reports that one thousand young South Africans are to be trained in information and communications technology (ICT) in China over the next five years under a new investment made by Huawei, government said on Wednesday. The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services and Chinese electronics company, Huawei, signed an agreement which covers capacity building, ICT talent training and joint innovation on ICT in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Telecommunications Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the cooperation on capacity building was aimed at sharing information, expertise, experience and technical assistance among the different structures operating in the field of telecommunications. Cwele said the youth would be trained in areas including telecommunication network security and optimisation, as well as telecommunication administration. Cwele said the Huawei centre would provide an opportunity for governments on the continent to consider standards that can be set for gadgets to be used on future mobile networks and for entrepreneurs to spot opportunities to develop gadgets and applications.

De Doorns farmworkers still unhappy about pay, rights

News24 reports that three-and-a-half years after a landmark farmworkers’ strike, the workers of De Doorns East are still fighting for better wages and living conditions.
A delegation, which included the Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Labour Senzeni Zokwana and representatives of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, the Compensation and Unemployment Insurance funds, descended on the rapidly growing community on Wednesday for a roadshow. Unfazed by the politicians’ powerful positions, speaker after speaker took the roving mic and demanded answers for the struggling community. “My question to the officials,” said one woman, dragging out the word “officials” with just a hint of sarcasm, “is, when is the government going to give us houses so that farmers can’t just remove us?” In full swing, she continued: “Listen, Department of Labour, I hear there are a few millions lying around there at Labour. So you can come and put a mobile labour office here. You have got the money right?” News that a Department of Labour office for the area has been approved received a lukewarm response when they heard that the department was still looking for office space.

by Jenni Evans

PACSA says national minimum wage should be set at R8,000 per month

BusinessTech reports that the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) says that the monthly minimum wage should be set at R8,000 to provide a basic level of dignity for all South Africans. The group’s proposal is based on an analysis of household composition, in relation to the country’s demographics – keeping in mind that a large portion of the population is unemployed.

“In determining the value of wages – in addition to productivity, we should be looking at how families are being supported: number of wage earners, income levels, family sizes and the costs of goods and services,” Pacsa said.  The wages of the employed 11.6 million Black South Africans supported the rest (including those younger than 15 and older than 65) – meaning one black South African wage supports 3.8 (4) people.  This compared to one white South African wage which supports 2.3 (2) people.

Harmony Gold reports fatality at Joel mine

ANA reports that Harmony Gold on Tuesday announced that a worker had died after what was believed to be a material handling accident at the gold producer’s Joel mine in the Free State. “Harmony regrets to advise that a colleague succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Monday afternoon, following a material handling accident on Friday morning at Joel mine in the Free State province,” the group said in a statement.

Harmony has been plagued by fatalities of late.  One mine worker was fatally injured last month in an underground rail-related incident at Phakisa mine, near Welkom.  Another mine worker died after a fall of ground at Harmony’s Kusasalethu mine, near Carletonville in April.  A gold miner was killed in an accident at Harmony’s Target mine in December in Welkom following a fall of ground accident.

Based on a report at The Citizen

Kumba Iron Ore halves production at Sishen mine and cuts workforce

BDLive reports that Kumba Iron Ore responded to the slump in international commodity prices by halving production at its Sishen mine and cutting about 31% of Sishen’s workforce.
The Anglo American subsidiary’s overall production in the June quarter was 8.9-million tonnes, 15% lower than in the matching period in 2015 and marginally lower than in the March quarter.

Kumba partially compensated for the drop in Sishen’s output by ramping up its Kolomela mine.  Kumba’s Thabazimbi mine produced no iron ore during the quarter, and its closure processes are going according to plan, according to a production update on Wednesday.

by Robert Laing