Brown suspends pay hikes for Eskom execs

Fin24 reports that Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown is holding off remuneration increases for Eskom’s executives, but she approved a 4.6% increase for non-executives. “Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown … approved a below inflation increase of 4.6% in non-executive remunerations for the company, and has decided to defer the decision regarding remuneration increases for Eskom’s executives,” the power utility said in statement. Brown commended the Eskom board and executive management team for stabilising the country’s national power grid.

Eskom is expected to announce its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2016 on Tuesday. “Our approach to remuneration and benefits is designed to attract and retain skilled, high-performing executives and employees,” said Eskom chairperson Baldwin Ngubane. “We aim to remain competitive to attract and retain key skills, by providing market-related remuneration structures, benefits and conditions of service.”
No futher details were provided about the decision to defer pay hikes for Eskom’s executives.

Monday’s taxi strike in Gauteng called off

ANA reports that the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Gauteng has suspended its plans to strike and march on the provincial government offices on 4 July. On Thursday, during the Ntirhisano provincial taxi indaba at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg, Santaco said its members would embark on a strike and march on Monday.

But on Friday, Santaco’s Gauteng office said the decision to suspend the plans came after the council’s leadership met Premier David Makhura.  This was confirmed by the premier.  At the meeting, Santaco handed over to the premier a memorandum of their grievances and demands, which would have been delivered at Monday’s march.  The matters raised in the memorandum would be dealt with as part of the process towards the Gauteng taxi summit to be held this month, Makhura said.

Ref: The Citizen

Cosatu calls on unions to balance pay demands with job security

Fin24 reports that the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it will encourage its member unions that represent 1.9 million workers ranging from teachers to miners to balance wage demands with the need to preserve jobs when salary negotiations in their industries begin. “You don’t want to get an increase and then thereafter people are retrenched and only a few remain to enjoy the benefits of that particular increase,” Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told Bloomberg last week.

Cosatu member unions this year will be involved in pay negotiations for platinum miners at companies including Anglo American Platinum as well as for teachers and health workers. The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union, an affiliate of Cosatu, began talks last week and the Food and Allied Workers unions plan to conclude discussions with companies including SABMiller in July. Cosatu will advise pushing for above-inflation increases for lower-paid workers, Ntshalintshali said, while better-paid employees could settle for wage increases that are in line with inflation, which was 6.1% in May. “For the lower grades, it really has to be inflation-plus,” said Ntshalintshali. “We don’t determine how much above inflation but it can’t be inflation, it can’t be below inflation.” Cosatu, which is a member of South Africa’s ruling alliance, plans to encourage its negotiators to develop policies that will guide their long-term approach to salary talks, so multi-year deals can be reached to create stability, he said.

by Sam Mkokeli and Amogelang Mbatha

SABC backtracks on suspended journalists

The Citizen reports that the SABC appears to have backed off from its hard stance against six journalists it suspended for alleged disregard of the public broadcaster’s new guideline on what may and may not be broadcast. The SABC is now saying that it is willing to discuss the concerns of the six journalists it suspended for alleged disregard of the public broadcaster’s new guidelines on what may and may not be broadcast in a censorship scandal that has cast a dark cloud over the broadcaster.

Four SABC journalists who had raised concerns over censorship and coverage rules at the public broadcaster on Friday handed a memorandum of grievances to the Constitutional Court. The journalists had been scheduled to attend a disciplinary hearing on Friday, but the matter was abandoned after other media professionals and concerned organisations picketed outside the SABC offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. At least 70 journalists from various media houses turned up for the picket called for by the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) to protest against censorship and the silencing of dissenting voices.
The hearing of a total of six journalists who were suspended by the SABC was postponed to 11 July after they argued that they had not been given time to prepare properly.

Ref: ANA and Citizen reporter

Grayston Drive bridge collapse inquiry to resume

EngineeringNews indicates that the on and off inquiry into the Grayston Drive pedestrian and cyclist bridge that collapsed and killed two people and injured 19 others last year is set to resume, the Department of Labour said on Friday. The inquiry, which was set up after the 14 October 2015 collapse of the temporary bridge structure across the M1 near the Grayston Drive off ramp in Johannesburg, has been deferred several times.

Department of Labour Director and Media Liaison Mokgadi Pela said the inquiry would resume next week Thursday. He said the sitting was expected to continue for seven successive days, except on weekends, until 15 July 2016. The Section 32 Inquiry, which was set up by the Department of Labour after the collapse of the temporary bridge structure in terms of Occupational Health and Safety, will investigate instances of alleged negligence. The inquiry will be presided over by Lennie Samuel.
The Inquiry will be held at the Department of Labour offices (Labour Centre) at Concillium Building, Nana Sita (formerly Skinner Steet) and Thabo Sehume (Andries Street) in Pretoria/Tshwane.

by Africa News Agency

MTN cuts 63 jobs at warehouse

ITWeb reports that MTN SA is cutting 63 jobs at its Midrand warehouse. Following news this morning that the giant telco had dished out millions worth of shares to its top executives, this afternoon MTN SA said it is streamlining and modernising its Midrand warehouse operations to improve efficiencies and customer service. It notes that this business model change has resulted in discontinuation of some operational processes. As such, MTN SA has decided not to renew labour broker contracts when they expire on 31 July 2016.

MTN says it has informed relevant labour brokers providing temporary resources. The number of affected temporary staff is 63, it notes. MTN SA CEO, Mteto Nyati, says this was not an easy decision to take. “The decision was taken in the best interest of MTN SA’s business. “We thank our partners and their staff for contributing towards MTN SA’s success over the years” says Nyati. MTN SA says it has fulfilled all its contractual obligations in this regard and has also directly engaged with the labour brokers to communicate its business strategy.  MTN SA has provided the labour brokers notice of its decision not to renew the contracts and has also provided an undertaking for payment to the labour brokers and their staff for the notice period, it points out.

Icasa workers to go on strike

Tech Central reports that communications regulator Icasa is to face industrial action from Monday as workers down tools. The strike will continue indefinitely, with employees vowing not to return to work until their demands are met, according to a source at the authority. The source could not immediately say what the workers’ demands are or why a strike is deemed necessary. It is understood the strike will be led by trade union Solidarity. A spokesman for Solidarity couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Communication Workers Union (CWU) president Clyde Mervin said his union is not involved in the action.

TechCentral’s source said the strike will affect Icasa’s ability to accept applications from the industry. Signal interference investigations will also be impacted. Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka could not immediately provide details about the planned strike such as how many workers will be taking part and what their demands are. He said the authority will issue a statement, probably by the close of business on Friday, in which it will provide more details about the looming strike action and its likely impact. It’s not the first time that a strike has affected Icasa. In January 2012, workers went on strike after negotiations over pay and benefits reached a deadlock. At the time, the CWU and its members were demanding a variety of things from Icasa, including an 11% increase across the board, guarantees of job security should the authority undergo restructuring, and a housing allowance of R1 500/month.

Ref: TechCentral 

Looming layoffs at Times Media could see 65 jobs lost

The New Age reports that looming retrenchments at the Times Media Group may leave 65 employees without jobs in two months. Group MD Andrew Gill confirmed on Thursday that the company was considering a restructuring of its media division operations due to “unfavourable market conditions”.  Retrenchments would affect workers at its major titles, including Sunday Times, Business Day The Times, Financial Mail and Sowetan.

The company, which has 1,311 employees, has already retrenched 40 employees in the past 12 months.  If the proposal to restructure is implemented, the company will integrate the reporting, photographic and production streams into a seven-day a week process that incorporates digital.  Employees have been given the options of taking voluntary retrenchment or early retirement.  Packages will amount to two months’ notice and one week’s cost to company for each completed year of service.  Consultative processes are expected to be finalised by 1 September.

by Lillian Selapisa

Public Investment Corporation’s investment policies anger Cosatu

Bloomberg reports that labour federation Cosatu says it will step up pressure on the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages the pension funds of state employees, to invest more aggressively in infrastructure and other projects to alleviate poverty.

President Sdumo Dlamini said on Thursday:  “We are not happy, to put it bluntly, with the forms of investment of our pension funds.  Cosatu has consistently been raising concerns about how pension funds or retirement funds of workers are invested.  Why don’t we see our monies being invested in areas where jobs are seen to be created?”  The PIC oversees about R1.8 trillion, making it the country’s largest investor.  In the view of Bheki Ntshalintshali, Cosatu’s general secretary, there is a lack of transparency at the PIC and he has criticised the organisation for investing outside of South Africa.

by Sam Mkokeli and Amogelang Mbatha (Moneyweb)

COSATU Limpopo launches Interim Provincial Young Workers Forum

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in Limpopo welcomes the launching of its Interim Provincial Young Workers Forum, the first in the country, in a meeting that was held on the 29 – 30 June 2016 at Polokwane Royal Hotel. This process is informed by the resolution of the 12th National Congress of COSATU to establish Young Workers Forums in affiliates, provinces and locals of the federation throughout the country.

Some of the objectives of the Young Workers Forum are as follows:

  • Prioritise young workers education and development within trade union federation, affiliates and workplace based education and training.
  • Create platforms for young workers to engage on social dialogue in focusing more on challenges facing the trade union movements and its young workers, governments and the state.
  • Roll down campaigns programs driven from COSATU campaigns program and focusing mainly on areas affecting young workers such as vulnerable workers, free education, national minimum wage, food security, HIV and AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse and
  • Work with other progressive youth and MDM structures to pursue youth developmental agenda.

The Interim Provincial Young Workers Forum has been given a task of establishing same within affiliates and all locals in the province leading to its Provincial Summit later this year to elect a fully fledged committee.