Occupational Health & Safety: Know how

In the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act), 85 of 1993, we find out who our health and safety representatives are…

Who appoints health and safety reps?
The workers elect health and safety representatives at a time and place agreed upon with the employer.

Mafube municipal workers enraged over non-payment of salaries

eNCA reports that hundreds of Mafube municipality workers in the Free State are furious, after their employer failed to pay their May salaries. The municipality’s broke and owes several service providers, including pension fund administrators.

Some workers have downed tools, as they fight for their wages. Mafube’s financial woes are nothing new. In his 2014-2015 municipal report, auditor general Kimi Makwetu noted that since 2010, the municipality’s had financial management problems. Last year, it lost millions to irregular expenditure. Now, with a crisis unfolding and hundreds of workers in limbo, the Cooperative Governance Department is stepping in.

The municipality’s salary bill is nearly double Treasury’s norms and standards. “They have around 120 million budget per annum and of the 120 million – 78 million goes to salaries. So you would imagine that constitutes about 70%.” Duma Mokete said. Until they get their salaries, these workers say they’ll halt service delivery.

CWU close to inking Telkom collaborative partnership deal

Telkom’s conclusion of a new two-year collaborative partnership agreement with organised labour does not include the company’s largest union the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

Free State farmworker killed after falling from truck

The New Age reports that a Free State farmworker died and seven others sustained moderate to minor injuries after falling from a truck on Monday morning.

According to emergency services, the incident happened around 7:30 as farmworkers were being transported to a farm on Klein road, Bohlokong in Bethlehem.  It is believed that the farmworkers were standing at the back of the truck when parts of the vehicle’s upper structure gave way. At least eight of the workers fell off the truck while it was moving.

World’s first Apple Training Centre for the blind opens in Western Cape

EWN reports that the world’s first Apple Training Centre for the blind has opened its doors in the Western Cape.  The facility, launched in Worcester on Monday, aims to empower visually-impaired people with technological and IT skills by transfering text into audio.

The multi-million rand programme is a partnership between local NGO Kaleidoscope, Absa and global technology giant Apple.  Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz commented:  “We must stop disempowering the disabled by viewing them as incapable dependents.  They are just as capable of achieving success, and our role as society is to ensure the barriers in front of them are removed and they are afforded opportunities to prosper.”

AB InBev defends cash proposal in respect of BEE scheme as objections mount

Business Report writes that brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) on Tuesday moved to defend its proposal of a cash payment to participants in the SAB’s Zenzele black economic empowerment scheme.

This follows the Food and Allied Workers Union’s (Fawu’s) steadfast opposition to the company’s proposals.  The union will present its concerns to the Competition Tribunal hearings later this month, according to general secretary Katishi Masemola.  The Tribunal’s hearings on the merger with SABMiller will commence on 22 June.  AB InBev indicated:  “Under the AB InBev proposal, participants (in the Zanele scheme) would…  enjoy the same premium being paid to SABMiller shareholders, would see an immediate cash benefit from the combination, and would benefit from future growth in the business, with no downside risk due to the guaranteed minimum value.”

Meanwhile, the SMME Forum, a public benefit organisation, said it would make presentations at the tribunal hearings with its own demands on the merger.

Nehawu halts strike at Free State University for further discussions

Nehawu members at the University of Free State’s (UFS’s) Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa campuses on Tuesday halted their strike so that new proposals can be discussed between the university and the union.

Mokapi Mokhachane, provincial Nehawu (National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union) secretary said that the parties met on Monday.  Nehawu members, who include general workers, lecturers and admin staff, have been protesting since last Wednesday over a 4% wage increase implemented by management without agreement.  The workers are seeking a 7% increase.

Northam mineworkers say they won’t return to work until safety is assured

Reuters reports that, after a spate of murders, workers at Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde mine said on Tuesday they would not return to work until management and police provided them with safety guarantees.

This was despite appeals from the company that it was safe.  Northam suspended production at the mine on Monday, while on Tuesday it urged workers to return to work.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) pointed out that one of its members was the victim of a fatal shooting on Sunday and that five other workers had been murdered at Northam.

What is Section 77?

There has been much discussion in the media around the Nedlac Section 77 process and the role of the institution in ensuring protest actions are protected. Section 77 refers to Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act which speaks to protest action to promote or defend socio-economic interests of workers.

Two new Nelson Mandela Bay call centres to create over 800 jobs

HeraldLive reported that Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) has clinched two new call centre investments, which are set to bring more than R100m to the municipality and create a combined 857 jobs. The two companies, namely Sensational Debt Relief and WNS Global Services have already started operations from their premises in Central and Coega, respectively.

Municipal economic development head Anele Qaba said the metro was also in discussion with two more call centre companies with the potential to bring a further 800 jobs to the city.  With the high unemployment rate in NMBM, the business process-outsourcing sector is a major target for job creation.