Nehawu and parliament

  • The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) stated it would continue to meet Parliament’s management over the disputed bonus calculations until there was an agreement.
  • Their demand is for Parliament to pay performance bonuses based on annual total packages.
  • Last Wednesday Parliament opted to lock out striking Nehawu members in a bid to stop further disruptions to the last sittings of the year.


Johannesburg Municipality: Pikitup

  • After turning violent last Tuesaday, there was a large police presence at the Pikitup headquarters in Braamfontein on Wednesday to protect people and property from workers involved in an unprotected strike.
  • According to the SA Municipal Workers’Union (Samwu) the reason for the strike is that the Pikitup salaries are not on the same scale as that of other municipal employees (i.e. internal salary equity), changes to the funeral transport scheme (the Company is now paying R5,000 towards a funeral and does not carry the total transport cost of a funeral). 

Woolworths’ trade with Israel

  • Six Cosatu affiliates (Nehawu, Sadtu, Popcru, CWU, Limusa and Saccawu) threatened to “flex their muscles” in the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) if Woolworths did not end its trade with Israel.
  • The threat amounts to them lobbying through the Government Employees Pension Fund, the UIF and through other avenues for the PIC to divest from Woolworths.
  • The PIC is one of Woolworths’ largest institutional shareholders.  The GEPF accounts for almost 90% of assets managed by the PIC, and many contributors to the fund are union members.
  • Woolworths in response stated that it did not source any products from the Palestinian occupied territories, while less than 0.1% of its food was sourced from the Middle East


ConCourt: Gay minister’s dismissal case

  • The Constitutional Court refused to hear an appeal by a gay church minister who claimed she was the victim of unfair discrimination by the Methodist church.
  • The church dismissed Ecclesia de Lange as a minister in February 2010, soon after she announced her plans to wed her same-sex partner.
  • De Lange referred the matter to arbitration in terms of the church’s laws but the parties were unable to agree on the terms of the arbitration.
  • De Lange then launched an application before the Cape Town High Court to set aside the arbitration agreement.  The high court dismissed her application, and so did the Supreme Court of Appeal.
  • In a unanimous judgment written by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, the Constitutional Court said an unfair discrimination claim had to be heard by the Equality Court first.
  • Freedom of Religion South Africa leader Reverend Moss Ntlha said the judgment recognised that churches had a right to decide what they regarded as a marriage.

Solidarity accuses M-Net of discriminating against whites

  • Trade union Solidarity accused pay channel M-Net of discriminating unfairly against white people.
  • This came after M-Net indicated in a recent advertisement that only black, Indian and coloured candidates could apply for a paid internship programme offered by M-Net’s Magic in Motion Academy.
  • According to the advert, up to 20 individuals can be accommodated in the programme.
  • According to Dirk Groenewald, Head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, the advert does not comply with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) and “boils down to nothing but the total exclusion of white people” and amounts to an unlawful quota system.”
  • Solidarity has requested M-Net to amend the advertisement, failing which it will lodge an official complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission.



COSATU Congress

  1. Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant “threatened” unions to expose them regarding labour brokering because some of its affiliates’ investment arms had stakes in such companies (although Numsa is no longer part of COSATU, it has stakes in more than one labour broking company).  The investment arms allegedly sometimes did business in the very sectors in which the unions were organising, with the unions then taking 80% of the returns for “administrative costs” and 20% being left for workers (the latter has been a practice in the East Rand industrial areas for a long time).

In some cases, investment companies were registered in the name of individual union leaders (cases are known to Masimong where union shaft stewards of Numsa and other unions get monthly “kick-backs” from labour broking companies).

This meant Cosatu was fighting for a ban on labour brokers while acting in cahoots with companies using labour brokers.  Cosatu resolved on Wednesday to continue its fight for an outright ban on labour brokers, saying it would conduct an audit of the use of labour brokers in and by its affiliated unions.

  1. Oliphant also lamented the frequency of strikes in South Africa, saying they’re becoming a “fashion statement” and are being used to demonstrate popular support.  She said strikes were no longer being considered as a last resort, and voiced concern about what she called a lack of leadership from union bosses.  “It does not seem like the cost and benefit analysis informs the union leadership when deciding to call workers out on strike, and at which point does it need to be called off,” Oliphant opined.
  1. At the conference it was also revealed that South Africa has 185 registered unions and 23 federations, but only 27 percent of the workforce was unionised.
  1. Cosatu affiliates seemingly also backed South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the tripartite alliance from 2017.  In a tacit endorsement of Ramaphosa succeeding President Jacob Zuma as leader of the African National Congress (ANC), the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) put forward a proposal that sought a reaffirmation of the principle that the ANC deputy president would accede to the party’s top position, and also to president of the country.  The Sadtu proposal was endorsed by the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the SA Clothing and Textiles Workers’ Union (Sactwu) and the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa).  Unions were careful not to mention names but emphasised that the principle that the deputy president of the ANC should become its leader would boost confidence and bring stability to the ANC.
  1. News television channel, ANN7, was named the worst employer in South Africa. The news channel beat other “bad employers” such as Telkom, the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg and television channel
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