DISPUTES, INDUSTRIAL ACTION & DEMONSTRATIONS

Lafarge and NUM

  • Cement and concrete manufacturer Lafarge SA confirmed that about 800 of its employees were due to embark on a protected strike on Thursday evening.
  • Following extensive negotiations, the company and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have not been able to reach an agreement over several matters, including salary increases.
  • The company is offering a salary increase of 7.5% while the NUM is demanding 8.5%.  Other issues include acting allowances, salary gaps and housing grants.

TUT agreement on insourcing

  • It was announced on Friday that the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and protesting workers have reached an agreement to insource staff.
  • TUT indicated that workers accepted the Tshwane University of Technology’s agreement on the insourcing of outsourced services for a minimum wage of R5,000.
  • The agreement, based on affordability and sustainability for the University, was reached with the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu); the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Central Student Representative Council (CSRC).
  • Contract workers at various universities have been protesting since the start of the year, demanding permanent employment with benefits.  The University of Pretoria, the University of South Africa, Wits University and the University of Johannesburg have already agreed to their demands.

eNCA accused of racism

  • eMedia, the company that owns news channel eNCA, has again being accused of lack of transformation and racism.
  • The disgruntled staffers accuse the media channel of being racist, giving top posts to white people and of depriving workers their right to organise and join unions.
  • The letter also addressed issues that the workers have with the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu), which is a shareholder in the company.  General secretary Andre Kriel was accused of not availing himself to engage with the workers “as he promised”.
  • The accusations were refuted by the company.

Retirement funding reforms

  • In his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma reiterated that a solution would be found on new retirement fund reforms.
  • He gave a clear indication that the applicable Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act may not come into effect in the version that was signed into law late last year.
  • Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP) were planning to march on 1 March, when the new retirement laws would come into effect, which would see workers able to withdraw only a third of their provident monies and the rest to be annuitised.

JOB MARKET: JOB CREATION & RETRENCHMENTS

KCMO and NUM

  • KCMO, a community-based enterprise development services company in the Northern Cape, reached agreement with the Num that no forced retrenchments would be implemented after the avoidance measures that were put in place resulted in the required number of labour reductions.
  • Both the Company (Board of directors and management) and the Num’s local organiser (Bongi Motsisi) put a considerable number of hours into the consultation and subsequent forced retrenchment avoidance programme to be able to achieve the result.
  • KCMO, who is representative of 27 local communities will also be actively seeking business opportunities from other mines and industries in the area to increase its client base and prevent future labour lay-offs.

Oakbay Investments vows to save Optimum Coal jobs

  • Oakbay Investment, which is controlled by the Gupta family, said it would preserve jobs at Optimum Coal, which it bought together with the son of President Jacob Zuma from Glencore.
  • The Competition Commission on Thursday recommended approval of the purchase by Tegeta Exploration & Resources, which is joint-venture between Oakbay and Mabengela Investments, in which Zuma’s son, Duduzane, has a stake.
  • Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa committed “to the future success of the business and to its employees.”  He said in a statement on Friday:  “Through this acquisition we have prevented a liquidation that would have seen 3,000 people lose their jobs.”
  • The sale to Tegeta was agreed in December after Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane met with Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg to advance the deal.
  • Since the deal, Eskom started buying coal from Optimum to supply its nearby Arnot power station after a supply contract with Exxaro’s Arnot colliery wasn’t renewed, threatening about 2,000 jobs.

Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium

  • Steel producer Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium announced that the Department of Labour had put a “pause” to Training Layoff Scheme (TLS) payments.
  • This was in response to confirmation that the proposed sale of the business to International Resources Limited (IRL), of China, had failed.
  • The company, which is in business rescue, said in a statement that it accepted its obligations to pay employees’ remuneration, but that due to its “dire cash flow constraints”, it was “not in a position to honour its obligation at this stage”.
  • Highveld added that it would make every effort to secure additional funding to meet its salary obligations, but offered no details as to the possible sources of such funding.
  • Workers were apparently sent home last Wednesday, after the “Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) had not fulfilled its promise to pay workers”.

EMPLOYEE SHARE SCHEMES

Mediclinic

  • More than 10,000 eligible staff members have benefitted from the more than R1.4bn which has recently been distributed as part of its share trusts.
  • In 2005, Mediclinic created the Mpilo Trusts to recognise and reward staff through the allocation of shares to individuals who had loyally served them over a period of time.
  • At the time, two employee share trusts, The Mpilo Trust and The Mpilo Trust (Namibia), subscribed for approximately 15.8 million ordinary shares or 4% of the issued ordinary share capital of Mediclinic.
  • They were held for the benefit of about 10,927 employees, of which 52% were black and 89% were women, at the market value of R18.40 per share.
  • In the ten years since the first allocation of units by the Mpilo Trusts, the value of the Mediclinic shares linked to the units has grown by approximately R100 per share.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Trapped miners at Lily Mine

  • Managers of Lily Mine in Mpumalanga, where three workers have been trapped underground ceased the rescue operation to first obtain additional technical input.
  • Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyerende have been stuck in a metal container, which dropped nearly 80 metres after a pillar collapsed.
  • Joseph Mathunjwa, President of Amcu, has been at the mine since the start of the rescue operation. He has apparently participated actively in the rescue.

UNION POLITICS

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