DISPUTES, INDUSTRIAL ACTION & DEMONSTRATIONS

Barberton strike meeting violence

  • Makhosonke Magudulela, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) deputy regional chairperson in Mpumalanga, was forced to cut short his speech to striking miners of Barberton Mines on Thursday when he was warned that there were five people with weapons in the crowd.
  • Police have not yet been able to establish whether two men arrested in possession of dangerous weapons (pangas) were part of a plot to assassinate a top union official.
  • The strike, which commenced on Tuesday evening, is at the three consortiums belonging to Barberton Mines, namely Fairview, New Consort and Sheba.

Pikitup workers

  • Pikitup is acting on its ultimatum to discipline SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu)-aligned workers who have staged three unprotected strikes between December and this month.
  • Pikitup said the company had earmarked three days from 29 March during which it would conduct hearings against employees involved in the strike.
  • However, Samwu Gauteng deputy regional chairman Vuyani Singonzo said members had resolved to continue with the strike, which is over disparities among workers doing the same work depending on which city entity employed them.

 

EFF march to BMW (Rosslyn)

 

  • The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday marched to BMW SA in Rosslyn to highlight the plight of SA Trim workers who were allegedly unfairly dismissed.
  • They were demanding their severance packages and their contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
  • SA Trim operated under Automotive Leather Company (ALC), a subsidiary of BMW SA.
  • Mabele Molisane, chairman of ALC/SA Trim workers forum, said problems started after BMW announced that ALC would take over ownership and management of the affairs of SA
  • Molisane claimed that under the new management, old workers started being retrenched while others were forced to work overtime.

Shoprite and outsourced workers

  • A group of Shoprite workers organised under the #OutsourcingMustFall movement protested at Shoprite’s Centurion distribution centre against poor pay and their employment through labour brokers.
  • The #OutsourcingMustFall campaign’s Clarence Debeila read out a memorandum of grievances indicating that the workers were demanding “an immediate end to labour broking at the Shoprite distribution centre, the termination of all contracts with contractors and service providers and employment of all contract workers by Shoprite on a permanent and full-time basis.”
  • Other demands included a minimum wage of R10,000 per month across the board, equal benefits with permanent employees of Shoprite, a moratorium on retrenchments and a freeze on the movement of any contract workers by the contractors.
  • The protesters gave the retailer until 24 March to respond.  According to Debeila, 90% of the staff at the distribution centre are employed by labour brokers and they are paid “poverty wages”.

North West community health workers

  • National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) deputy president Mike Shingange says no services will be rendered by striking community health workers (CHWs) in the North West until their demands are met.
  • Addressing more than 500 angry striking workers outside the provincial health department offices in Mahikeng, Shingange said:  “These workers have been working on a temporary basis for a very long time, rendering very crucial services to our communities … Community health workers are a critical component in the delivery of quality health services, especially primary healthcare … We want to protect them for job security so that they can have benefits like medical aids and pension funds.”
  • The strike which started last week on all issues affecting CHWs, follows several engagements with the health department.
  • A health department spokesman said permanent employment of CHWs was a national determination and engagements were being held at that level.

JOB MARKET: JOB CREATION & RETRENCHMENTS

Sibanye’s platinum bids get regulatory go-ahead

  • The Competition Tribunal has approved Sibanye’s proposed takeover of Rustenburg Platinum Mines from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) as well as a bid for Aquarius Platinum.
  • The two transactions are valued at about R9.5bn and will catapult Sibanye Gold – to be renamed Sibanye Resources – into a fully-fledged precious metals producer.
  • The conditions the tribunal placed on both deals concerned job cuts.  It limited the Rustenburg transaction to 260 job cuts within two years of consolidation within Sibanye, and 14 job cuts at Aquarius.
  • Neal Froneman, CEO commented: “To object to the retrenchment of some employees would have been the wrong way to look at our bid for Rustenburg Platinum Mines because we are actually protecting 13,000 jobs.”

Jobless social work graduates in Eastern Cape protest

  • A group of 30 unemployed Eastern Cape social work graduates on Wednesday spent a third night protesting outside the provincial social development headquarters in King William’s Town.
  • The students were bankrolled by the department throughout their tertiary studies and are now demanding that they be offered permanent employment, as allegedly promised when they were offered scholarships to various institutions across the province.
  • The desperate group, some coming from as far as Port Elizabeth and Mthatha, have vowed to continue protesting until their demand is positively addressed.
  • They indicated that there are more than 660 other graduates across the province in a similar predicament.
  • With another state-sponsored group of more than 200 expected to graduate in few weeks’ time, the number of unemployed social work graduates is expected to escalate.

Job creation by card swiping and e-payments

  • A study by Moody’s Analytics on behalf of Visa shows that increased electronic payment usage created the equivalent of an average of 26,550 jobs in South Africa per year between 2011 and 2015.
  • In general, the study found that the evolution to electronic payments from cash and cheques has changed the behavior of, and in some cases the relationship between, consumers and merchants.
  • But, the study found that expanding electronic payments alone will not necessarily increase a country’s prosperity — it requires the support of a well-developed financial system and healthy economy to have the greatest impact.

FNB job cuts

  • FirstRand plans to close branches and cut jobs at First National Bank (FNB), its retail-lending unit, as customers switch to digital banking and the lender responds to an economy on the brink of a recession.
  • Almost 600 positions will be lost at FNB, while more than 500 people at the company may be able to apply for other roles, said Vanessa Hattingh, a representative from trade union Sasbo, which acts on behalf of more than 50% of FNB’s staff.
  • About 10 percent of the bank’s branches will be affected, with 40 closing and another 31 reducing staff, she said.
  • FNB declined to comment on the number of jobs that may be lost but indicated that the process, started in February, will remove duplication and improve efficiency as more clients use the Internet and mobile phones to transact and FNB increases the use of automation.
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