DISPUTES, INDUSTRIAL ACTION & DEMONSTRATIONS

Sibanye and Amcu

  • Details of the Sibanye/Amcu deal that averted strike action at Sibanye’s gold mines emerged this week.
  • The strike was averted by Sibanye and Amcu reaching agreement on an additional R25 per month increase.
  • The total cost for Sibanye is estimated at R13,2m which is much cheaper than protracted strike action.
  • Commentators are of the opinion that the deal between Sibanye and Amcu should have little effect on the Platinum negotiations which will commence soon. However, the deal itself is a credit to both the leadership abilities and stature of Neal Froneman and Joseph Mathunjwa.

Uasa strike at Comair

  • Operations at the domestic and international portals of both Kulula and British Airways, both operated by Comair, were delayed by about 15 minutes on Thursday morning as workers belonging to the United Associations of South Africa (Uasa) downed tools and picketed in the face of ongoing wage negotiations.
  • Uasa is demanding a 30% increase over a three-year period, while Comair is offering a 22.5% increase for the same period.
  • The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) on Thursday came out in full support of the industrial action by its affiliated union, the United Association of SA (Uasa).

Shoprite

  • The strike by members of the General Industries Workers’ Union (Giwusa), at Shoprite’s distribution centre in Centurion ended with final warnings issued to those participating.
  • Four of the workers’ leaders were “excluded” from the agreement to return to work, pointing to their possible dismissal due to the unprotected action.

Telkom

  • About 150 members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Thursday marched to the ANC’s headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg demanded that the governing ANC shake-up the board of Telkom and remove CEO Sipho Maseko by the end of the April, or face rolling mass action.
  • The CWU demands included an end to outsourcing at fully and partially state-owned entities, and that all departments extensively use SA Post Office (Sapo) services.  The union wants an end to all job cuts at Telkom and board changes by the end of the month, saying previous assurances by ANC leaders and government ministers had been unmet, and the union’s concerns often received “no response”.

JOB MARKET: JOB CREATION & RETRENCHMENTS

Cosatu to meet with all unions at Gupta businesses

  • Following notices issued by banks and an announcement by Oakbay that worker salaries could be in danger of not getting paid due to the developments, Cosatu met Oakbay Investments director Nazeem Howa to discuss the issue.
  • Cosatu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said after meeting with Howa that the federation had resolved to meet all unions organising at Gupta businesses.  “After that we will then make a meeting request with officials from the Presidency, national Treasury and the major banks.  We cannot sit on the side-lines while there is a risk of 4,000 jobs being lost,” he said.
  • Pamla added that at the meeting with Howa, it was explained to him that the Gupta’s companies, especially The New Age Media, were horrible employers and Cosatu’s efforts to intervene in the banking matter were only meant to save the workers.  At its congress in November, Cosatu labelled the Gupta-owned broadcaster ANN7 as the worst employer in the country.

UNION POLITICS

Workers’ Association Union

  • City Press and Rapport both carried reports on the Workers’ Association Union (WAU) that was formed in record time in 2014 to oppose Amcu.
  • According to the report, Thebe Maswabi, who was part of a breakaway faction from Amcu in 2013, formed the union and in this was bankrolled by government (he implicated President Zuma).
  • These allegations are part of a high court case involving the financial affairs of the WAU. Maswabi is claiming about R120-m from the President and ministers after (allegedly) they stopped funding him in 2014 and he had to finance the union on his own.
  • In January 2014 the Mail and Guardian reported on rumours that the WAU is ANC funded. Most other agencies suspected overseas funding particularly since various European NGO’s became involved after the Marikana incident.

Plans for new labour federation

  • Unions backing the anticipated new labour federation say its launch will go ahead on 1 May in Tembisa as planned. These are mostly breakaway unions from Cosatu after the federation expelled Zwelinzima Vavi as general-secretary.
  • The launch would be preceded by a worker’s summit to be held in Boksburg on 30 April where it is expected delegates representing 40 unions will come up with the name, colours and constitution of the federation.
  • Zwelinzima Vavi, said on Tuesday that they were aware the federation would only be fully functional in years to come due to the complexities of such a formation.  He added that the new organisation would focus on exposing and fighting anti-worker legislation by putting pressure on the state to improve its policies.
  • It would also focus on attracting the 7.4 million unorganised workers in the formal sector
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