DISPUTES, INDUSTRIAL ACTION & DEMONSTRATIONS

Safair and Solidarity recognition

  • Solidarity and Safair, holding company of low-cost airline FlySafair, are still in “dispute” about Solidarity being recognised at the company.
  • This follows the CCMA dismissing an appeal by the union on the grounds that it was attempting to exercise organisational rights it was not entitled to.
  • According to the CCMA, it rescinded its earlier decision as having been “erroneous” and substituted it with what Solidarity regards as a submission that provides the union with legal protection to proceed with industrial action if so mandated by its members.

eNCA dress policy

  • Television broadcaster eNCA says it has started consultations with its employees over its policy around the wearing of “doeks” following claims that the broadcaster canned a story because the reporter was wearing a headscarf.
  • News director Mapi Mhlangu said they were reviewing the policy with its staff and added:  “The issue of a doek is merely a symptom for a larger call for change in contemporary South Africa.  It is not an issue that could be resolved by quick tactical intervention.”
  • But the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has accused the broadcaster of being anti-black.

Possible Santaco taxi strike

  • The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) indicated that plans for a taxi strike in Gauteng at the end of June 2016 are going ahead.
  • This comes after talks between Santaco and the Gauteng Provincial Government, which were aimed at tackling a number of issues affecting the taxi industry, failed to materialise.

Numsa and MEIBC levy agreements

  • The National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) has declared a dispute with employers over the extension of levy agreements which lapsed on 31 May 2016 to non-party members at the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC).
  • The dispute was sparked by employers’ organisations, which include the National Employers’ Association of SA (Neasa) and the SA Engineers and Founders Association, refusing to agree to the extension of levy agreements to non-party members.
  • This development has left MEIBC general secretary Thulani Mthiyane concerned that his office would now operate without 20% to 30% of its income.

JOB MARKET: JOB CREATION & RETRENCHMENTS

Keaton Energy’s Vaalkrantz colliery

  • Coal producer Keaton Energy’s subsidiary Leeuw Mining and Exploration (LME) has concluded a Section 189A process with both the Num and Amcu on 31 May 2016 for the retrenchment of all 80 employees at its KZN Vaalkrantz colliery.
  • Keaton has cited the ongoing global decline in coal prices, force majeure declared on LME by its biggest customer and the unavailability of water owing to the continued drought in the region as the reasons for placing Vaalkrantz on care and maintenance.
  • All mining and processing operations at the colliery ceased on 1 May.

Sahara Computers

  • Information technology company Sahara Computers retrenched 40 of its about 200 workers this week after it failed to resolve an ongoing battle with South Africa’s major banks.
  • The banks have closed down accounts operated by Gupta companies, including Sahara.
  • The controversial family has argued that as many as 7,500 people employed by their company Oakbay Investments and its subsidiaries stand to lose their jobs if the accounts are not reopened.

SA on track to hit annual target of 30,000 artisans

  • The SA Government remains confident of meeting its target of producing 30,000 artisans per year in line with the National Development Plan, despite the challenges faced by some training institutions.
  • According to Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, in the past four years an average of 15,000 apprentices per year have qualified as artisans.
  • The government has highlighted the dearth of skilled artisans, workers and professionals as a key constraint to growing the economy and reducing SA’s unemployment rate.
  • Nzimande also indicated that his department was developing a dual system of apprenticeship training with assistance from German and Swiss authorities, who would help in standardising the trade curriculum content and improving the monitoring and evaluation of what artisans were trained in.

Amplats drastically reduces the number of job cuts

  • Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has reduced the number of job cuts tied to restructuring at its Union mine and Twickenham project by 85% (from 2,000 to 300) as it moves workers to other projects.
  • Amplats announced in February that as many as 2,000 workers could be made redundant.

LEGAL

Gold mining silicosis class action ruling

  • Media reports indicate that several gold mining companies have filed individual applications to appeal against the silicosis class certification judgment handed down by the South Gauteng High Court on 13 May.
  • Judge Phineas Mojapelo certified a class action suit for former workers who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis in SA’s gold mines between 1965 to date.
  • African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Sibanye Gold on Friday said they were applying for leave to appeal as they believed the court’s ruling on some of the issues was incorrect and that another court may come to a different decision.

UNION POLITICS

NUM membership

  • The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has lost 40% of its members in five years, from 308,628 in 2011 to 198,237 in 2015, which has resulted in the union operating at a financial loss since 2013.
  • The union’s general secretary, David Sipunzi, painted a grim picture to over 700 delegates who attended the NUM’s two-day central committee meeting in Pretoria this week.  “The union is losing members so badly such that employers don’t recognise us in some areas.  If we continue the way we are doing the NUM will be dead one day.  The survival of this union is in our hands,” said Sipunzi
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