DISPUTES, INDUSTRIAL ACTION & DEMONSTRATIONS

Northam’s Zondereinde mine

  • Although the Num has indicated that they would return to work at Northam’s Zondereinde Mine, Amcu is set to continue the strike stating that it was ignored in negotiations.
  • The Num is the majority union at the mine.

Sapsu members at Durban hospitals

  • The SA Public Service Union (Sapsu), which is leading strikes at public hospitals in Durban since last week, is demanding that temporary workers at government institutions be given permanent jobs in terms of the amended Section 198 of the Labour Relations Act.
  • Led by Zwelinzima Vavi, the union marched to city hall on Wednesday to hand over a memorandum to the KwaZulu-Natal Premier.
  • During the march the union indicated that the issue is not only in respect of hospitals, but for other departments in the government as well.

Samwu and Nelson Mandela Bay municipality

  • A strike by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) is possible from Tuesday or Wednesday onwards in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
  • The cause is the fate of safety and security staff, who were fired (6) or suspended (36) for disrupting the metro police launch last month.
  • The union claims six staff were dismissed and 36 workers were suspended.
  • Although the mass action was set to start on Monday, the complete shutdown is likely to come into effect from Tuesday or Wednesday.  Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) members will not participate.

JOB MARKET: JOB CREATION & RETRENCHMENTS

No Reports

REMUNERATION AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

South African firefighters in Canada

  • The South African fire fighters who embarked on a strike over wages in Canada returned home.
  • This follows the dispatching of a mediation team which led to them agreeing to their demobilization and to return back home to South Africa.

RBPlat and NUM enter into closed shop agreement

  • The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has secured a “closed shop” agreement at platinum producer Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat).
  • The NUM represents 80% of RBPlat’s workforce of around 7,000 and said workers at the company’s four mines voted overwhelmingly last week in favour of the agreement.
  • The deal will serve to keep out the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at RBPlat, where that union has no representation.
  • The United Association of SA (Uasa) represents 15% of the rest of the RBPlat workforce, with 5% unaffiliated.
  • Under the new agreement, employees who are already members of NUM will not be able to join other unions, while all new staff that wish to join a union will have to join the NUM.
  • NUM General Secretary David Sipunzi told Reuters that if the closed shop agreement at RBPlat was successful, the union could push for it at other mining companies where it is the main union.

National minimum wage

  • The combined trade unions represented at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) may be reaching an agreed position on a national minimum wage (NMW).
  • Should agreement be reached it could be the prelude to the establishment of a minimum wage.
  • Government has indicated that a NMW of slightly more than R3,000 a month might be acceptable, which is roughly in line with the position of Fedusa.  However, Cosatu has continued to press for a R4,500 minimum, although there have been hints this could drop to perhaps R3,700.  Nactu wants minimum wages on a regional or even sectoral basis, a position that seems untenable.

UNION POLITICS

NUM supports Ramaphosa

  • NUM general secretary David Sipunzi endorsed Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from President Jacob Zuma as ANC president in 2017, saying the former union leader has the capacity to lead the governing party and the country.
  • The NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) has also warned that the election of any candidate from KwaZulu-Natal to succeed Jacob Zuma as the ANC’s president in 2017 could be interpreted as tribalism.
  • He also said exceptional reasons would be needed to justify why the long-standing tradition of the deputy succeeding the president should be broken.
  • Labour federation Cosatu took a resolution at its national congress last November endorsing the ANC’s tradition that its deputy automatically becomes the leader of the party and the country when the current leader’s term comes to an end.
  • Sipunzi sees no contradiction in backing Ramaphosa despite his close affiliation to big business.

Damage to Amcu billboard

  • The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Monday said it was “utterly dismayed” and in “disbelief” to learn that one of its billboards had been vandalised.
  • The billboard, bearing the image of the union’s president Joseph Mathunjwa and erected on the M2 West in Edgardale, Johannesburg, was discovered vandalised on Monday.
  • In a statement, Amcu said it viewed this a “blatant attack” on its constitutional liberties and its rights.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Workers cashing in of pensions

  • Based on internal statistics by pension fund administrators Alexander-Forbes, workers cashed in R42-billion of their pensions over the last year.
  • According to Forbes’ Deon Viljoen, statistics from their business division, Investment Solutions, showed ongoing monthly contributions were worth R27-billion, while outflows were worth R42-billion per annum.
  • “These are not client losses.  These are clients who are paying ongoing benefit payments for withdrawals, retrenchments and retirement or resignation where people do not preserve,” he indicated.
  • He said that 46% of the outflows were preserved in the funds that were administered by Forbes.
Download PDF