REMUNERATION AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Amcu and Sasol

The Amcu strike at Sasol Mining is still continuing with Joseph Mathunjwa requesting a meeting with Sasol executive management. However, he failed to turn up for the meeting.

Platinum industry

Wage talks in the platinum sector is set to drag on into a third month after the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) also announced a dispute with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).

The NUM joins rival the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) which earlier this month declared a deadlock with Amplats as well as with Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin.

Wage talks officially opened on July 12 when AMCU met with representatives from Implats. The union was asking for a R12,500/month basic wage for entry level employees.

The NUM said it had declared a wage dispute after talks with Amplats deadlocked. It is demanding an increase of 14.5% against an offer of 6.75% from Amplats.

MEIBC: Extension of council agreements

In a move that could have major implications for the extension of centralized bargaining agreements, three employer organisations and four companies are taking the minister of labour, Mildred Oliphant, and the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC), to court on accusations of improperly extending collective agreements to so-called ‘non-parties’ – those who are not signatories to these agreements.

The applicants in the case include the National Employers’ Association of SA (Neasa), the Plastic Converters Association of SA (Pcasa) and Border Industrial Employers’ Association.

Neasa is also challenging the representivity of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), claiming it speaks for 3,044 employers versus Seifsa’s 1,989.  Pcasa likewise claims to represent 433 employers and 33,000 employees, versus just 12 employers and 1 500 employees for Sefisa-affiliated companies.

DISPUTES, INDUSTRIAL ACTION AND DEMONSTRATIONS

CEO Initiative: Internship scheme

The Internship Programme, which was signed off by President Jacob Zuma last week, has been developed by the CEO Initiative — a group of top businessmen who have rallied to finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s call to put the economy on a firmer footing.

The move is expected to raise private sector employment by around 3% by placing about 1-million interns over the next three years.

The cost will be borne by the private sector, with 50:50 matching support from government in the form of a negotiated package of incentives.

The full package of incentives will be negotiated with government over the remainder of the year with the aim of getting the scheme up and running by the middle of 2017.

 Pilots

SAA pilots constitute 12% of the carrier’s total workforce, but accounted for more than 40% of the airline’s salary bill.  Yet, high salaries for pilots are not unique to SA.

Chinese airlines need to hire almost 100 pilots a week for the next 20 years to meet rocketing travel demand.  Pilots from emerging markets‚ including Brazil and Russia‚ could quadruple their salaries in China which will cause further upward pressure in pilot salaries.

Mpumalanga teacher posts

Teacher union Sadtu says it will embark on a provincial march if the education department in Mpumalanga does not cease its plans to cut more than a thousand teacher posts.  It said the department’s decision to reduce teacher posts from 32,637 to 31,206, resulting in 1,400 posts being frozen, did not make sense considering the shortage of teachers in many schools.

Sadtu is also worried that the department has closed all vacant posts in the province and any vacancy that arises, due to retirement or resignation, will not be filled.

The union’s provincial structures indicated on Wednesday that in order not to disrupt learning it had held lunch-time pickets at district offices in the province instead of all day protests.

The union warned that it would continue with its daily lunch-time pickets, culminating in a provincial march on 29 September, if the department did not retract on its plans.

COMMUNITY, LEGAL AND GENERAL

Gold producers granted leave to appeal silicosis/TB class certifications

African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American SA, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Gold have been granted leave to appeal against all aspects of the class certification judgment delivered by the South Gauteng High Court in May.

The six gold producers, which form part of the Occupational Lung Disease Working Group, this week received approval from the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), after the High Court, in its judgment, certified the establishment of two separate classes for silicosis and tuberculosis (TB) and also changed the common law in respect of general damages claims.

The High Court granted leave to appeal only in respect of the latter point.  The petitions to the SCA were in respect of the certification of classes for silicosis and TB.

Labour department and Ceppwawu

The Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu) has been let off the hook by the Labour Department for its dodgy financial administration and failing to meet its lawful obligations.

According to sources in the union, the deputy registrar of the department has reversed a decision by his boss, Johan Crouse, who has been suspended by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, to place the union under administration.

Crouse was removed from his post and accused of gross insubordination when he attempted to place Ceppwawu under administration.

But the Labour Court ruled nearly a year ago that Oliphant, who has been accused of being aligned to a certain faction in the chemical union, had failed to apply her mind in a “fair and objective manner” when she removed Crouse.

The Labour Appeal Court on Monday reserved judgment in Oliphant’s appeal of the lower court’s ruling on Crouse.

Representation of non-unionised workers at CCMA

The Labour Court ruled that non-unionised workers may make their own choice of representation at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).  The Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) took the CCMA to the Labour Court to challenge the statutory body’s rules on representation.

The CCMA’s rule book stated that only an office bearer, member of a registered trade union or a legal representative may represent workers at a hearing.

The CCMA argued that its new dispute rule 35(1) provided discretion to allow other parties to represent workers.

However, this discretion has never been exercised despite it coming into effect 18 months ago.  The Labour

Court gave the CCMA ten days to issue a practice notice to all its commissioners outlining how the right should be exercised.

Government action regarding corruption

In the 12 years since the inception of government’s anti-corruption hotline, a total of 3,570 civil servants have been charged with graft, the governance and administration cluster said on Thursday.  The proceedings saw the dismissal of 1,694 officials.  A further 438 were fined in the form of having their salary withheld for three months, 133 were demoted and 913 were served with written warnings.

A total of 392 were criminally charged.

By the end of August, information received from whistleblowers since the inception of the hotline in 2004 had led to 18,076 cases referred to departments.  Of that number 16,547 have been completed.

In the meantime, government was stepping up its efforts to prevent civil servants from doing business with the state, and this included plans to ban those who were charged for this reason from returning to government employment for a period of up to ten years.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew MacKenzie did not receive a performance bonus for the 2016 financial year, which saw his remuneration plunge to about $2.24 million down 72% from 2014, when he received around $7.99 million.

According to BHP’s 2016 sustainability report, MacKenzie’s performance-related pay for short-term and long-term incentives both came to zero.  The dam failure at Samarco (a non-operated joint venture in Brazil) in November 2015 was a key consideration in relation to the short-term incentive, along with the ongoing decline in commodity markets and its associated impact on the company’s performance

Long term incentives were negatively impacted by the fact that BHP’s total shareholder return (TSR) over the five-year period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2016 was -63.4%, which was below the weighted median of peer companies.

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