REMUNERATION AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Salary gap between Johannesburg and Cape Town

Data published by online job portal Adzuna shows that the salary gap between the two cities has widened during 2016 to about 18%.  In broad terms, the Western Cape lists 22,230 jobs at an average salary of 13% less than Gauteng’s 53,815 jobs.  The average salary of all SA’s more than 130,000 positions was R375,786.

Sasol Mining

Ignoring the ultimatums issued by Sasol during last week, indicating that the strike action by Amcu members are no longer protected, the Industrial action at Sasol Mining is still continuing with Amcu still remaining with its demands for a R12,500 minimum wage and cases of violence and intimidation still being reported.

On 5 August 2016, the company entered into a wage agreement with Ceppwawu, Solidarity, NUM and Sacwu providing for a 7% rise from July 2016, and 0.5% from January 2017.

Unisa funding of students

While several universities experience growing campus unrest over demands for free higher education, senior administrators at Unisa are donating half of their bonuses, totaling R10-million, to assist students in need.  Unisa’s vice-chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya, as well as his registrar, seven vice-principals and five executive and deputy executive deans will contribute this amount towards the institution’s bursary fund.  The money will be used to top up the university’s existing contribution of R74.1-million that funded 4 555 undergraduate and postgraduate students this year.

Fuel sector bargaining model

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is amenable to the introduction of a fuel sector bargaining model, according to general secretary Irvin Jim citing that bargaining at sector level could result in a quick turnaround in wage negotiations.  Numsa and the Fuel Retailers Association (FRA), the largest employer body within the fuel sector, met Department of Labour officials seeking to get the Minister of Labour to sign an agreement between the two parties and extend it to the rest of the fuel sector.  

FRA chief executive Reggie Sibiya said the current bargaining model did not suit the fuel sector and that the “one size fits all approach (of the RMI model) is not working for us.”  He added:  “The motor industry bargaining model undermines completely the diversity within sectors falling under it.  This is not a sustainable model long-term.”

South African Local Government Association (Salga)

Samwu (SA Municipal Workers Union) believes the DA’s plan to withdraw its membership from the SA Local Government Association (Salga) is a deliberate attempt to collapse collective bargaining in the municipal sector.

DISPUTES, INDUSTRIAL ACTION AND DEMONSTRATIONS

Nehawu and Limpopo public service

The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) says it will go ahead with its plans to shut down the Limpopo public service if its long standing demands are not met.  The demands include resolving challenges around the training nurses, the re-employment of outsourced security services, laundries and kitchens, the finalisation of the parking bay policy, and the scrapping of what the union says are unfair housing rental fees.

Nehawu and Northern Cape health department

According to the provincial MEC Lebogang Motlhaping, the ongoing protests by the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) are beginning to disrupt the services of the Northern Cape health department.  Nehawu members have in the past four weeks been demonstrating to demand answers to grievances pertaining to what they call unlawful appointments in departments.  The union has also complained of delays in the release of a corruption task team report and has demanded the absorption of community health workers into the workforce and the axing of the departmental head.  Meantime, the department has obtained an interim court interdict prohibiting any disruption of any services at Kimberley Hospital and Prof ZK Matthews Hospital.

Rock drillers and Gold One’s Modder East mine

At least 66 rock drill operators (RDOs) are staging an underground sit-in at Gold One’s Modder East Operations in Springs‚ Ekurhuleni.  The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) confirmed that the union members had been staging the sit-in since Tuesday, demanding a R250 bonus per blast.

JOB MARKET, JOB CREATION, RESTRUCTURING AND RETRENCHMENTS

High level of response for job adverts

Every job advertised by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality attracts up to 500 applications, forcing the municipality to rethink its recruitment strategy.  There are currently only nine staff members who process applications and, if 1,000 jobs were to be advertised, there could be up to 500,000 applications.

The metro has registered as an employer with the Department of Labour, hoping to use its database to fill some of the critical vacancies in the municipality which are less senior.  It is also looking at job and applications computer terminals.

COMMUNITY, LEGAL AND GENERAL

Rift in Ceppwawu

The crisis that has gripped the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) is deepening, with a call from one provincial leader for the suspension of the general secretary (GS).  In a grievance application, Free State secretary Klaas Hlehlethe accuses GS Simon Mofokeng of fraud and illegally interfering in the region’s affairs.  The Cosatu affiliate has been in leadership turmoil for years, in a fight fuelled by attempts by Mofokeng and his allies to grab control of the union’s R6 billion investment fund.  Mofokeng and his allies are also in trouble for forging resolutions.  Mofokeng has further been accused of unlawfully instructing the Free State region to no longer convene any meetings.  Hlehlethe has demanded that Mofokeng be suspended and that all union members, staff and officials who have been suspended, dismissed and expelled under the current circumstances be reinstated.

Sadtu and Eastern Cape teachers

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) agreed to a high court order obliging it to cooperate with the Eastern Cape education department’s teacher staffing decisions for schools for the next three years.  The union also agreed to the high court declaring the union’s directive in April to its members not to participate in the process of identifying excess teachers as an unlawful breach of the constitutional rights of learners to an education.  The far-reaching order included an interdict prohibiting the union from interfering in any way with the department’s determination of teacher post establishments at public schools or redeployment or transfer of teachers.  With Sadtu backtracking on almost every issue, the department may now finally set about transferring about 4,200 teachers from schools where they are not needed to schools suffering desperate teacher shortages.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Gems

The Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) this week presented its annual report to the parliamentary portfolio committee on health seeking to concerns around the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems), which is the largest ‘closed’ medical scheme in the country.  Tebogo Maziya, head of financial oversight, gave feedback about Gems specifically because of recent reports that the scheme’s solvency ratio had dropped sharply.

She indicated that a number of factors had had an influence on Gems’ performance and confirmed that the scheme was taking steps to address the problems, which should improve matters.  Prof. Yosuf Veriava, CMS chairman, indicated that there was no necessity to liquidate Gems.

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