REMUNERATION AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Sasol Mining

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) indicated on Thursday that four trade unions have concluded a three-year wage agreement with Sasol Mining.  NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the NUM, the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (Ceppwawu), the SA Chemical Workers Union (Sacwu) and Solidarity had signed the agreement.  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) did not sign and remains on strike.

In terms of the agreement, the minimum salary would be increased by R1,000, from R7,300 a month to R8,300, effective from next month.  The minimum monthly salary will increase from R8,300 to R8,800 from 1 July 2017 and to R9,300 from 1 July 2018.

Amplats wage agreement

The Labour Court has dismissed an application brought by two minority unions at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) to block a three year wage agreement concluded with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).  The United Association of SA (Uasa), together with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), attempted to halt the implementation of the agreement on the grounds that there was no conclusion from the central bargaining forum, where all the parties were represented.

Robertson Winery

The 12 week strike at Robertson Winery (RW) has reached a deadlock yet again.  More than 200 workers have been demanding an R8,500 monthly salary, substantially up on the current R2,900 and R3,500.  According to the Commercial Stevedoring Agriculture and Allied Workers’ Union (Csaawu), workers have conceded their demand for an R8,500 living wage and have agreed to a R400 increase.  But, RW has apparently refused to accept a peace-clause stipulating that no disciplinary action would be taken against striking workers.  RW is however ignorant of the union’s acceptance of an R400 increase.

Domestic workers

The SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers’ Union (Sadsawu) says the work of domestic workers is not taken seriously by the Department of Labour.  On 1 November, the department released the new minimum wage rates for domestic workers that come into effect on 1 December.  Area A (major metropolitan municipalities and cities) rates are up 8.6% and Area B (mostly rural areas) rates are up 10.6%.  A worker in Area A who works more than 27 hours a week will have an adjusted monthly rate of R2,422.54.  Area A workers have a minimum wage that is about 10% higher than Area B ones.  Sadsawu organiser Sindiswa Ningiza said the union has been asking the department for R3,500 as the minimum wage.  They also want the same amount for all domestic workers rather than the present division into two areas.

Central Energy Fund bonuses

The Central Energy Fund (CEF), which is responsible for overseeing PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund, will pay more than R41m in bonuses to its executives in the 2015/16 financial year.  In a written communication to Parliament, the CEF said that besides the R41.995m bonus provision in the current financial year, the fund also paid bonuses in excess of R193m in the 2014/15 financial year.  The present bonus provision takes place in a financial year in which PetroSA made a loss of R14.5bn.  The CEF came under heavy criticism from MPs on Tuesday for the state of affairs at its subsidiaries, especially PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund.

INDUSTRIAL ACTION AND DEMONSTRATIONS

Cosatu and free tertiary education

Cosatu has threatened to go ahead with its planned national strike for free education if talks between business and the government do not reap the desired results.  Last month the federation lodged a ‘Section 77’ notice at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) indicating its intention to strike and calling for talks between stakeholders, including the department of higher education, student bodies and church representatives.  Cosatu’s threat of a strike follows weeks of widespread student protests for free education across the country’s tertiary institutions.  The first meeting of stakeholders took place last month at Nedlac, and the second round of talks is scheduled to take place next week.  Although Nedlac said the first round of talks were productive, Cosatu disagreed and accused business and the government of not taking the matter seriously.

Retail motor and components sectors

Negotiations in the retail motor and component manufacturing industries for a new wage agreement are still ongoing.  They involve the Fuel Retailers Association, the Retail Motor Industry Organisation, the National Employers Association of SA, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA).  Despite the delay, Renai Moothilal of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam) is upbeat that the process will be completed without any labour action within the next week.

JOB MARKET, JOB CREATION, RESTRUCTURING AND RETRENCHMENTS

Clicks to run Netcare pharmacies

The Competition Tribunal announced on Thursday that it has approved – with conditions – the merger between Clicks and Netcare’s in-hospital “front shops”.  Clicks will assume control of all Medicross pharmacies on 1 December 2016 and the 45 retail front shops of the Netcare hospital division on 1 February 2017.  The merger excludes the dispensing of prescriptions in the hospital pharmacies, which will remain with Netcare Pharmacies operations.  Netcare CEO Richard Friedland and Clicks CEO David Kneale confirmed that specific staff members involved in Medicross and the retail front shops in the hospitals will be transferred to Clicks, on terms similar to their current conditions of employment.  Netcare and Medicross staff members indirectly affected will remain in the business on their current conditions of employment, meaning that that there will be no loss of jobs as a result of the transaction.

Hisense upskilling of electricians

Chinese home appliance manufacturer Hisense will next year implement a programme at its factory in Atlantis to upskill 1,000 unemployed electricians in the Western Cape.  Skills development manager Mark Dammert said on Thursday that the pilot phase, whereby ten people from the Northern Cape and Western Cape will be trained, will take place in March 2017.  If the pilot phase succeeds, training will take six months and will focus on after-sales service for televisions and cellphones.  The goal of the programme will be to upskill people between the ages of 18 and 25 from rural areas and train them in aftercare service maintenance, enabling them to act as agents for Hisense products.

Youth internship plan

As many as 1-million youths could benefit from a paid internship programme devised by the state, unions and business.  Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated last Wednesday that the new youth employment programme would be rolled out in two years — instead of three — during which 1-million young people would be placed in paid internships to gain experience.  President Zuma previously indicated that the cost of the internship programme would be absorbed by the private sector and supported by a negotiated package of government incentives.  Toyota, Nestle, Goodyear and Cipla had put up their hands to be part of the initiative, Ramaphosa indicated.

UNION POLITICS

Possible defection of two Cosatu affiliates 

Cosatu is concerned that two of its affiliates could defect to join a mooted new trade union federation led by its former general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.  The National Union of Metalworkers of SA’s (Numsa’s) October 2016 secretariat report suggests that the union (Numsa) is on the brink of persuading the SA Football Players Union (Safpu) and the SA State and Allied Workers’ Union (Sasawu) to join the new federation.  Sasawu general secretary Manelisi Tyatyantsi confirmed that the union was considering leaving Cosatu. 

Strike fund central to Numsa division

There is division within the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) over the finances of the union and allegations levelled against its national leadership for purging dissenting union leaders.  According to sources, Numsa’s Jack Charles Bezuidenhout region (JC BEZ), which includes six structures including Johannesburg, is revolting against the union’s national leadership ahead of its national congress next month.  A local union leader within the region said Numsa’s national leadership has kept a veil of secrecy over the state of the union’s R12m strike compensation fund.  Members on Wednesday stormed the union’s regional office in Johannesburg to air their grievances.  The problems apparently started when the national office bearers tabled a national financial report that was not audited and the JC BEZ region asked for an independent forensic audit.  Suspensions of local office bearers from different regions apparently followed.  The JC BEZ region has been put under administration

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