REMUNERATION AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

MEIBC budget

The woes regarding funding of the MEIBC (Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council) are still continuing with the MEIBC approaching employers and employee organisations to approve a budget with additional contributions required to fill the “balance sheet gap”.

The various affiliates will during the next week take decisions to rectify the proposed budget or not. It also seems possible that staff reductions (as well as a reduction in services) may occur.

Bokoni Platinum Mines

Atlatsa Resources announced that its Bokoni Platinum Mines has concluded a two-year wage agreement with three unions, effective from 1 July 2016.  The agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Togetherness Amalgamated Workers Union of SA (Tawusa) and the United Association of SA (Uasa) includes an increase in basic pay of R850 per month in 2016 and R1,000 per month in 2017 for workers with job gradings of A1 to B7.  There will be a 6% increase in 2016 and 6.5% increase in 2017 for workers in jobs graded from C1 to D1.  Various allowances will also be increased.

INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS AND DEMONSTRATIONS

AEL Mining Services

About 1,000 members of three unions last Wednesday marched on and demanded that AEL Mining Services (a subsidiary of the AECI Group) put to an end to what they claimed were practices of “exploitation, discrimination and oppression”.  The unions involved are the General Industries Workers’ Union of SA (Giwusa), the SA Chemical Workers’ Union (Sacwu) and Ceppwawu. The demands relate to the job grading system (where the unions wants a collapse into a single grade of all entry-levels). Linked to this are accusations of racism particularly at the Witbank and Kuruman sites of the company.

Unmarked miners’ graves

A veteran trade unionist has warned in an interview with the Sowetan that the mining industry and the government’s failure to urgently address the issue of thousands of mineworkers who were buried in unmarked graves during apartheid could lead to anarchy.  James Motlatsi, former president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and now recruitment agency Teba’s non-executive chairman, was commenting on Sowetan’s recent exposé about unmarked graves of mineworkers who died on duty and were buried by their employers without the consent of their families.  SA Destitute Ex-Miners Forum is currently assisting about 18,000 families to trace the remains of their relatives buried at mines across the country.  The forum also wants to force the Chamber of Mines (COM) and government to repatriate the remains for dignified burials.  The Chamber indicated that they were willing to assist to trace unmarked graves, but were yet to be approached on the issue.

JOB MARKET, JOB CREATIONS, RESTRUCTURING AND RETRENCHMENTS

National minimum wage recommendation

The National Treasury announced its support for the recommendation of a R3,500 minimum wage by a Nedlac advisory panel. The issue must still be further debated in Nedlac.

LEGISLATION AND COMPLIANCE

Revised Mining Charter (draft)

There are still differences between the Chamber of Mines (COM) and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) over the draft of the reviewed Mining Charter.  The Chamber was concerned that the industry was being set up for failure, because the document contained unrealistic targets.

Among a number of issues identified by the Chamber, was the requirement that it should transfer 40% of the R5bn in its skills fund (presumably a reference to the industry’s Seta known as the Mining Qualification Authority) to a new Mining Transformation and Development Agency that would be run by the DMR.  A new annual levy of 0.5% on revenue will also go towards funding the agency, which will direct money to local communities and education.

UNION POLITICS

Numsa’s Alberton members

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has been rocked by a tribal fight that is threatening to tear the union apart ahead of its national congress next month.  The local branch in Alberton, Ekurhuleni, was disbanded this week by the regional executive committee – apparently for differing from the national leadership.  In July, branch chairperson Thomas Langa and secretary Nkonkhelo Mncwango were suspended amid allegations of corruption.  A group of disgruntled members from the Alberton branch were planning to march to Numsa’s headquarters in Johannesburg to demand that the national leadership resolve the tribalism crisis.  On Wednesday, Langa launched a scathing attack on Numsa Ekurhuleni regional secretary Jacob Xilongo, accusing him of tribalism.  He said:  “The regional secretary reserves leadership positions for Xhosa-speakers.  Our suspension has to do with tribalism because we are Zulus.  We were suspended because we have been vocal about what is happening within Numsa.”  Xilongo described as “nonsense” claims of tribalism.  Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim also denied accusations of tribalism.

Except for these accusations there are also internal conflict between Numsa organisors.

Sadtu’s jobs-for-cash

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said it was unfair and offensive to accuse her of failing to act against the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) after a report pointed to the union’s strangle-hold on six provincial departments.  Motshekga told the portfolio committee on basic education she was offended by the charge by the DA’s Gavin Davis as legally she did not have the right to interfere in provincial education departments.  Davis challenged the minister’s response to the ministerial task team report released in May in that she planned to tell provincial departments to call in the police to investigate evidence of the sale of teaching posts.  Last week, the SA Council of Educators (SACE) also released its own report on the scandal, concluding that no evidence of wrongdoing could be found at 13 schools in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and North-West where complaints were probed.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Cosatu: Discussion paper on comprehensive social security

Trade union federation Cosatu welcomed the release of the long awaited Comprehensive Social Security Discussion Paper by the Department of Social Development.  Cosatu indicated that it would study the paper, respond and engage with it at Nedlac to make sure that it helped workers and the country deal with poverty eradication and also put a comprehensive social security system in place.  The paper was scheduled to be discussed at Nedlac last Friday.

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