DISPUTES AND INDUSTRIAL ACTION

Internal Amcu confrontation at Implats

Implats has commenced an investigation after a physical confrontation between Amcu shaft stewards and members at Implats’ 20 Shaft. The confrontation, which was contained swiftly by mine security, was caused by some union members reportedly being dismayed with the process/message delivered by the shaft stewards.

Numsa declares wage dispute in road passenger sector

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) last week formally declared a dispute at the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBC) after wage negotiations with employers broke down (this was the second meeting between the parties).   Numsa is demanding a wage increase of 30% across the board, as well as a living wage of R15,000 per month for all workers.  The union is furthermore demanding a R1,500 housing allowance, R1,200 sleeping-out allowance, and overtime to be paid at 1.5 times normal rate and double time for work on a day off.  Employers, which include Autopax, Buscor, PUTCO, Greyhound, Intercape, Golden Arrow, and Mgqibelo, have offered 4,5% wage increase. The CCMA will be facilitating mediation on 6 March.

Time Freight and claim of religious discrimination

A number of employees at Time Freight had been dismissed following what the company believed was an illegal and unprotected strike.  On Tuesday last week, about 300 staff members gathered outside the company’s Durban depot in protest against a manager they believed was religiously discriminating against them.  The manager, they alleged, would not allow the employees to observe their religious beliefs at the work place, but he allegedly wore his traditional religious accessories.  The Company indicated that the disruption was in direct contravention of a court order issued by the Labour Court on 6 January. Edward Mafadza, CEO of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Religious‚ Cultural and Linguistic Communities, said the commission would intervene to mediate so as to come up with solutions.

JOB MARKET, JOB CREATION, RESTRUCTURING & RETRENCHMENTS

Teacher shortage in KZN

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), during a media briefing on the non-filling of teacher posts, revealed that more than 2,800 classes and subjects are without teachers in schools across KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) – including critical subjects like maths‚ physical science and accounting.  The teacher union has accused the provincial education department of failing to quickly attend to teacher shortages in schools across the province.  Sadtu’s provincial secretary‚ Nomarashiya Caluza‚ blamed the situation on the redistribution of teachers as a result of a post provisioning norms process which the union has fought against for many years.  She said teacher shortages had resulted in overcrowded classes while the department was busy redistributing teachers endlessly.

Blue Ribbon lay-offs in Port Elizabeth

A decision by Premier Foods to close the Blue Ribbon bakery in PE and use it instead as a depot, resulted in 61 employees being affected.  A CCMA facilitation process led to 13 workers being transferred to other bakeries, but the other 48 employees received notice at the beginning of February of their dismissals. This has led to a demonstration by about 40 employees last Monday at the PE bakery as well as employees embarking on a protected strike.

Companies have to hire 60% South Africans

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has clarified that all businesses – not just those in the hospitality or construction sectors – were required to have a workforce of at least 60% South African citizens in their employ.  Gigaba said the regulation was not new, but had been tightened to flush out companies that were flouting the law.  “What happened was that we changed a regulation, which in the past said that only a minimum of five South Africans needed to be employed by a company for it to obtain work visas. “ The latter was allegedly abused by employers.

Unemployment figures released

According to figures released by Statistician-General Pali Lehohla as part of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the fourth quarter of 2016‚ the fourth quarter unemployment rate at  26.5% is down from 27,1% in the third quarter. The total number of persons employed in SA grew to 16.07 million in December 2016 from 15.83 million in September.  The biggest employer is the sector classified as “community and social services”, which accounts for 22% of jobs.  It grew employment by 73,000, or 2.1%, over the three months.  Trade, which employs 20% of the workforce, added 24,000 jobs over the quarter, growing 0.8%.  The transport sector added 46,000, raising it 5% to 961,000 jobs.  Manufacturing employed 44,000, or 2.6%, more people, taking the total in SA’s factories to 1.73 million.  Mining shed 17,000 jobs over the quarter, reducing its number of employed people 3.8% to 421,000.  Construction shed 9,000 jobs, reducing its employee numbers by 0.6% to 1.48 million. Of concern is that although the unemployment rate among South Africans with a tertiary qualification stood at 7%‚ it was a staggering 33% among TVET graduates.

LEGAL, LEGISLATION & COMPLIANCE

Kumba and Dingleton residents

Kumba Iron Ore in the Northern Cape is demanding more than R1.6 million from a group of residents of the town of Dingleton after a battle over asbestos.  Kumba says the residents disrupted the process of rehabilitation of a site near a railway where blue asbestos was spilled years ago.  The company needs to rehabilitate the site in order to expand its Sishen iron ore mine near Dingleton.  In September 2016, Kumba was granted an interdict preventing the residents from further interfering with the rehabilitation.  Kumba has relocated the entire town of Dingleton with 25 families remaining and refusing to move.

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