DISPUTES AND INDUSTRIAL ACTION

Social workers and care takers on strike

A nationwide strike of around 6,000 social workers and care givers have been continuing for the past ten days, even though there has been an injunction against the strikers.   The workers, who earn a minimum salary of R6,000 a month, are demanding a 14% increase.  A five-month old baby and the head of a care center for children in KwaZulu-Natal, have died during the course of the strike.  Instances of intimidation have been reported countrywide and Gauteng has been hit the hardest, resulting in more than 90 children being moved out of state-run facilities into NGOs because strikers blockaded the care centers.

Public Protector and Parliament to investigate Road Accident Fund

Seemingly as part of the current strike action by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) at the Road Accident Fund (RAF), Numsa is referring complaints to the to the Public Protector (PP) and to Parliament, saying the fund could be “mismanaging” motorists’ personal information. Numsa also wants the PP to investigate how legal issues at the fund are affecting day-to-day operations.  The RAF has been technically insolvent since 1981.   Numsa represents about 36% of the RAF’s staff.  More than 800 Numsa members commenced strike action last Thursday after wage talks deadlocked.  The employees also complained of huge pay disparities and a lack of supporting equipment.

Harmony’s Kusasalethu mine employees on strike

Employees at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine, near Carletonville, commenced strike action on Thursday seemingly as a reprisal for its suspension of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu) branch leadership, which encouraged an earlier go-slow at the mine.  The branch leadership was suspended after only 25% of the Kusasalethu workforce reported for duty on Wednesday.  That go-slow was in response to disciplinary procedures against 40 employees, following an illegal sit-in at Kusasalethu in January.

Msunduzi TVET and unpaid allowances

Several Msunduzi TVET students allegedly sustained injuries when the police fired at them last Wednesday while they were protesting outside the college’s central offices.  The students embarked on a go-slow and marched to the office to hand over a memorandum of grievances over unpaid allowances owed to them since 2016.  The students said other Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students have received the outstanding balance of the money owed to them, but they have been left out.

REMUNERATION

Traditional leaders’ remuneration

During public hearings for comments on the amended Eastern Cape Traditional Leadership and Governance Bill, it emerged that traditional leaders in the province want a 13th cheque and for the premier’s powers to decide on traditional affairs curtailed.  The Bill was passed by the Bhisho legislature last week Thursday.  Royals across the province told the portfolio committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs that 2017 was the year in which they should get salary increases and travel allowances.  Headmen and headwomen in the province were paid R90,320 a year‚ chiefs R179,000 and the three kings R973,350 each.

JOB MARKET, JOB CREATION, RESTRUCTURING AND RETRENCHMENTS

New Ballito mall: protesters demand jobs for youth

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) was joined by hundreds of others in a protest on Thursday that ended at the new Ballito Junction Regional Mall, demanding for jobs for the youth. The protesters set a sugarcane field alight on the way to the mall.  KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC Youth League secretary, Thanduxolo Sabelo, handed a memorandum to the developers.

Cape Town employers asked to introduce flexi working hours to reduce traffic congestion

Cape Town employers are to be asked to introduce flexible working hours and allow remote working as part of a strategy to reduce congestion on the city’s roads.  The strategy, which will be presented to council for approval next week, proposes carpooling, public transport and parking incentives to alleviate regular peak hours.  Cape Town is said to be the most congested city in SA.  It will be spending R750 million over the next five years to address infrastructure problems that contribute to congestion.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Compensation of ex-mine workers

On Thursday, Deputy Mineral Resources Minister Godfrey Oliphant reported that the efforts to reach out and compensate former mineworkers, many who are from neighboring countries, have not been satisfactory.  In his keynote address at the Southern Africa Trust summit on social security and compensation benefits, he indicated that government was exploring ways of expediting the identification and payment to the former miners across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Some of the major challenges are caused by the former mineworkers not having the requisite documents.

UNION POLITICS

Numsa seeks members’ support for new federation

Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has called on members to support the formation of a new labour federation and workers’ party.  He said details would be revealed at an appropriate time.  Jim was addressing hundreds of Numsa members who travelled from all parts of the country to attend the Mbuyiselo Ngwenda memorial lecture in New Brighton on Sunday. Jim also took a swipe at Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa over the R3,500 minimum wage, saying it was a “slavery wage”.  He also hit out at the government for wanting to “tamper” with the right of workers to strike.

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