REMUNERATION AND EMPLOYEE BENEFITS (INCL WAGE NEGOTIATIONS)

Predictions regarding wage settlements for 2018

Based on an analysis of various sources (also our internal sources), it appears that the 2017 downward trend regarding salary increases would continue with 7% set as the upper limit in the case of single-year agreements. The trend towards long-term agreements is also to continue, not really as a measure that assist the bargaining process but rather, in many cases, to protect unions from inter-union rivalry and de-recognition. A greater emphasis is expected on medical aid contributions (to buy comprehensive private medical – the norm in the country seems to be a contribution subsidy of about R1,500 per month) as well as a focus on retirement subsidies to achieve an income replacement level of 70% at retirement (currently the majority of employers are contributing an average of 5% in the bargaining unit fold which is far below the 15% or more required to achieve an income replacement ration of 70%.

At executive level the downward trend is also to continue (in 2017 the average was at about 6%). Remco’s are expected to focus more on performance and therefore would concentrate on getting the performance indicators and weightings right in incentive schemes. There is also a definite move at executive and managerial level to focus both on operating/financial and behavioural indicators. Behavioural issues represented the highest number of reasons for executive and managerial level dismissals in 2017.

EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR ECONOMIC MATTERS

Lily Gold Mine approached the IDC for loan

Lily Gold Mine has approached the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for a loan as part of efforts to raise funds to resume the mission to retrieve the remains of three workers who were trapped underground in February 2016.  The Mpumalanga mine, which is owned by Vantage Goldfields, is in business rescue.  The three workers were trapped underground when a container which was being used as a lamp-room and in which they were working, fell into a sinkhole created by a collapsed crown pillar.  Rescue operations were launched the same month to recover the three bodies, but were later aborted as the mine was declared unsafe.  Business rescue practitioner, Rob Devereux, said the company needed R300m for its rescue operations.  He said the mission would resume at the end of this month if the company got the money it needed and the approach to the IDC was part of efforts to raise the amount needed.  “The IDC has agreed to support the rescue process,” said Devereux.  All information has been submitted to the IDC and its credit committee will consider the matter on 9 January.

Numsa calling for scrapping of SOE boards

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has called on government to scrap the Boards of all state-owned entities (SOE). This comes after the decision by the Eskom Board to re-instate the utility’s former acting CEO Matshela Koko and acting head of group capital, Prish Govender to their positions. Numsa says the only way to guarantee good governance is for SOE’s to be supervised by representatives from labour, civil society, business and the state.

LEGAL, SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE

Chemical spill in Cape Winelands

Authorities on Thursday evacuated farms within a three kilometre radius of a dangerous chemical spill at a company in the Cape Winelands.  The evacuation was carried out as a safety precaution in case the sulphuric acid formed a gas cloud carried by the wind.  The leak occurred 20 kilometres from the town of Wellington and the evacuation measures only applied to surrounding farms and not large residential areas.  The company concerned is linked to the defence industry.

Northwest Platinum belt killings

Police investigating killings in the North West platinum belt were reprimanded by a Brits Magistrate’s Court on Friday for shoddy investigations.  Magistrate Stanley Maribe was delivering his ruling in the bail application of Samkelo Mkhutshwa, charged with the attempted murder of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) branch chairperson Malibongwe Mdazo.  The court was not satisfied about the testimony of the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Johannes Montsho, who was said to have been be evasive.  Stating that there was no clear reason why Mkhutshwa had been arrested, the magistrate stated that the investigating officer was “misleading the court and was not playing open cards.”  Mdazo was shot and wounded on 22 July in Mooinooi near Brits.  Montsho conceded in court that the only reason Mkhutshwa was arrested was that he allegedly told someone that he was involved in the shooting.  In his bail application, Mkhutshwa denied the charges against him and indicated that he intended to plead not guilty.  This was the second time that investigators of killings in the platinum belt have been blasted in court for sloppy police work.  In November, Magistrate Reagan Rosenberg had been disappointed with the manner police investigated the matter of Nkosinathi Mantashe, also accused of the attempted murder of Mdazo.

UNION POLITICS

Numsa encouraging South Africans to join its new workers’ party

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) claimed on New Year’s Day that joining its new workers’ party should be every South African’s New Year’s resolution for 2018.  In his New Year’s statement, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim called on those who “genuinely see themselves as communists” to swell into the ranks of the party, whose name has not yet been announced.  “We call on you to help us build a workers’ party which will fight in the interests of the working class and the poor,” Jim said.  The statement didn’t provide information about where the party could be joined.

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