CCMA requested to intervene in DUT wage strike

Durban University of Technology (DUT) has applied to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to resolve the month-long impasse with unions over wage increases.  The academic year was due to start last Monday‚ but the breakdown in negotiations over better salary packages saw lectures being pushed to 12 February.  Management is offering a 6.5% increase in basic salary and a 6.5% housing allowance.

Striking unions are demanding an 8% increase and a R350 hike in the housing allowance.  DUT spokesman Alan Khan said that the deadlock resulted in DUT management writing to the CCMA‚ invoking a Section 150 of the Labour Relations Act‚ which allows for independent mediation by the CCMA.  He indicated that the CCMA had ordered both parties to appear before its commissioners.


PIC chief apologises to public servants

Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila apologised to public servants after they criticized the lack of consultation when the PIC advanced R5bn to Eskom.  The PIC on Monday announced that it would, on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), advance a R5bn bridging facility to Eskom to fund operations in February.  The PIC said it expected that the loan would be repaid at the end of February.

According to Public Servants Association deputy GM Tahir Maepa, Matjila told them that the fund manager had been under the impression that the GEPF had discussed the issue with labour.  Matjila met with the PSA on Tuesday following threats of legal action against the PIC board.  The PSA and Cosatu’s biggest affiliate, the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), have condemned the move, complaining about the use of public servants’ pensions to rescue Eskom.


Western Cape job losses

Commercial farmers in the Western Cape have lost about R20 billion because of the drought in the province, according to Agri SA.  Agri SA said there was concern with job losses, particularly seasonable job opportunities which is as high as 16,000, as productivity was set to decrease.  Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) general secretary Katishi Masemola, whose union represents 4,000 workers in the province, said even permanent employees were uncertain about their future.  He called on government to work collaboratively to deal with the issue and stop scoring political points.

City of Johannesburg in-sources contract security workers

The City of Johannesburg, has indicated that it will soon be in-sourcing 4‚000 contract security workers.  Currently‚ the City outsources its security services through over 150 contracts with service providers.  Executive mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement:  “The City has paid‚ on average‚ R14,000 per security guard‚ while the guards themselves received as little as R4‚500 as a salary per month.  Our approach in this matter was to find a means of offering these contract workers the dignity of fair pay‚ stable employment and benefits available to employees of the City.”  He added that the City was currently undergoing an extensive process of ensuring the smooth integration of these security personnel, while guaranteeing the financial sustainability of the entire operation.

Plans being crafted to re-open Lily Mine before end of 2018

Speaking on Monday during a commemorative event to mark two years since the Lily Mine disaster, Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), said the mine was likely to be re-opened before the end of 2018.  He indicated that plans were at an advanced stage to re-open the mine at Louieville near Barberton in Mpumalanga.  Former workers and family members of the three workers whose remains are still trapped underground at the mine gathered to remember them.  The three were among a group of 79 workers who were trapped underground when in 2016 the mine caved in.  The others were rescued, but the bodies of Yvonne Mnisi, Solomon Nyarenda and Pretty Nkambule are still underground.  Meanwhile, an investor has signed an agreement with the Lily Mine management to rescue the mine.  According to Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation (SSC), discussions with other interested partners are ongoing.

Gold miners earn R30bn yearly

Roger Baxter, CEO of the Chamber of Mines of SA, said at the Mining Indaba on Monday that, despite SA no longer being a significant producer of gold on a global scale, gold mining remained a key part of the SA economy.  It provided jobs for more than 112,000 people who earned R30bn a year.  He further indicated that for every mineworker, another two workers existed in other industries and there was a ten-to-one social multiplier of people who were dependent on each mineworker for their daily subsistence.   He recalled that in 1970, when SA was producing 1,000 t of gold a year, it was mining high grades of 13.7 g/t, which was necessary to break even with costs at a fixed gold price of only $35/oz.  Currently, SA is mining grades of 2 g/t and producing 138 t of gold worth some R68-billion.  Ultimately all that product is exported from SA.


Frans Baleni: Mining Charter should be withdrawn

Former leading mining trade unionist Frans Baleni said on Wednesday at the Mining Indaba that, in the spirit of meaningful dialogue, the Mining Charter should be withdrawn and all key stakeholders must have a serious dialogue about the future of a sustainable mining industry in SA.  Baleni said such dialogue should be characterised by mutual commitment, which should not be compromised.  “Change must happen,” the former secretary general of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) proposed in reference to the unilateral manner in which the controversial Mining Charter III was gazetted without consultation by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.  He argued that fundamental transformation could coexist with sustainable mining, which was essential to the new definition of prosperity.

Deputy Minister wants to gradually legalise illegal mining

Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant, announced at the Mining Indaba on Thursday that the government had taken a decision to gradually regularise the activities of illegal miners on a merit basis.  Illegal mining is prevalent in SA and forms part of an underground economy, with spates of violence between the operators.  “The only way to minimize and combat illegal mining is to legalize it.  We have taken a decision that says where it is safe to do so, let us legalize,” Oliphant told delegates at the Mining Indaba.  He went on to say:  “We will deal with each situation as it comes.  The dangerous ones are in Gauteng because they go underground, they mine the pillars, and as you’ve seen the number of corpses because they are gangsters as well.”  In the face of an increase in illicit activities, particularly on diamond fields, Oliphant last month struck a deal with Kimberley-based Ekapa Mining that illegal miners would be allowed to mine about 400 hectares on Ekapa properties.

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