TUESDAY, 18 APRIL 2017 In our Tuesday roundup, below are summaries of our selection of South African labour stories that have been published since mid-morning on Thursday, 13 April 2017.
TOP STORY – BUS PASSENGER TRANSPORT STRIKE Translux and City-to-City reach wage agreement at shop level TMG Digital reports that thirty minutes before an arranged meeting with labour minister Mildred Oliphant on Friday morning transportation giants Translux and City-to-City reached a wage agreement. According to union sources‚ the agreement was for an 8.5% salary increase for all drivers. This is below the 9% offer made by employers on Wednesday‚ which agitated unions called a “disgrace”. SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela said that it was “unfortunate” that the two Prasa-owned bus companies had undercut the wage negotiations by reaching an agreement with bosses. “The agreement was made at shop level‚ and it still needs to be ratified by union leadership‚” she said. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) released a statement shortly after the agreement reiterating that only its general secretary could sign an agreement on behalf of the union. “We only negotiate through the Bargaining Council‚” said a Numsa spokesperson. Translux buses filled with passengers started leaving Johannesburg’s Park Station barely an hour after the agreement was made. Read this report by Aron Hyman and Justin Deffenbacher in full at TimesLive. Read too, Numsa insists no deal struck to end bus strike, at The Citizen Bus strike: MyCiTi busses up and running on Saturday ANA reports that the City of Cape Town announced on Friday that its MyCiTi bus service would start operating again on Saturday morning. The announcement followed the majority of unions representing bus drivers signing an agreement with employers, bringing to an end a crippling two day nationwide strike. “Passengers should please note that it may take a few hours for the service to settle in, meaning there may be some initial delays on some of the routes. We expect that the service will normalise and that most buses will adhere to the weekend time schedule as the day continues,” said Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport. He also thanked commuters for their patience during the strike. Buses ceased operating on Wednesday when drivers from five unions went on strike following a deadlock in wage negotiations. Read this report in full at IOL News. See too, Golden Arrow, MyCiTi to resume bus services on Saturday, at The Citizen. And also, Rea Vaya confirms its buses are fully operational, at EWN Golden Arrow bus service expects to be fully operational by Tuesday EWN reports that Golden Arrow bus service says it expects its operations to be fully operational after the Easter weekend. The company resumed a partial service on Saturday following a three-day national bus strike. The industrial action was called off on Friday after most of the unions and the bus companies agreed to a one-year 9% wage increase and a 1.5% hike in respect of overtime work. The company is currently operating with reduced drivers as some are still returning from the strike. The City of Cape Town also expects the MyCiTi service to gradually improve as workers report for duty. Most are expected to go back to work as Numsa also called off its strike on Saturday. A short report by Xolani Koyana is at EWN. See too, Nelson Mandela Bay bus drivers to return to work on Tuesday, at SABC News Numsa calls off strike in road passenger transport sector eNCA reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has agreed to end its strike in the road passenger transport sector. All workers are expected back behind the wheel by Tuesday. The union said on Saturday that it was forced to accept the “sell-out” deal of a 9% wage hike for the sake of industrial peace and stability in the sector. Three unions, including the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), agreed to the pay offer on Friday, effectively ending the mass action as they represent the majority of employees in the sector. Numsa made its decision after extensive consultations with its members on Saturday. The union said it would continue to pressure the Labour Department to do proper oversight of the sector. This short report is at eNCA. Read Numsa’s press statement in this regard at SA Labour News. See too, Numsa bus drivers to return to work, at IOL News Numsa accepts new terms in bus strike negotiations News24 reports that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) says it has ended its consultations with workers in the road passenger transport sector and, following a week of striking, its members have accepted the new terms. Numsa was the only major union not to accept the new deal which Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced on Friday to mark the end of a nationwide bus strike. The SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and two other union signed the agreement on Friday, with only Numsa vowing to continue striking. Workers from Algoa and Ezethu bus companies in Port Elizabeth accepted the agreement following the week-long strike, and reported for work on Tuesday, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi indicated. In addition to a 9% wage increase, other improvements included 10% increases in all allowances (night shift, cross border allowance, and subsistence and travel) and a R400 per month allowance for the co-driver. Read this report by Paul Herman in full at Fin24. See too, Numsa accepts ‘sell-out’ bus driver wage increase, at Business Report Government issues temporary licences to taxis to compensate for ongoing bus strike News24 reports that the Department of Transport issued temporary and special operating licences to taxi operators to compensate for the nationwide bus strike. Bus drivers went on strike on Tuesday after unions representing bus drivers and employers failed to reach an agreement on a salary increase and other improvements to conditions. In a statement, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said the issuing of temporary licences was to address peak demand. SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela said the strike would continue over the weekend after parties reached a deadlock. Sabela vowed that the union would not budge from its demands for a 12% increase and improved working conditions for drivers. The services of Golden Arrow and MyCiti in Cape Town, Rea Vaya in Johannesburg, Gautrain buses and Putco, as well as other long-distance bus services, have been suspended for the duration of the strike. Metrorail said it planned to continue with an expanded service to compensate for suspended bus services. Read this report by Nation Nyoka, Sisa Canca and James de Villiers in full at News24. See too, Taxi industry urged to cater for affected passengers of bus strike, at eNCA. And also, ANC calls for end to bus strike, at News24 Other internet posting(s) in this news category – Bus strike over, but not the union war, at Sunday Independent OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY Junior police officers in Gauteng barracks live in squalor TimesLive reports that an intermittent water supply, smashed windows, broken lifts and a lack of security are the conditions police officers and their families living in Gauteng’s SAPS barracks deal with daily. Yet, poor conditions at barracks could have a negative effect on officers’ morale, affecting their performance, according to the Institute of Security Studies. At the Herdeshof police flats in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, a constable’s wife said: “We don’t feel safe. People come here to steal. You often find that people break into cars here. Imagine that, people come and steal from the police.” The police barracks opposite the Springs police station on the East Rand has not had running water for the past two weeks and there have also been burglaries there. The lifts were removed in October last year. In 2015, officers at the Alexandra police barracks complained about an intermittent water supply and poor access control. A constable living there said renovations had started, but were “moving slowly”. Police spokesman Major-General Sally de Beer said: “Health and safety in the barracks are a concern to the SAPS and are being addressed.” Read this report by Jan Bornman in full at TimesLive Other internet posting(s) in this news category – Two arrests in Friday’s Soshanguve cop killing case, at TimesLive – Phahlane urges public support against cop killings, at IOL News – Polisiebeampte sal nie tevergeefs sterf: Mbalula, at Netwerk24 (limit on access) MINING LABOUR Job losses in mining slow down BusinessLive reports that according to the Chamber of Mines of SA (COM), job losses in mining have slowed down compared with two years ago. The relative improvement comes against the backdrop of moderate growth in the sector driven by platinum group metals, which are back in demand because China’s economic prospects are looking up. The sustained rise of commodity prices has also helped mining. Figures released by Statistics SA last week show that mining production increased 4.6% year-on-year in February 2017, after recording a 1.4% year-on-year increase in January. COM chief economist Henk Langenhoven indicated that nearly 40,000 jobs had been lost in mining from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2016. He commented: “It’s … still very tough, but if we compare to the beginning of 2015, job losses have slowed down dramatically.” Read this report by Sunita Menon in full at BusinessLive. Read the COM’s press statement in this regard at COM online Other general internet posting(s) on mining – Eskom seeking Tegeta ‘consent’ to disclose value of Optimum settlement, at Mining Weekly – Rockwell applies for business rescue to keep liquidators at bay, at Miningmx INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES / LOCK-OUTS Nehawu members suspend five week-long social development strike EWN reports that social workers who are members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) are expected to return to work next week following a five-week long strike. Nehawu has confirmed that the strike by its members at the Department of Social Development was suspended on Thursday. Social workers and other care givers downed tools over wage dissatisfaction and poor working conditions. Nehawu advised that there were several outstanding issues before the national bargaining council. The union’s Khaya Xaba said: “They’ve accessed all our demands but some of the issues will be referred to the bargaining council and that’s why the strike has been suspended and not called off permanently.” This short report by Katleho Sekhotho is at EWN. See too, Social worker strike called off, at SABC News Department of Social Development strikers to return to work by Tuesday TimesLive reports that striking members of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) employed by the Department of Social Development (DSD) would return to work by Tuesday. Their five-week strike ended last week‚ after the DSD and the union signed a settlement agreement. In negotiations that went back as far as August 2015, the union laid 13 demands out before the department‚ which included higher entry-level salaries and rural allowances. Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said most of the demands had now been addressed, that members had been consulted and that “they are fine with the agreement.” He added that “the only thing we were not able to agree on was the implementation and modalities of the rural allowance and the review of the [Occupation Specific Dispensation for social services workers].” Xaba also said workers who joined the strike even though they provided essential services would not face dismissal but a written warning instead‚ because they were not properly notified by the DSD that their actions could lead to dismissal. Read this report by Roxanne Henderson in full at TimesLive LABOUR AND POLITICS Despite confused messages, Cosatu still wants Zuma gone eNCA reports that Cosatu says that despite messages of support for President Jacob Zuma, the trade union federation still wants him to step down. There was confusion last week when during Zuma’s birthday celebrations Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini seemed to backtrack on the federation’s earlier call for Zuma to resign when he told Zuma to “remain strong during these trying times”. Cosatu’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalitshali reacted in a phone interview that Dlamini was fully behind the call to have Zuma removed from office and that his attendance at Zuma’s birthday had been in his capacity as an ANC member. Ntshalitshali went on to say that Dlamini had not indicated in any way that he did not support the Central Executive Committee’s statement that Zuma should step down and that “there’s no confusion” about the CEC decision. Read this report in full at eNCA On Zuma’s birthday, Cosatu boss offered a friend words of “solidarity and support” IOL News reports that Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini remains the “odd one” out among the labour federation’s leadership, which has called on President Jacob Zuma to step down from office. Last Wednesday, he attended Zuma’s birthday party, which was snubbed by high-profile ANC and tripartite alliance leaders. Considered a loyal Zuma ally, Dlamini called on Zuma to “remain strong” in the midst of these “hard, trying times”. Zuma looked on as Dlamini told him: “As you are my leader and we tackle these issues I need you to be strong.” Political analyst Ralph Mathekga commented: “Clearly, the Cosatu leadership are divided. If they were not, Dlamini would have been very enthusiastic in calling for Zuma to step down. He has been very quiet.” Another analyst, Dumisani Hlophe, noted that Dlamini has a personal relationship with the president and observed: “I think Sdumo’s power within Cosatu is extremely diminished. I think those who do not want the president are the dominant grouping within Cosatu.” Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said Dlamini attended “birthday celebrations of a friend and a comrade, and… offered some words of solidarity and support to a friend on his birthday.” Read this report by Luyolo Mkentane in full at IOL News RECRUITMENT / STAFFING / INSOURCING Doctor shortage crippling state healthcare in KwaZulu-Natal TimesLive writes that the healthcare system is collapsing in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)‚ where hospitals are short-staffed and filled with broken equipment, while remaining staff battle to offer patients life-saving treatment. “Every day it gets worse‚” says Mvuyisi Mzukwa, head of KZN’s coastal branch of the SA Medical Association (Sama). A letter titled “collapse of system” has been written to the head of Sama by Mzukwa on behalf of the province’s doctors. It warns of a growing risk in medical legal cases due to the reduced level of care at short-staffed hospitals. There is only one oncologist in the whole of Durban and South Coast area because they quit en masse due to broken equipment. There is only one urologist in the whole region. There is also a shortage of anaesthetists across the province leading to delayed surgeries. The letter details vacancies at every major Durban hospital, while at least 15 hospitals are severely affected by staff cuts. Doctors say staff are not replaced when they resign and registrars (trainee specialists) are no longer being trained. Read this report by Katharine Child in full at TimesLive PE teachers in limbo after Bhisho placement bungle HeraldLive reports that efforts to address critical teacher shortages at Nelson Mandela Bay schools have suffered yet another setback, with the reassignment of excess teachers delayed by a further three months. Almost 300 excess teachers in the Bay are now unsure about where to report for work on Tuesday, after the process of assigning them to schools where they are needed – which should have happened at the start of the second term – was delayed. The hiccup follows the issuing of identification or placement letters by the provincial department of education on 30 March to 1,220 excess teachers across the province. In the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage districts, placement letters were issued to teachers with a list of four schools to choose from. They were instructed to submit their choice of school by 31 March. But the department backtracked at the eleventh hour and issued a circular on Thursday announcing an extension of this deadline to 31 May. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that the contracts of 227 temporary teachers in Port Elizabeth had ended on 31 March. The latest setback comes after a month-long protest last year by teachers, parents and pupils in the northern areas over teacher shortages. Read this report by Tremaine van Aardt in full at HeraldLive Other internet posting(s) in this news category – What employers expect your CV to look like in 2017, at BusinessTech EXECUTIVE PAY DA wants Public Protector to probe Brian Molefe’s R30m ‘golden handshake’ TMG Digital reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday that the R30 million pension payout received by former Eskom boss Brian Molefe should be investigated by the Public Protector. According to the party, the payout was highly irregular and clearly pointed to yet another case of gross abuse of public funds. DA spokesperson on public enterprises Natasha Mazzone said it was “outrageous” that after only 18 months as CEO at the power utility Molefe would be awarded such an “exuberant” bonus. She added that this was especially so “after he resigned out of his own accord‚ following his naming in the damning State of Capture Report by the former Public Protector‚ Adv Thuli Madonsela.” According to Mazzone, the payment was not just a pension payout as Molefe claimed, but was a golden handshake. She strongly urged Molefe to immediately pay back the bonus. Read this report in full at TimesLive. See too, Molefe scores R30 million golden handshake from Eskom, at BusinessTech. Read the DA’s press release in this regard at DA Newsroom Other internet posting(s) in this news category – DA, Sanco want Public Protector to probe Molefe’s ‘golden handshake’, at News24 – Wait and see says Eskom about alleged R30m payout to Molefe, at Fin24 – Eskom wil nie nou sê oor Molefe se ‘goue handdruk’, at Netwerk24 (limit on access) EMPLOYEE MISCONDUCT / CORRUPTION / DISCIPLINARY ACTION Suspended top cops are costing taxpayers dearly TimesLive writes that suspended senior police officers — including some declared unfit to hold public office, and others accused of murder and fraud — are allowed to hang onto their jobs for years and draw salaries, costing taxpayers millions of rands a year. Many of the suspended officers are seemingly hanging on until they are eligible for retirement and entitled to pensions and other state benefits. National police commissioner Riah Phiyega and disgraced crime intelligence chief Richard Mdluli have to date since their suspensions cost taxpayers more than R15-million between them in salaries and other benefits. Richard Mamabolo of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said employing people in an acting capacity meant that taxpayers were paying the salaries of two for the services of one and added: “There has to be speedy resolutions to disciplinary hearings to stop the abuse of the taxpayer. People must receive fair trials, but if they are found guilty they must be fired.’’ Newly appointed Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has vowed that before the end of the year “all vacancies will be filled so we do not have acting posts.” Read this report by Graeme Hosken in full at TimesLive Other internet posting(s) in this news category – Former Hawks boss Ntlemeza planning to return to work after leave, at eNCA – If Ntlemeza tries to return to work, it could be a criminal offence, at Huffington Post – Ntlemeza heads to SCA to appeal ruling on his appointment, at News24 COMMUTING Metrorail’s Cape Town Northern Line services to be affected this week after fire EWN reports that Metrorail says its services on the Cape Town Northern Line will be affected this week, after three trains were damaged by a fire in Kraaifontein on Friday night. At least eight carriages were destroyed and three more coaches badly damaged. The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage. Metrorail’s regional manager Richard Walker indicated: “It’s unfortunate that commuters on the Northern Line will be the worst affected and we will definitely see the impact of this on Tuesday when holidaymakers return to work.” Walker also said that, while the exact extent of the damage had yet to be determined, the cost would run into millions. There is also damage to the overheard infrastructures, electric tractions and wires under which the trains were standing. A short report by Shamiela Fisher is at EWN. See too, Damage to Metrorail carriages in Cape Town could cost millions, at SABC News. And also, Police probe train fire in Kraaifontein, at Cape Times OTHER REPORTS OF INTEREST Military union Sandu warns that stolen army rifles will end up in gangsters’ hands TimesLive reports that the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) general secretary Pikkie Greeff wants strict action taken against the guards and the commander of the military base which was robbed of rifles in the early hours of Friday. The army’s union has warned that the weapons stolen from the Khayelitsha army base would land up in the Cape Flats “where there is a gang war” going on. Meanwhile, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed that 9 South African Infantry base was robbed, but asked for a chance to do the investigation. SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi would not confirm how many rifles were taken. Greeff said it was likely that the robbers got hold of R4 automatic assault rifles carried by the guards and the few rifles kept in the guards’ room safe. He said strict action must be taken against the guards‚ their commanding officer and the commander of their unit. Greeff also said he believed the incident could not have happened without inside help, but that a lack of vigilance was certainly to blame as well. Read this report by Aron Hyman in full at TimesLive. See too, Rifles stolen, soldiers held up in Cape Town military base heist, at News24. And also, ‘We will hunt them like wild dogs’, says deputy police minister after army base robbery, at TimesLive Other internet posting(s) in this news category – Parliament calls for increased security at SANDF bases, at IOL News WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES FROM 14 APRIL TO 17 APRIL 2017 See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet from Friday, 14 April to Monday, 17 April 2017 at SA Labour News WEB LINKS TO LABOUR NEWS ARTICLES ON THURSDAY, 13 APRIL 2017 See our listing of links to labour articles published on the internet on Thursday, 13 April 2017 at SA Labour News For daily reports, the following are among the sites routinely scanned: Business Day, The Times, The Star, IOL News, The New Age, Sowetan, News24, The Citizen, Fin24, Business Report, Moneyweb, Mail & Guardian, SANews.gov.za, Politicsweb, BizNews Daily Maverick, Eyewitness News, Cosatu Today, Mining Weekly, Miningmx, Engineering News