Lowest liveable wage the crux, says Vavi | Labour | BDlive

UNIONS must ditch any wage talks based on percentage increases, even if they are in the double digits, and instead make a co-ordinated push for a nationwide minimum wage, suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Monday.Speaking in his personal capacity at a National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa Numsa rally in Randburg, Mr Vavi said unions should push the state to implement what is calculated to be a minimum liveable salary of R4,500 a month.

“We must talk about money; when unions receive 9% or 7% this is misleading every time, and we are opening the gap between workers and these bosses,” said Mr Vavi.Mr Vavi’s comments to striking workers in the automotive retail sector come during a rancorous strike season that has seen unions push for, and in some cases receive, double-digit increases.Some 70,000 Numsa members in the automotive retail sector, which includes petrol pump attendants, auto-body workers as well as workers in the component manufacturing sector, downed tools on Monday after negotiations with the Fuel Retailers Association and the Retail Motor Industry Organisation deadlocked.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim encouraged non-Numsa affiliates to join the strike and said the strike would continue indefinitely, until the union’s demands, for among other things, a double-digit percentage pay increase, were met.Earlier, Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said the union was holding marches around the country to urge employers in the sector to return to the negotiating table.Numsa is demanding double-digit increases, improved shift allowances including a night-shift allowance of 20%, and an afternoon shift allowance of 15%.In the vehicle manufacturing sector, Numsa members returned to work on Monday after getting a multi-year double-digit wage increase of 11.5% for this year and 10% for both next year and 2015.

In the gold sector, a strike by the National Union of Mineworkers NUM came to an end on Sunday night, when striking workers at Harmony Gold returned to mineshafts. The NUM had signed off on a wage deal of between 7.5% and 8.5%.Gold producers on Monday reported that all operations across the sector had normalised. But NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the union was “unhappy with the propaganda” being put out by producers, saying workers at Harmony Gold operations were still not keen on the revised offer.

via Lowest liveable wage the crux, says Vavi | Labour | BDlive.

BERNAMA – Wage Talks In South Africas Gold Mining Sector Collapse, Strike Looms

Wage talks in South Africas gold mining sector, held under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration CCMA in Johannesburg, have collapsed and strike action in the sector looms.On Wednesday, the employers, the Chamber of Mines, gave unions a revised offer, which the National Union of Mineworkers NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union Amcu have formally rejected.

The Chamber of Mines had given the unions a 12 pm deadline to either reject or accept the offer. The spokesperson for gold producers, Charmaine Russel, said Thursday the implications of the rejection of the offer by the two unions, could spell disaster for the industry.The NUM has confirmed that their members will embark on industrial action next week.Union Solidarity has accused employers in the gold sector of negotiating in bad faith. It says employers have created the biggest labour relations dispute in the countrys history.

Employers were scheduled to meet with the union Thursday morning to negotiate further but Solidaritys General Secretary, Gideon du Plessis, said they were made to wait for two hours and were later issued with a certificate of non-resolution without any explanation.Meanwhile, workers at Petra Diamond Mine in Kimberley in Northern Cape Province have become the latest group to down tools on Thursday. They are demanding a 15 per cent salary increase while management is offering 10 per cent.More than 250 NUM members picketed outside the mine, while brandishing placards and trade mark sticks.Thursdays strike action came after talks between the workers and management deadlocked last week.NUMs Kimberley branch chairperson Michael Mabele said the workers were looking for 6,500 Rand about 629 USD as a minimum wage, 100 per cent medical aid and then again 15 per cent for those who are already on the R6,500 scale, but the employer had rejected the proposed terms.

The mines communications manager, Gert Klopper, said the strike had negatively affected production. Klopper said whenever there was industrial action it would impact on operations and they did not have exact numbers available now.Whatever strike action the unions embark upon will affect operations and there will be a major impact on the economy, he said.

via BERNAMA – Wage Talks In South Africas Gold Mining Sector Collapse, Strike Looms.

Not all peachy on farm jobs front | Business | Mail & Guardian

Last week, media outlets reported on new data showing that expectations of massive agricultural job losses following the implementation of a R105 daily minimum wage were unfounded.The labour department announced the 52% increase in the minimum wage, effective from March 1 2013, following massive unrest that swept the Western Cape agricultural sector late last year and early this year.According to Statistics South Africa’s latest quarterly labour force survey, agricultural employment declined by 26 000 jobs between the first and second quarters of this year.That amounts to a 3.5% contraction, which seems mild compared with the alarming predictions. These included a study by the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy, which argued that most farmers would not be able to afford the increase.However, quarter-on-quarter changes are misleading in an industry that is subject to major seasonal fluctuations. The number of agriculture jobs ebbs and flows with the cycle of the harvest.Second quarters typically see a large decline from the first quarter — in 2012, agricultural employment shrank by 18 000 jobs during that period, or 2.7%.Employment up year on yearTo obtain a more accurate picture of trends in agricultural employment, we need to look at year-on-year changes — the number of jobs at a certain point compared with the same time the previous year.

Agricultural jobs actually grew by 74 000 between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013, making it the second-fastest-growing sector in the economy after utilities.A study by economists at the University of Cape Town’s development policy research unit found that the implementation of a minimum wage for agriculture in 2003 had a negative effect on employment.However, subsequent work by the same unit argued that minimum wages did not lead to job losses in other sectors. The latest labour force survey figures could prove that the situation in agriculture has changed — and that the new minimum wage will not destroy jobs. There are caveats to consider before endorsing this conclusion, however. The university study found that, whereas minimum wage legislation had lifted average wages, up to 60% of workers still earned below the legal requirement in 2007. After the most recent minimum wage hike, trade unionists are reporting that many farmers have been attempting to avoid or pass on the increases.

Some workers were reportedly coerced into signing agreements stating that they will accept less than the new minimum wage — typically R85 a day — in return for keeping their jobs. Other farmers have simply passed on the increases through higher rent, electricity and food charges for on-farm workers. Farmers who applied for exemptions may have avoided paying the higher wage in the interim. Therefore, before contending that minimum wages have not had the predicted effect on employment, we would need to know what has actually happened to farmworker wages.

Much of rural South Africa remains the domain of baasskap the “boss” mentality, where modern labour standards and regulations hold little purchase and legislated increases carry no guarantee of actually affecting wage levels. The dismal state of the labour department and the woefully inadequate number of inspectors suggests that workers will have to organise themselves to secure gains that push employers below expected profit margins or challenge entrenched social relations.

via Not all peachy on farm jobs front | Business | Mail & Guardian.

allAfrica.com: South Africa: Sactwu Commences Clothing Industry Wage Strike Ballot

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union SACTWU has commenced a national wage strike ballot in the clothing industry, after conciliation failed to resolve the unions wage dispute.The main issue in dispute with clothing employers is their demand that the union agrees to the introduction of a new minimum wage, to be set at 80% of the prescribed minimum rate, without any conditions.Further, some clothing employer associations now want to renege on an agreement reached last year to narrow the metro vs non-metro areas wage gap to 71% with effect from 1 September this year.We cannot accept these conditions, as it would effectively amount to a 20% wage cut and, in addition, roll back what was already agreed last year. We must negotiate for better employment conditions for our members, not worse.The ballot started on 1st August in the Western Cape and from Monday this week in other provinces. Strike balloting is not a requirement of the Labour Relations Act LRA. However, SACTWU always voluntarily ballots its members before embarking on any wage strike action. It is part of our internal policy of worker control on critical organisational matters.The union has set itself a target to ballot 40 000 clothing workers over a 3 week period. As at close of business yesterday, we have strike-balloted 9 771 workers in 75 factories nationally.

via allAfrica.com: South Africa: Sactwu Commences Clothing Industry Wage Strike Ballot.

allAfrica.com: South Africa: Fawu Stage Mass Recruitment Drive in Witfontein, North-West

The Food and Allied Workers’ Union will hold a mass recruitment drive today at 10h00 at the Thsegofatsho Farm School in Witfontein, just outside Ottosdal in the North West province to recruit farm workers in order to assist those that have been unfairly dismissed, retrenched, evicted, assaulted and injured on farms.

It seems that farmers in the area are hell-bent on dismissing and evicting farm workers, claiming they cannot afford the new minimum wage whilst not showing any proof that they are financially unable to.

These farmers and others who want to retrench workers should show their audited financial statements to FAWU or the Dept of Labour should re-audit their books for them as a matter of urgency.

Tribal authorities from small villages, who allow workers to go and work in other provinces on farms should see that these workers get the minimum wage as stated by the laws of South Africa. Currently, these workers are being taken from the North-West province to go and work in other provinces where they end up being abused by farmers. The union also wants to urge workers that they should not documents which they don’t understand as they could end up signing themselves out of employment.

We urge all farm workers who have been injured, evicted, retrenched or abused to call FAWU or the Department of Labour NOW!

via allAfrica.com: South Africa: Fawu Stage Mass Recruitment Drive in Witfontein, North-West.

EFF plans to ‘agitate’ for higher mineworkers’ pay | Labour | BDlive

THE Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the new political party led by former African National Congress (ANC) Youth League chief Julius Malema, is to target mineworkers as its primary constituency and says it will “agitate” during this year’s wage talks for a minimum wage of R12,500.

There is already much anxiety that mining wage negotiations will be marred by labour unrest and violence with unions having made unprecedented demands. The EFF’s intentions can be expected to further inflame tensions and heighten these risks.

The EFF, which this weekend held a national assembly of representatives from around South Africa, also unveiled its logo, which along with a fist, a spear and the map of Africa, features a mining headgear, leaving no doubt as to what its focus will be. Among its key policies are nationalisation of the mines and banks.

EFF spokesman Floyd Shivambu said in an interview on Monday the inclusion of the mining headgear on the logo “symbolis es our commitment to reclaim South Africa’s mineral wealth … which constitutes the core of our political programme”. The party will be formally launched on August 17 — one day after the first anniversary of the Marikana massacre — at a rally in Marikana.

At the weekend assembly, worker leader Xolani Nzuza, who played a central role in the workers’ committee set up to negotiate with Lonmin during last year’s strike, is reported to have been “paraded prominently” as a leader of the EFF. In an interview on Monday, Mr Nzuza said he had joined the EFF because “there are many things that this organisation will change, such as our working conditions”.

Many mineworkers were asking him for membership forms as they still felt angry about last year’s events, he said. “The president of the country labelled the Marikana workers as hooligans, while Julius Malema came to speak to us.”

via EFF plans to ‘agitate’ for higher mineworkers’ pay | Labour | BDlive.

allAfrica.com: South Africa: High Compliance Level By Employers in Mpumalanga Hospitality Sector – DOL

A relatively high level of employers inspected by Department of Labour officials in the Gert Sibande Region in Mpumalanga this week were complying with the hospitality sectoral determination, a report issued by the department on Friday said.

This followed a rigorous process that commenced on Monday in the region as part of national inspections in Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. The inspections form part of labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant’s drive to ensure protection of vulnerable workers in the country by seeing to it that employers abide by all labour laws.

Evelyn Mokoena, deputy director of inspection and enforcement services in the province, said out of the 49 workplaces inspected 29 were found to be complying with the labour laws around minimum wages – compensation for occupational injuries and diseases Act – unemployment insurance Act – unemployment insurance contributions Act – and the employment equity law.

“We appreciate this high level of compliance among employers and wish it can be replicated in other parts of the country. We also urge employers to collaborate with inspectors in the interests of productivity, economic growth and to promote sound labour relations at workplaces,” she said.

via allAfrica.com: South Africa: High Compliance Level By Employers in Mpumalanga Hospitality Sector – DOL.

Department of Labour to host a Seminar on Wholesale and Retail Sector — Department of Labour

The Department of Labour (DoL) through its Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch plans to hold a Wholesale and Retail Seminar at the Olive Conference Centre in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, as part of an advocacy campaign to highlight voluntary compliance in the workplace.

The Seminar is held at the crucial moment as the department’s Inspection and Enforcement Services is pursuing the professionalization of its inspectorate, beefing up work place visits and inspections with focus on Wholesale and Retail sector, and advancing advocacy programmes with the aim of ensuring compliance to South Africa’s labour laws. The seminar will be held on 7 August 2013.

The theme of the Seminar is: “Sustainable small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME’s) in the Wholesale and Retail Sector”.  The theme dovetails on government’s endeavor and programme of action to create jobs and develop small businesses for sustainable employment.

The Seminar will seek to highlight how the Department of Labour could play a role to assist SMME’s to sustain themselves while complying with legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act;  Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act and a myriad of other labour laws that are currently undergoing amendments in Parliament.

The Seminar is expected to attract more than 300 guests from the wholesale and retail sector, labour unions and interested stakeholders. It is expected to be addressed by DoL’s Deputy Director-General of IES Thobile Lamati; DoL’s IES Chief Director: Statutory & Advocacy Services Virgil Seafield. There will also be speakers from Wholesale and Retail Sector(s); Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta), Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration; Compensation Fund; and the department’s representatives.

The presentations of speakers will serve to discuss the state of compliance within the Wholesale and Retail Sector; complexities, challenges and dynamics of the sector; the role of industry Seta; prevalence of injuries and occupational diseases in the wholesale and retail sector; effective reporting of occupational injuries and diseases; compliance challenges within the sector; the role and importance of workers and their representatives in enhancing job protection in the sector.

Media is invited to attend the seminar.

via Department of Labour to host a Seminar on Wholesale and Retail Sector — Department of Labour.

Taxi, hospitality employees awarded salary increases | Labour | BDlive

With respect to the hospitality industry, employers with 10 or less staff are required to pay their employees a monthly wage of no less than R2,415.86, or R12.39 per hour.

Employers with more than 11 employees must pay a minimum monthly wage of no less than R2,692.74, or at least R13.81 per hour. These wage increments affect all employers in the hospitality sector, from big nationwide chains to small restaurant owners.

via Taxi, hospitality employees awarded salary increases | Labour | BDlive.

Wage talks in South Africa’s gold sector reach standstill: strike imminent | MINING.com

South African unions representing gold miners said Wednesday wage negotiations have reached a standstill and that a legal strike is imminent, after they rejected offers from seven companies.

Gold producers represented by the Chamber of Mines of South Africa (CMSA) proposed wage hike of 5%, up from the 4% previously offered.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary, Frans Baleni, said the 1% increase offered was an insult to workers and proceed to declare a deadlock in the negotiations.

The dispute is now going to arbitration, Bloomberg reported, as the sector proposal does not come close to meeting union demands, which include pay increases of more than double.

The more-established NUM is asking for a 60% increase from the minimum entry-level salary for gold miners, while the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) — South Africa’s fastest-growing mining labour coalition — seeks more than a two-fold rise.

“The effect of this offer would be to raise the guaranteed pay of entry-level underground employees for major gold-producing companies to at least US$980 per month,” the CMSA said in an e-mailed statement.

Analysts agree the outcome of the upcoming arbitration may push gold producers to leave South Africa or simply close down all operations, as costs continue to escalate.

Earlier this month, the chamber’s chief executive officer, Bheki Sibiya, said a wage negotiation failure would likely destroy South Africa’s largest export industry and the nation’s credit rating.

“Neither the industry nor the country can afford yet another wave of calamitous workplace disorder that delivers additional global uncertainty and becomes the cause of further downgrades of South Africa’s sovereign credit rating,” Sibiya wrote.

South Africa’s two main mining sectors, platinum and gold, are under pressure from spiralling costs and weaker commodity prices. Their representatives have warned than any significant increase in wages will risk more job losses and trigger closures.

via Wage talks in South Africa’s gold sector reach standstill: strike imminent | MINING.com.