||Labour broker workers march to Minister of Labour for permanent jobs
Liv Shange, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI in South Africa) 31 July 2011
A small but lively march against labour broking in Pretoria on July 30 marked an important new step in the workers’ struggle in South Africa. Workers employed by labour brokers (‘recruitment’ companies) in the South African Post Office came together with workers unfairly retrenched from the Koogan Plastics factory in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, and other workers and unemployed, including the poor working-class community of Thembelihle organised under the banner of the Thembelihle Crisis Committee.
9 people in court for torching hall
IOL News 29 July 2011
Nine people would appear in the Mmabatho Magistrate's Court on Friday after they allegedly set fire to a community hall in Logageng, near Mahikeng, North West police said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said the hall was set alight during a speech by mayor Nomtsama Lenah Miga on Thursday afternoon.
Miga was addressing residents about government housing and access to water.
The five men and four women were arrested on Friday morning after police allegedly linked them to the fire.
They faced charges of public violence and arson. – Sapa
Solidarity begins with strike in coal sector:
Coal bosses receive increases of up to 93%
Moira-Marie Kloppers (Solidarity) 29 July 2011
Executive officers who received up to 93% increases and employers who do not put their words regarding skills retention into action, has compelled it to issue a strike certificate to employers in the coal sector of the Chamber of Mines, Solidarity said earlier this week.
This follows after wage negotiations in the sector reached a stalemate on Friday. Employers in the coal sector made a final wage offer of 8,5% increase for category 4 employees and a 7% increase for employees on other job levels. All the trade unions rejected this wage offer and Solidarity’s members who work in the coal sector went on strike from midnight on Sunday to show their dismay with various aspects regarding this year’s wage negotiations.
According to Dirk Hermann, Deputy General Secretary of Solidarity, Sipho Nkosi, CEO of Exxaro’s total salary package increased with 93,3% between 2009 and 2010 while his basic salary increased with more than 29%. Moreover, the company’s net operating profit in the coal division increased with 41,2% over the same period.
Demolition sparks protests in Dunoon
Natasha Prince 29 July 2011
Dunoon residents burn furniture after the City of Cape Town dismantled a neighbours extension he had built on his premises.
Dunoon residents took to the streets to burn tyres and furniture to vent their fury at the City of Cape Town for dismantling a structure erected in a backyard in the area.
Yesterday Alex Dlamini watched as about 100 of his neighbours sang and toyi-toyied outside his home in West Beach Four, Dunoon, where they burnt piles of litter, broken furniture and tyres.
Dlamini’s brick house is between the Itando Yamahlubi herbalist home and Dr Moshaba’s Spaza Shop on Usasazo Street.
This week he tried to add a wood and iron structure to the front of the house, but it was dismantled twice in three days by the city because it was on city-owned land.
“They (the city) are telling me this is not my land, but everybody’s doing it,” Dlamini said.
City spokeswoman Kylie Hatton confirmed that the anti-land invasion unit had demolished Dlamini’s structure twice.
“In terms of council policy, he is not allowed to construct on that land,” she said.
Dlamini, who believes a jealous neighbour tipped off authorities, said he could not understand why the city did not approach others who had extended their homes because “everybody around here is doing it”.
Yesterday police were called in to monitor the crowd, which had cordoned off the area with bright orange Eskom tape with the words “Danger, Gevaar” printed on it.
Dlamini first built the structure on Tuesday.
He said he had spent about R4 000 building it. That day he was told by city officials that the structure was “illegal” because it had been built on council property.
Dlamini said that on Wednesday, while discussing the matter with his local councillor, the anti-land invasion unit moved in and dismantled the structure.
With the help of some residents he rebuilt it on Wednesday evening.
However, on Thursday morning the unit returned and dismantled his structure again.
“All I want to do is extend my home like everyone else,” Dlamini said.
The community then protested by blocking off the road.
firstname.lastname@example.org - Pretoria News
Innocent man survives mob justice
Vincent Lali 29 July 2011
This victim of mob justice says he is lucky to be alive and able to tell his story.
Mabuti Wylbagh, 28, was discharged from Tygerberg Hospital on Wednesday after 60 mense attacked him with hammers, stones, sjamboks and other dangerous objects.
Speaking from his bed in Section 14, Bloekombos, he struggles to move.
He says the beating from hell came after eight people accused him and a friend of being thieves.
“They accused me of robbing a woman and said they were going to teach me a lesson. I said I was innocent, but they shouted at me, dragged me to the Bloekombos taxi rank and beat me until I lost consciousness,” he says.
“We went down on our knees and begged them to leave us alone, but it was impossible to reason with them. We could smell alcohol on their breath.”
He says the mugging victim even came and told the mob that they had the wrong people. But the mob ignored her and continued.
“They bound my legs and hands up like a sheep headed for a slaughterhouse. They tied a wire around my penis. I thought I was going to die,” he says. The angry attackers eventually left him to die in the street.
Now, 10 days later, he says he has been left with painful kidney damage.
Kraaifontein Police spokesperson Captain Gehard Niemand says: “Each and everyone involved in the attack will face the full might of the law.”
This article was published on p10 of the Daily Voice
“It is the beginning of the end if demands are not met” says NUM
NUM 27 July 2011
Over 200 000 ready to join the strike and gold would be unsafe haven, the glitter of gold and diamonds would be things of the past, warns NUM
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) cautions the South African mining industry to speedily resolve the current wage disputes in the coal, diamond and gold mining sectors and warns that should they fail to do so, that will mark the beginning of their end.
The NUM notes the arrogance displayed by diamond giant De Beers and Harmony Gold in particular and warns that their pride will go before their fall and that the glitter of both gold and diamonds will diminish with their arrogance.
De Beers recorded record sales in the first six months to end June of 3, 8 billion US Dollars with their production of 15,5 million carats yet they are big-mouthed and refuse to budge on a 15% wage increment. “We will make them move. The NUM moved mountains before, De Beers is a little fish in a very large pond” says Peter Bailey, the NUM‘s Chief Negotiator at De Beers Consolidated Mines.
The NUM notes De Beers ‘s nuisances of “taking a stand against wage increments” and vows to take a serious stand too that is likely to crumble and cut to size the company. The NUM is determined and serious with its demands and would not allow any company to make silly jokes out of serious matters.
On gold, there will be a total shut down of the entire gold mining industry tomorrow for it is inconceivable how the industry could want to give workers an increment of 7% when the gold price is at record high of around 1650 US Dollars and when Executives are raking on average R16 million per year.
Meanwhile, meetings have been scheduled between the NUM and the Chamber of Mines for tomorrow on the coal sector whilst there is none scheduled for gold and diamonds. The strike in the diamond sector entered its seventh day today whilst the coal sector strike is in its fourth day. Members of the NUM are protesting outside the workplaces in the various coal and diamond mines across the country.
Lesiba Seshoka- (NUM National Spokesman) 082 803 6719
Durban ANC halts sit-in
Gugu Mbonambi (IOL News) 26 July 2011
UNLIKE their counterparts in Pietermaritzburg, a group of Durban ANC members hoping to stage a sit-in at the party’s provincial offices yesterday were unceremoniously turfed out by police.
Both groups had been protesting against the party’s controversial candidates’ list process for the May 18 elections. However, while the Pietermaritzburg group occupied the party’s regional offices for a month before being evicted, the Durban supporters, who are believed to be from Amaoti, Inanda and Waterloo, never got into the Stalwart Simelane (Stanger) Street offices. They had gone to the ANC offices to voice their dissatisfaction over the slow process in resolving their complaints regarding the lists.
Clad in ANC T-shirts and blowing vuvuzelas, the group was enraged by the presence of police officers blocking the main entrance to the offices.
“These are ANC offices, so why are you blocking us? We are members of the ANC; we want to solve things here,” one member of the group shouted.
After a brief stand-off, the group dispersed as officers arrested some of them.
As they were being bundled into a police van, one shouted: “You have not seen the last of us, we will be back. We want Jacob Zuma!”
Metro police Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi said 16 people were arrested on public violence charges.
Just after the May elections, Waterloo residents protested against the election of ward councillor Mxolisi Ndzimbomvu by burning tyres and intimidating people on their way to work and school.
They also set his home alight, saying they wanted an independent candidate to represent the ward.
ANC provincial deputy chairman Willies Mchunu said he believed the protest had been planned by people the ANC met last week.
“They want us to deal with issues related to the list process; it would be a different story if it was a new issue,” he said.
Mchunu said leaders told the group last week that issues linked to the list process were being handled by the ANC’s post-election task team, headed by Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The team had been established by ANC president Jacob Zuma and would probe irregularities in the appointment of councillors and mayors in ANC-run municipalities.
ANC spokesman Brian Sokutu said the team was dealing with many complaints and it was “fair for it to be given a bit of time”.
The Pietermaritzburg activists had been calling for the regional executive committee to be disbanded for “gatekeeping” ANC membership, and for appointing themselves to senior positions in municipalities.
NUM declares a dispute with Exarro Coal
NUM 26 July 2011
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has this afternoon declared a wage dispute with Exarro Coal and its operations outside the Chamber of Mines. The NUM demands a wage increment of 14% or a minimum of R5500 whichever is greater and Exarro Coal offers an increment of 7%. The operations involved in the dispute are those not affiliated to the Chamber of Mines which includes Grootgeluk, Tshikondeni, Leeuwpan and Inyanda. The NUM further demands that the company should equalize its wages and conditions of service with those operations affiliated to the Chamber of Mines. “Our demands are reasonable and achievable and it is up to the company to deliver” says Eddie Majadibodu, the NUM‘s Chief Negotiator at Exarro Coal. The NUM further demands that Exarro should increase its housing allowance from R2000 to R2500 per month. The dispute declared remains an internal dispute as per the NUM‘s agreement with Exarro Coal.
Eddie Majadibodu – (NUM Negotiator at Exarro Coal)- 082 809 3227
Lesiba Seshoka- (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719
Strike GROWS as NUM serves notice on Gold producers
NUM 26 July 2011
The current strikes in both the coal and diamond sectors involving 155 000 mineworkers will on Thursday grow bigger as over 250 000 more miners from the gold sector join the strike. The National Union of Mineworkers has this morning served notice to the gold mining companies such as Anglogold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Goldfields and Rand Uranium notifying them of the impending massive industrial action that would befall them on Thursday. The NUM is determined to force the companies to lend an ear to its wage demands. It is totally regrettable that that the union has to opt for this last resort of a strike action as the companies are reluctant to make pay moves in spite of gold being a pseudo-currency and a save haven for investors. With gold selling at 1650 US Dollars, the strike is likely to shatter the dreams of the arrogant industry bosses who refuse to award workers what is due to them in order to pocket it for themselves. The strike at De Beers has today entered its fourth day and continues.
Meanwhile talks between the NUM and the Chamber of Mines are ongoing at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to try and resolve the coal strike. The collieries are generally feeling the pinch and have begun asking for mercy from the unlikely quarters, the workers. Should today‘s talks falter, the NUM will consolidate and strengthen its arm over the mining industry to ensure zero production. The National Union of Mineworkers appeals to the employers to accede to the demands of its poor workforce. The NUM remains committed to a peaceful resolution to the strikes.
Lesiba Seshoka- (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719
NATIONAL UNION OF MINEWORKERS
COSATU Limpopo condemns violent attack on striking workers
COSATU Limpopo media statement for immediate release 26th July 2011
COSATU Limpopo Province condemns the violent attack by members of the South African Police Services on striking workers at De Beers Consolidated Mines operations at Venetia Mine as witnessed yesterday, 25th July 2011 , where four peaceful strikers were shot with rubber bullets and had to be taken to the clinic at Alldays for treatment.
We fully support their demand for a 14% wage increment, and instead of using police brutality, the employer should accede to these reasonable demand now, or else they will face the consequences.
While we celebrate the victories score NUMSA in its sector, the 10% wage increment and the major victory against labour brokers, we also call on the employers in the petroleum and energy sector where our affiliate CEPPAWU is waging a revolutionary attack on capital, and government in the PSSBC where public sector unions are engaged in negotiations, that these employers must accede to the progressive demands of our unions.
The COSATU Provincial Secretary joined the Venetia Mine strikers today, at 2h00.
Comradely, Dan Sebabi, Provincial Secretary
200 000 more workers to join strike
NUM 26 July 2011
Over 200 000 more workers from the gold sector will this week join the strike action by 150 000 coal and 5000 diamond workers after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) issued a certificate of non‑resolution to the dispute this evening. The whole day conciliation came to an abrupt end when the parties could not reach an agreement over the 14% demand by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
The companies responded as follows: Anglogold Ashanti and Goldfields offered the lowest paid workers an increment of 9%, the middle categories 8,5% and the highest categories 8%. Harmony and Rand Uranium responded only by 8,5% for the lowest, 8% for the middle and 7% for the highest categories.
Lesiba Seshoka (National Spokesman) ‑ 082 803 6719
Support the Tafelsig occupiers!
Join them at the High Court Hearing!
On 13-14 May about 5000 Tafelsig backyarders, desperate for decent housing, took a brave step by occupying land in the Swartklip and Kapteinsklip areas. The SAPS and the Metro police met this peaceful occupation with full force and drove most of the occupiers off the land; most but not all of them. Dozens managed to retain occupation and have continued to do so for 75 days.
They are the ones who have survived rain, cold and wind and the daily harassment of the police. Their structures and other possessions have been confiscated and a majority have been forced to live and sleep in the open for over two months now. But their spirit of defiance remains strong and they are determined not to be moved.
The cowardly DA administration of the City of Cape Town has applied to the High Court, seeking to evict our occupying heroes of the housing struggle.
We call on all communities struggling for housing to register your support for the Tafelsig occupiers. Make posters that voice your demands for decent housing and bring them along to the court
High Court, Keerom Street, Cape Town,
on Wednesday morning 27 July 2011.
No to evictions! An injury to one, is an injury to all!
One united struggle for decent housing!
N.B. This leaflet will serve as a free
train ticket to and from Cape Town.
Issued by the Steering Committee of the Housing Assembly
For any queries, please call 0732794165 (Mhlobo).
Thousands of workers from mines join strike
Robert Brand and Jana Marais, Business Day, Johannesburg, 25 July 2011
WORKERS at coal miners Anglo American, Xstrata and Exxaro Resources started a strike over pay last night.
"It has started," National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said. ‘‘We expect about 150000 to take part" from the NUM and from Solidarity.
About 30000 workers may participate in the action, Frans Barker, lead negotiator on behalf of the coal producers, said last week.
The strike began at 6pm, with the start of the night shift.
The NUM, SA’s biggest union, wants a 14% pay increase, while coal producers are offering 7%, and 8,5% to entry-level employees. Annual consumer inflation was at 5% last month, the highest in 15 months.
In a separate strike about to stretch into its third week, Ceppwawu, the union that represents about 70000 fuel, paper and chemical workers, said talks with employers had deadlocked. Ceppwawu on Friday lowered its pay demand to a 9,5% increase from 13%. Employers have offered 8%.
Workers at diamond mining giant De Beers began a strike on Friday, seeking 15% wage increases. De Beers is offering 7,5% and a one- off payment of R2500 .
Employers over the past two years had struck wage deals at an average of 8%, a survey said, with firms seeing the above-inflation settlements as a necessary cost of doing business in SA. They have also slashed jobs over the period to make up for higher personnel costs.
The Richards Bay Coal Terminal — the largest in Africa, shipping 63- million tons a year , including to power plants in Europe and India — had 2,99-million tons of stockpiles at the end of last month.
Eskom , the largest domestic coal buyer, had ‘‘relatively high" stocks, Mr Barker said last week. Anglo and Exxaro are the largest suppliers of the fuel to the state-owned utility, producer of 95% of SA’s electricity.
A 2008 power shortage that shut the country’s largest mines for about five days was caused partly by a lack of coal. NUM-affiliated workers at Eskom, which burns about 120- million tons of coal a year, last week rejected a 5,5% pay offer.
Optimum Coal, Kangra Coal and Delmas Coal workers are also striking. With Reuters
SA braces for massive coal strike
Mail & Guardian 25 July 2011
About 150 000 South African coal workers seeking 14% wage increases plan to walk off the job from Sunday in a strike that could dent exports and hurt power supplies in Africa's largest economy.
Hundreds of thousands of union workers have downed tools in recent weeks, or are threatening to do so, seeking raises double or triple the 5% inflation rate in the mid-year bargaining session known locally as "strike season".
Lesiba Seshoka, spokesperson for the powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said employers have offered between 7% to 8.5%. No talks were in prospect over what would be one of the largest work stoppages in this strike season.
"The strike will hit hard the stockpiles at Eskom, which are at their lowest ever," Seshoka told Reuters.
Eskom relies on coal for most of its electricity production and usually has about five to six weeks' supply available.
The Chamber of Mines is negotiating on behalf of several coal miners, including Anglo Thermal Coal SA, Exxaro, Optimum Coal and Xstrata Coal.
Eskom, battling a power crunch that threatens the energy-intensive mining sector, is facing strike threats from NUM workers at the state utility seeking 16% wage increases.
Employers over the past two years have struck wage deals averaging about 8%, a survey said, with many firms seeing the above-inflation settlements as a necessary cost of doing business in South Africa. They have also slashed jobs over the period to make up for the higher personnel costs.
Strikes typically last a few weeks, slowing production but not causing any major harm to the economy.
Economists have said wage settlements well above inflation hurt the country's competitiveness and long-term outlook by driving up the costs for a labour force already more expensive than those in other emerging markets and far less efficient.
Other worries for the economy are strikes that stretch into late August, work stoppages that cause Eskom to cut power, or a work stoppage in the platinum sector, with South Africa being the world' biggest producer of the precious metal used in jewelry and catalytic converters for cars.
Eskom has faced pressure to give in to workers from the African National Congress, which is allied with organised labour and wants to placate its millions of voters.
Eskom plans steep increases in electricity prices to pay for much-needed new power stations, adding to inflationary pressure and taking more money out of middle class paychecks.
A 2008 power crunch forced mines and smelters to shut for days and deterred new mining and manufacturing investment.
In a separate strike about to stretch into its third week, the union that represents about 70 000 fuel, paper and chemical workers said talks with employers are deadlocked. The CEPPWAWU union on Friday lowered its pay demand to a 9.5% increase from 13%. Employers have offered 8%.
South African workers at global diamond mining giant De Beers began a strike on Friday, seeking 15% wage increases. De Beers is offering 7.5% and a one-off payment of R2 500. - Reuters
DUT suspends classes again
IOL News 25 July 2011
The Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Monday halted all academic programmes due to violent student protests, the second time in as many weeks.
“We have had to close all Durban campuses,” DUT spokesman Alan Khan said.
On Monday some students destroyed university property and disrupted lectures.
“Considering the risk to the 23 000 students who are not involved in the protest and the safety of staff, we could not risk the safety of the wider university community,” he said.
Attempts to end the protests had not been successful.
On Saturday the Student Representative Council met acting deputy director-general of higher education, Kirti Menon, to determine why the government could not provide extra financial aid for Bachelor of Technology students.
“Students also used the opportunity to table their grievances and demands to government,” said Khan.
According to DUT vice chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa, the government did not provide funding for B Tech studies, but only for education and nursing.
Students further wanted the institution to provide branded condoms and sanitary towels to student hostels. The university has said this would be costly and unsustainable.
The Durban campuses would remain closed until further notice. – Sapa
Mineworkers march in Carletonville
NUM 22 July 2011
Thousands of members belonging to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will tomorrow morning march in Carletonville to hand a memorandum of demands to representatives of the mining industry, the Department of Labour and the Department of Mineral Resources over lack of safety in the mines. The union will also send a strong message of warning to the mining industry to accede to the demands presented in the current wage negotiations. The march is in terms of the NUM resolution of having provincial marches to demand safety in the mines which will culminate in a national day of mourning in October when the industry will come to total a halt. The National Union of Mineworkers is outraged by the fatality figures in the mining industry and will do everything possible within the law to make the mining industry account for its actions and inactions. The details of the march are as follows:
March from OBERHOLZER to the Carletonville Civic Centre
For further information, please contact:
Bokang Lethala –(NUM Regional Chair on Health and Safety)- 082 062 9211
Lesiba Seshoka- (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719
R104m price tag for power plant strikes
Craig Dodds 22 July 2011
Violent protests at the Medupi and Kusile power plant construction sites in May caused damage to the tune of R104 million and 221 667 lost “man days”.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said in a written parliamentary reply on Thursday that workers at the Kusile site had set on fire two large mobile cranes, the west wing of the Kusile Civil Works office block, seven offices and 11 contractor vehicles.
They had also stoned vehicles and looted offices and stores. Plant and building damage was estimated at R100m, covered by insurance.
At Medupi, an office, a bus and two cars were torched and three cars overturned, causing estimated damage of R4m, also covered by insurance.
In both cases, the cost of labour downtime could not yet be established, but construction is on a tight schedule as power utility Eskom struggles to keep pace with rising demand for electricity, warning that supply will be tight until Medupi comes online at the end of next year.
It is expected to be fully operational only by the last quarter of 2015, while Kusile’s first unit is due to kick in at the end of 2014.
Gigaba said the protests would not affect these deadlines being met.
The trouble began in early May when more than 2 000 workers at Kusile protested in sympathy with employees locked in a wage dispute with Eskom subsidiary Roshcon, while at Medupi, 500 employees of construction firm Murray & Roberts and subcontractor Hitachi protested against the hiring of foreign welders.
Both projects were halted and then progressively restarted from mid-May.
In total, 13 people were arrested in connection with the protests and charged with arson and public violence.
Murray & Roberts and Hitachi made returning workers sign agreements amounting to final written warnings, according to the Engineering News website.
Eskom, meanwhile, has told Parliament it will continue to rely on foreign welders to complete the projects as it can’t train locals fast enough to meet the requirement.
Although it was training 100 welders a year, it needed as many as 1 500 highly skilled welders until 2015.
In October, the DA submitted a legislative proposal to Parliament that would make unions liable for damage resulting from the illegal actions of their members during strikes.
Unions have rejected the idea as an attempt to undermine their right to strike. - The Star
Philippi electricity protest rages on
JANIS KINNEAR 22 July 2011
Residents flee police officers during a third day of protests in the Siyahlala informal settlement in Philippi. The protests centre on residents efforts to have the area supplied with electricity.
Residents of a Philippi informal settlement and police have clashed again as protests over electricity supply entered their third day.
Three police Nyalas cordoned off the corner of New Eisleben and Sheffield roads yesterday when protests, which started on Tuesday, flared up again in Siyahlala.
Residents set containers on fire and used them to block off sections of Sheffield Road, while teenagers and children lined the road, armed with rocks, watching for police.
Standing at a trench made by residents who had dug up a section of road, Tumeka Xoyana, 29, said they had no option but to protest because the area had been without electricity for more than 10 years. “We have to steal electricity because the government doesn’t want to give it to us,” said Xoyana.
Ezile Cele, 24, said police had fired rubber bullets and tear gas at them: “Why can’t they give us a valid reason why we can’t get electricity?”
She said residents were angered that the area had been “skipped” while neighbouring areas had received electricity.
Residents had made “countless” requests to their Ward 34 councillor and the municipality for electricity, she said.
The councillor had told residents they would not receive supply because of the illegal connections in the area.
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said that on two occasions during the protest, SAPS members had been duty-bound to take action against riotous crowds and gas cartridges were discharged.
Nobody had been injured and no arrests had been made, and police would remain in the area to monitor the situation.
City spokeswoman Kylie Hatton said the settlement was in a road reserve and that it was council policy not to create electrical networks in road reserves. “The city is, however, investigating various options, but I cannot provide details before everything has been investigated,” she said.
email@example.com - Cape Argus
More sectors want to down tools
Mail & Guardian 22 July 2011
The economy will lose more working hours if planned strikes by hundreds of thousands of workers in the coal and diamond sector go ahead. Industrial action in the public service and gold sectors is also looming.
The strike in the petroleum industry that has drained fuel supply is entering its second week and metal-workers have just ended their two-week strike after employers increased their wage offer to 10%.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the largest and most powerful trade union within Cosatu, has announced its intention to strike against the world's biggest diamond producer, De Beers, and several companies in the coal industry.
Meanwhile, four public sector unions affiliated to Cosatu convened a high-level meeting on July 21 to decide whether or not to strike, after the government tabled its last offer of a 6.8% wage increase for about 1.3-million public servants. The unions are demanding 8%.
COSATU to protest at CTICC if Zille addresses the International Education Conference on Friday 22nd July 2011
Cosatu 21 July 2011
COSATU Western Cape believes it is entirely inappropriate for Premier Zille to address the Conference on Education, as this conference is about building an education system that appreciates educators and appreciates that all learners need the best opportunities. Premier Zille is unsuitable to address the Conference because of the following positions that she holds.
DUT closes city campuses
Kyle Venktess 22 July 2011
Durban University of Technology campuses in Durban have been closed for lectures after protesting students disrupted lectures and intimidated staff and students yesterday in a dispute over fees and cafeteria food.
While lectures were disrupted at the Steve Biko and ML Sultan campuses, the other campuses – City, Ritson and Brickfield – were also closed.
At the Steve Biko campus, students had toppled bins and littered the campus with empty polystyrene containers and cans.
Student representative council president Mfanafuthi Ngwabe said the protests were over various issues concerning financial aid.
DUT spokesman Alan Khan said lectures would be suspended today, but he was confident they would resume by Monday.
“The university expects that all staff will remain at their work stations,” Kahn said.
“We have taken the decision, in the interests of safety and security, to suspend academic classes in Durban,” he said.
Khan said the university was investigating allegations concerning the food served at the Steve Biko campus.
Ngwabe said: “First-year students are not being given financial aid and because of this some of students are not able to register for their second semester. Others cannot register for financial aid even though they are elegible.”
Ngwabe said that students had raised complaints about one of the food service providers on the Steve Biko campus which he claimed was making students ill.
DUT classes on hold
IOL News 21 July 2011
The Durban University of Technology on Thursday suspended all its academic programmes following the disruption of classes by protesting students.
“We have suspended the academic programme following the student protests,” said university’s spokesman Alan Khan.
The decision was taken after non striking students and staff were intimidated, classes disrupted at Steve Biko and ML Sultan campuses on Thursday.
“We have taken the decision, in the interests of safety and security,” he said.
The students are demanding the institution provide branded condoms and sanitary towels to each student room but the university says this will be costly and unsustainable.
Students were also demanding financial aid for Bachelor of Technology students.
According to DUT vice chancellor, Professor Ahmed Bawa, government does not provide funding for B.Tech studies except in the cases of education and nursing. – Sapa
Guard killed in illegal connections row
IOL News 21 July 2011
The battle between the eThekwini Municipality and those with illegal electricity connections has turned deadly after a security guard was killed.
The battle between the eThekwini Municipality and those with illegal electricity connections has turned deadly after a security guard – hired to protect city workers – was killed.
Wiseman Mthombeni, 38, of Hammarsdale, had been an employee of Thathe Security Services for only two months when he was gunned down at an informal settlement in Maynard Road in Sea Cow Lake, Durban.
eThekwini Municipality department of electricity head, Sandile Maphumulo, said the problem had snowballed over the years and residents who had illegal connections were becoming more violent towards municipal workers tasked with disconnecting these connections. Residents living near informal settlements connected illegally to their network were also being affected, with some complaining of daily electricity cuts.
Affected areas include Sydenham (Candover Road), Kennedy Road, Reservoir Hills and Foreman Road (Clare Estate).
Maphumulo said people living in informal settlements need to understand that it was wrong for them to steal this service from residents who were paying for it.
“People living in shacks need this (electricity), which is why we have been engaging with the Department of Energy Affairs, trying to get them (informal settlements) electrified,” he said.
Maphumulo said Energy Affairs, through its National Electrification Advisory Committee (NEAC), was formulating a policy for the electrification of informal settlements.
“We will electrify these areas subject to compliance with this policy,” he said.
Maphumulo said the NEAC would meet in August to discuss the policy.
He said that until a formal decision was taken, the issue of illegal connections would be a daily headache for the city.
“I wish the law becomes tougher on those connecting illegally because they are causing all these problems,” he said.
Maphumulo said the city had about 400 informal settlements and about 2 700 households living in each of these settlements.
“Even if we do decide to electrify informal settlements, how long will it take to electrify all of them and which one do we start with. The challenge is bigger than people think,” he said.
For ratepayers like Anjini Bhudar, who lives in Sydenham, daily electricity cuts, which began in March, have affected the way they live. She said she and her neighbours experience outages between 6.30pm and 10am.
“Our greatest problem is that the municipality wants to put the blame on the shackdwellers, but the responsibility is theirs. Their job is to supply electricity and the fact that someone is interfering with our network should not be my burden to carry,” she said.
She said six of her neighbours were also affected.
Vaneshree Govender, who lives in Foreman Road, Clare Estate, said they had an understanding with residents from the nearby informal settlement and disconnected the illegal connections themselves.
“There is no conflict, they (the shackdwellers) understand that what they are doing is wrong. We are not fighting with them, we are fighting the municipality and they understand that,” she said.
She said removing the illegal connections and engaging with the shackdwellers had helped with constant power cuts.
She said despite the communication between those who have and the have nots, the situation was still tense.
“Now we expect the city to look beyond policy and paper … they have to look at what is happening on the ground,” she said. -Daily News
NUM prepares to strike the collieries
NUM 21 July 2011
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) reached a stalemate in its talks with the Chamber of Mines representing the collieries at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The NUM was awarded a certificate of non‑resolution by the CCMA which paves the way for a strike action by almost 150 000 miners.
The NUM put forward a demand of 14% with the Chamber of Mines responding with 8,5 for the lower categories and 7% for the higher categories. Headline inflation has this afternoon been confirmed to be at 5% whilst food and fuel inflation had soared. Electricity price increases has been as hefty as 31%. “We are very disappointed by the Chamber of Mines and its affiliates. We do not need a strike action but through their actions, they are forcing us to” says Frans Baleni, the NUM General Secretary and Chief Negotiator at the Chamber of Mines.
Meanwhile, talks between the NUM and the Chamber of Mines’s gold employers will resume on Monday.
Frans Baleni‑ (NUM General Secretary)‑ 082 375 6443
Lesiba Seshoka (NUM Spokesman)‑ 082 803 6719
Coal workers dig in, prepare for 'powerful strike'
Mail & Guardian 21 July 210112
Workers in the coal sector will embark on a strike following failed wage negotiations, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday.
"We have deadlocked. We have received a strike certificate and we are going on strike," spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said.
On Thursday, the union would give employers 48-hours notice of the strike and would discuss the date of the strike with its 150 000 members in the coal sector, he said.
"We will definitely serve notice tomorrow [Thursday], there is no question about it," said Seshoka.
Seshoka said the talks deadlocked after employers offered a final wage increase of 7%. The union was demanding 14%.
"We cannot accept that. We have totally rejected it because that is not according to our mandate," he said.
The only way to increase the wage offer was to have a "powerful strike".
"A powerful strike is a strike that lasts more than a week. It must take many weeks for a strike to work with as much members as possible."
The NUM, the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) and Solidarity, rejected an offer by the Chamber of Mines last Monday.
It was not known if Uasa and Solidarity also intend striking.
The Chamber represents Anglo Thermal Coal SA, Delmas Coal, Exxaro, Kangra Coal, Optimum Coal and Xstrata Coal.
The negotiations are being mediated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
In a statement, Chamber spokesperson Jabu Maphalala confirmed the deadlock.
He said the coal mining companies had tabled a final offer of an 8.5% increase for entry-level employees and 7% for other employees.
Delmas Coal had offered 7.5% for entry-level workers and 6% for the rest, he said.
"The wage offer should be seen in conjunction with other offers already made, which include medical incapacity and medical aid contributions as well as the living out allowance," Maphalala said.
Frans Barker, a negotiator for the coal mining companies, said the unions had jointly submitted more than 50 demands.
"However, they declared a dispute after only two negotiating sessions and deadlocked after a single meeting under the auspices of the CCMA.
"The negotiations were thus not given a fair chance to succeed," he said.
The companies were "deeply disappointed" at the "untimely declaration" of deadlock.
"The companies have also clearly indicated to the unions that they were more than willing to continue to engage on the many demands in an attempt to reach settlement, however the unions rejected this," Barker said.
Strike spreads to diamond sector
Meanwhile, workers at diamond giant De Beers said on Wednesday they would go on strike this week.
Unions and employers across South Africa are locked in mid-year wage bargaining, known as "strike season", and many labour groups are seeking increases well above the country's 4.6% inflation rate.
NUM wants a 15% rise in wages, while De Beers, 45% owned by mining firm Anglo American, has offered 7.5% and a one-off payment of R2 500.
Unions said they would strike from Friday.
"The offers are totally unacceptable to us. We totally reject these," said Peter Bailey, NUM's chief negotiator at De Beers.
Since 2008, miners, factory workers, and steel workers have won pay rises averaging more than 10% a year, making themselves more expensive than other emerging market workforces.
State-owned utility Eskom has said it has enough coal in stock to last 41 days.
The African National Congress, in a governing
alliance with the the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party, is loathe to put pressure on workers, fearing it could antagonise its long-standing union allies who have supplied it with millions of votes.
In a separate dispute, tens of thousands of fuel sector workers have been striking for 10 days, delaying deliveries to filling stations and sparking panic buying in Johannesburg.
The small but influential Solidarity union, which represents skilled workers at state-owned PetroSA and petrochemicals group Sasol, said it suspended its participation in the fuel strike and its members would return to work by Thursday.
"Everyone's interests will be best served by ending the strike and resuming negotiations in all earnest," the union said, adding that Solidarity was likely to return to talks with employers before the weekend to reach a deal.
Mxolisi Ratsibe, chairperson of the National Petroleum Employers' Association, an industry body, was hopeful.
"We are optimistic the end is in sight," he said.
Police escorts are allowing some delivery trucks to get through picket lines, although scores of filling stations around Johannesburg have run out of fuel. - Sapa, Reuters
SAMWU still consulting its membership on Wage Negotiations
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT 20 July 2011
The South African Municipal Workers Union is at this moment in time, still busy consulting its membership nationwide, in relation to the current wage negotiations within the local government sector and water sector. Consultations will continue till the end of this week.
After the consultation process is concluded, a Special National Executive Committee meeting will be convened before the end of next week, to consolidate our position ahead of the next round of wage negotiations.
For further comment, contact SAMWU’s General Secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo on 0725369756 or 021 697 1152.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity Officer.
Office: 011-331 0333.
Also visit SAMWU’s website; www.samwu.org.za
Limpopo anti-corruption march postponed
Cosatu 20 July 2011
COSATU Limpopo province today, 19th July 2011, convened its campaigns committee meeting to assess the state of readiness of the affiliates to engage effectively and meaningfully in the planned anti-corruption march scheduled for 22nd July 2011, to the premier`s office, SAPS, SARS and SALGA.
After careful consideration, the meeting realised that the majority of the affiliates were not ready and have not yet received the necessary resources and not enough mobilization work has been carried out.
Based on the above reasons, the meeting resolved to postpone the anti-corruption march to a date not later than in the coming four weeks.
We would therefore want to assure our membership, the tripartite alliance and the MDM structures, and the people of Limpopo that the march will definitely take place on a later date and that the COSATU mandate on all the issues remains intact.
For more information contact: COSATU Limpopo Provincial Secretary, Cde. Dan Sebabi, on 082 779 2421
Workers to strike at De Beers Consolidated Mines
NUM 20 July 2011
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has this afternoon served strike notice to diamond giant De Beers Consolidated Mines. This comes after the parties failed to reach a wage settlement through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) this morning. The CCMA issued a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute giving the NUM leeway for a strike action that is set to shut down the company‘s operations. The NUM demands a wage increment of 15% and De Beers offers 7,5%. “The offers are totally unacceptable to us. Last year we settled at between 9,5% and 10%, now we are told 7,5% plus an ex gratia once payment of R2500. We totally reject these” says Peter Bailey, the NUM‘s Chief Negotiator at De Beers Consolidated Mines.
The National Union of Mineworkers is disappointed by De Beers‘s bad faith negotiations at a time when headline inflation is at 4,6% and Eskom has raised its fees by 31%. Food and fuel inflation have skyrocketed and the bulk of the workforce walk to work on empty stomachs. The NUM appeals to the company to reconsider its position and avoid the crippling mass action. The 48 hour strike notice means the strike will officially begin this Friday.
Peter Bailey (NUM Chief Negotiator at De Beers)- 082 883 7902
Lesiba Seshoka (NUM Spokesman)- 082 803 6719
Fuel industry meets unions in bid to end strike
Mail & Guardian 18 July 2011
Employers in South Africa's oil industry will meet with unions on Monday in a bid to end a week-long strike that has left hundreds of fuel pumps dry and may cost Africa's biggest economy billions of rand in lost output.
Tens of thousands of workers in the fuel sector began walking off the job on Monday, delaying deliveries and sparking panic buying at service stations in Gauteng.
The industrial action intensified on Monday after a small but influential union joined other labour groups already on strike.
Fuel industry employers include BP, Royal Dutch Shell, petrochemicals group Sasol, state-owned energy group PetroSA, Chevron and Total.
Sasol said the strike was affecting production at its Secunda synthetic fuels plant.
"In the interest of safety, sections of the east side of the Sasol Secunda plant are being run at lower production rates than normal," Sasol said.
"These reduced production rates will impact on some fuel and chemical production. Sasol is doing everything in its power to continue to supply products to its customers using the available resources."
The company added that it remained optimistic that the parties will do everything possible to resolve the impasse.
Sasol shares were trading 1.64% lower at R353.85 as of 9.45am GMT, compared with a 0.74% fall in the Top-40 Index.
The Fuel Retailers' Association said it was still collecting information as to how many service stations in Gauteng had run out of fuel by Monday morning.
Economists said the fuel strike may cost South Africa billions of rand and affect its image as an investment destination due to frequent walk-outs in labour-intensive sectors such as mining, fuel and steel production.
The government called for a speedy resolution to the fuel strike to avoid a crisis which could spread to all sectors of the economy.
Many deliveries were hampered by intimidation from striking workers at depots, producers said.
Unions and employers are locked in their mid-year bargaining session known as "strike season", with many labour groups seeking wage increases that far exceed inflation.
Companies from other sectors affected by strikes include paper makers Mondi and Sappi. - Reuters
Metalworkers end strike as fuel walkout widens
Mail & Guardian 17 July 2011
Tens of thousands of workers ended a two-week pay strike in the South African steel and engineering sector on Sunday while petroleum workers plan to widen a week-long walkout that left hundreds of the nation's fuel pumps dry, union leaders said.
Steel workers accepted a 10% wage rise from the employers' body, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa had initially demanded a 13% increase while SEIFSA's original offer was a 7% rise.
"Workers will therefore return to work in the next 48 hours starting on Monday," Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the pay strike in the domestic petroleum sector is expected to widen from Monday after trade union Solidarity said on Sunday its mostly skilled members at petrochemical group Sasol would join the industrial action that left hundreds of fuel pumps dry.
"It is expected their plants will come to a standstill as almost all of the technical and strategic posts at these plants are filled by Solidarity members," the union said in a statement.
South African unions and employers are locked in their mid-year bargaining session known as "strike season", with many labour groups seeking wage increases that far exceed inflation.
Production losses in the steel sector are expected to be substantial although top makers of metal ArcelorMittal South Africa and Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium were not affected as they negotiate directly with their employees.
The 10% increment is above the inflation rate of around 7% and raises worries about inflation and interest rates outlook in Africa's biggest economy.
About 70 000 workers, led by the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union (CEPPWAWU), in the fuel industry have been on strike since Monday demanding a 13% wage increases, above the 4% to 7% offered by employers.
Solidarity members at Sasol will join CEPPWAWU from Monday in a strike that has delayed fuel deliveries and sparked panic-buying at service stations.
"One of the reasons why the strike has become so drawn out is because Solidarity members are still keeping production going at plants," said Dirk Hermann, Solidarity's deputy general secretary.
"Paradoxically, the sooner Solidarity joins the strike, the sooner it will be over." - Reuters