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strike

INDUSTRIAL STRIKE ACTION AT SARS!

The South African Revenue Services and Organized Labour have recently been engaged in wage negotiations. A decision was made by Organized Labour that the strike action will commence Thursday 28 March 2019.

To limit the potential impact of the strike action on SARS branches, customs offices and ports of entry, SARS have put in place a contingency plan to address key areas of the business that could be affected by the strike action.

Delays are likely to be experienced at branches and ports of entry into South Africa as a result of capacity constraint. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) communication will continue, however where manual intervention is required delays will be imminent.

Sibanye says production resumes at strike-hit Cooke mine

JOHANNESBURG – Production has resumed at the Cooke mine of South African precious metals producer Sibanye Gold following the conclusion of a wildcat strike at the operation which erupted almost a month ago, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

The strike, which saw incidents of violence aimed at miners who did not support it, was sparked by worker resentment at Sibanye’s drive to root out illegal miners, which included the sacking of employees for collusion and a ban on taking food into the shafts.

Last week the company said that 461 illegal miners had been arrested at Cooke since the strike began after they were forced to come to the surface because the stoppage deprived them of sources of food and water provided by employees.

 

Source: Mining Weekly

Amcu snubs higher wage offer

Johannesburg – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has rejected a pay offer made by operators including world No 3 producer AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG], stopping short of calling a strike.

Amcu members gathered at a mass meeting at Sibanye Gold’s [JSE:SGL] Beatrix mine on Sunday to consider the final wage proposal tabled by producers, including Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR]. The union speaks for about 30% of the 94 500 employees represented in the talks.

“If we need to go march at their offices we will,” Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa told thousands of workers who gathered at the stadium next to a mine shaft about 300 kilometres south of Johannesburg.

AngloGold and Sibanye proposed on July 30 to raise monthly pay for entry-level workers by R1 000 annually for the three years started July 1. Harmony offered a R500 increase. Basic pay is currently about R5 800. Living-out allowances will be raised by R100 in the first year from R2 000 now.

The crowd on Sunday held banners with Amcu’s demand of R12 500 a month for basic pay, more than double the current wage. Only one of the union leaders from the mines who provided feedback on the stage said workers should take the offer.

The National Union of Mineworkers, the biggest labour group in gold, lowered its demand last month for basic pay to R9 500. However, that is at least 60% more than the current wage.

“The way forward is go back to (the) employer and give them the feedback that their offer has been rejected by the majority of Amcu members,” Mathunjwa told reporters after the meeting. The union will meet again after it hears back from the companies, he said.

The NUM, Solidarity and Uasa unions will respond to the wage proposal by August 7, Chamber of Mines chief negotiator Elize Strydom told reporters on Friday. The companies have said their last offer is final.

 

Source – Fin24

 

AMCU threatens strike over extension of wage deal

CARLETONVILLE — The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) will launch a wildcat strike if its rival union and gold mining companies impose a wage deal on its members, its president said on Sunday.

“If NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) and Chamber of Mines want to extend their deal to us, we will sit down, whether it’s legal or not. We will strike,” Joseph Mathunjwa said to loud cheers from thousands of workers gathered at a stadium in Carletonville.

Under South African labour laws, wage deals between the majority union and employers can be extended to smaller unions.

AMCU union is demanding a more than doubling of wages from gold companies AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, Harmony Gold and Pan African Resource’s Evander Mines.

About 10,000 AMCU members wearing trademark green t-shirts, waving the union’s flags and carrying placards with slogans such as ‘A Living Wage For All’ piled into the stadium outside Sibanye Gold’s Driefontein mine.

AMCU led a five-month wage strike last year in the platinum sector. Gold sector wage talks are set to begin this month as the previous two-year pay agreement expires at the end of June.

 

Source – BD Live

 

Zambian miners end strike at Barrick Copper Mine

Lusaka – Workers at Barrick Gold’s Lumwana mine resumed work on Tuesday after staging a one-day strike over plans by the Canadian company to pull out of copper-rich Zambia, a union official said.

Mine Workers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) representative Leonard Phiri told AFP the decision to resume work follows reassurances by the government that no job loses would occur.

“Last night [Monday] government representatives and union officials held a meeting and later addressed the workers and assured all of us that our jobs are safe,” he said.

“As things stand now, the situation has returned to normal. We are now working.”

The strike came after Barrick Gold announced it would suspend operations at Lumwana after the Zambian government increased a mineral rights levy to 20% mineral rights from 6% despite global copper prices having fallen by around a fifth over the past year.

Nearly 4 000 people work at the mine.

But on Monday, President Edgar Lungu promised “not allow a single mining job to be lost” and directed the ministry of mines to ensure that the site remained operational.

Zambia is one of the world’s largest producers of copper.

Lungu, who narrowly won last month’s presidential election, said his government was working to “rapidly” address concerns over the new royalties.

Zambia’s chamber of mines has warned the taxes could cost the country $7bn in lost output over the next five years, nearly a third of its GDP and lead to the loss of 12 000 direct jobs in the mining sector.

Despite copper contributing around 70% of foreign exchange earnings, Zambia is ranked among the world’s poorest countries.

 

Source – News24

 

SA Post Office Finding its Feet

Cape Town – There may be good news for consumers suffering from the post office strike, with the task team appointed to sort out the SA Post Office sending signs that the bad times are coming to an end.

The SA Post Office said in a statement on Thursday that it was “witnessing marked operational improvement with more employees resuming their duties”.

Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele appointed an intervention team to find a sustainable solution for labour relations challenges,

“The minister’s call for all stakeholders to claim a stake in resolving the current labour impasse faced by the SA Post Office has had a positive impact on the company’s operations, especially with regard to striking employees heeding the call to return to work,” said Dr Simo Lushaba, leader of the SA Post Office Administration Team.

“We are witnessing increasing numbers of employees returning to work each day and would like to thank the minister and all the affected stakeholders for their role in this encouraging development.”

Lushaba said the major mail sorting centres in Gauteng that were hardest hit by the strike –Witspos and Tshwane Mail – were now 100% staffed and operational. The Polokwane and Welkom mail sorting centres that have also been impacted by the strike have also resumed operations.

However, the Germiston and the Johannesburg International (OR Tambo) mail centre are not as yet back to full capacity even though mail has begun to flow from these centres.

“We have not as yet reached a settlement with all three labour unions, but the impact of the strike on our operations is significantly reduced and mail is flowing again,” he said. “The discussions with the unions are still ongoing and we are optimistic of a meeting of minds within the immediate future as all parties are in harmony about the need to find a long-lasting solution.”

The post office posted on Facebook on Tuesday that negotiations in the Leadership Forum had started to show results. “Two of the labour unions, Depacu and Sapwu, have come to an agreement with the Post Office about ending the strike,” it said. “CWU did not attend the meetings and has asked instead for the convening of the bargaining chamber to see if a final settlement can be reached.”

“The on-going seasonal labour unrests of the SA Post Office are really an unacceptable development as the SA Post Office serves a critical role in economic development”, said Lushaba. “We regret the impact this has had on our customers and assure them that it is our fervent intention to remodel our operations to meet acclaimed standards of a 21st century company.”

The impact of the strike has affected not only consumers, but the staff members too, as was evidence in this Facebook posting:

 

Source – Fin24

Neasa not fazed by Numsa, Cosatu threats

Johannesburg – The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) is adamant that the decision by its members to engage in a lock-out of workers that participated in the recent metal industry strike will stand despite threats from both Numsa and Cosatu.

On Wednesday Cosatu in the Western Cape threatened to close down companies that are participating in the lock-out.

The threat by Cosatu Western Cape came on the same day that Numsa threatened Neasa with court action if it does not suspend the current lock-out against Numsa and four other unions.

Neasa, which has 22 members and employs about 70 000 workers, maintains that the lock-out is legal and that a right to a lock-out enjoys the same constitutional protection as the right to strike.
‘Companies in the metal industry have just endured a violent four week strike, where employees were prevented, through extreme forms of violence and intimidation, to execute their right to work,” said says Neasa CEO Gerhard Papenfus.

“There were instances where employees were dragged out of offices and assaulted, where business owners’ lives were threatened, businesses were forced to close their doors, properties damaged and interdicts obtained to curb the violence and destruction were treated with contempt.”

He said employers were forced to look on while these events unfolded, at times without police protection.

“Now that Numsa is faced with similar action, but without their members’ lives being threatened nor threats of assault nor their property being destroyed, Numsa wants to mobilise against these businesses,” said Papenfus.

They threaten to close down businesses that execute their constitutional right, according to Neasa.

“Numsa and Cosatu Western Cape clearly stand for a one-sided form of democracy. They are very quick to claim the benefits of their version of democracy and are very quick to point out any so-called undemocratic behaviour, but they are clearly not interested to illustrate democratic principles when the shoe is on the other foot,” said Papenfus.

“When the situation does not suit them, they utilise the tyranny of numbers. In all of this they, however, show their true colours.”

He said the real test comes when things happen which one cannot control.

“It then shows whether you really belief in freedom of expression and constitutional liberty, whether it comes from the heart or whether it is only something you’ll use when it is convenient to you,” said Papenfus.
“The current differences between Neasa and Numsa will not be resolved through threats and legal action, but through the appropriate channels -something Neasa was denied during the most crucial portion of the recent round of wage negotiations.”

Neasa refused to sign the offer, saying it had been sidelined in the negotiation process facilitated by the labour department.

Over 200 000 Numsa members in the metal and engineering sector downed tools on July 1, demanding a salary increase of 12%, down from their pre-strike demand of 15%.

They then revised their demand to 10%.

They also demanded a R1 000 housing allowance and a total ban on labour brokers.

In terms of the new wage deal, workers would get increases of between 8% and 10%, depending on whether they were high or low earners.

Source – Fin24

Neasa metalworkers ‘forced to strike’

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has accused the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa) of forcing its members to embark on a secondary strike in the metal, engineering and automotive industry.

The union this week signed a wage agreement with most stakeholders in the sector, saying the deal marked the end of their four week long strike.

But Neasa has refused to sign the settlement, saying it was blatantly sidelined during negotiations.

Numsa says a strike at companies represented by Neasa will continue despite reaching a wage agreement in the sector.

The union’s General Secretary Irvin Jim says Neasa has declared a fresh dispute by locking its members out after Numsa reached a wage deal with the majority of employers.

“It can’t be business as usual when our members are locked out.”

He says Neasa’s CEO Gerhard Papenfus is personally to blame for the latest developments.

“We ended the strike. Anything that happens from now onwards must be asked of Papenfus.”

Neasa however says it’s prepared to go to court over what deems an unaffordable and unsustainable wage hike.

Source – Eyewitness News

No deal yet as NUMSA talks stumble

Cape Town – The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) will continue striking, despite regional branches accepting a government proposed wage offer, two union sources said on Friday.

The stoppage won’t end because the union rejected conditions relating to future pay negotiations.

“The strike will continue because we have problems with changing Section 37. They want to make the union weak and toothless,” one union source told Reuters.

Another source said Numsa was open to meeting with employers over the weekend to try and broker an end to the strike, which is crimping economic growth.

Numsa officials declined to comment, saying their official position would be articulated at a news conference on Sunday.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of SA (Seifsa) on Tuesday ”reluctantly” accepted a government-brokered deal that includes wage increases of 10% to low-level employees over the next three years.

However, its acceptance was conditional and it also issued a warning over heavy job losses.

Seifsa insisted on a tightening of the Section 37 clause that is meant to prevent unions “double-dipping”, or pressing for new demands at a factory or company level in spite of an existing industry-wide wage deal.

On Thursday, Numsa expressed fears that an amendment by employers to the new wage offer will result in retrenchments or restructuring in the next three years, according to a report by Reuters.

“The employers are causing trouble and making hasty demands,” Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete told reporters in Johannesburg.

“They want to freeze history… Employers are hell-bent on not finding a speedy resolution.”

Over 200 000 Numsa members in the metal and engineering sector downed tools on July 1, demanding a salary increase of 12%, down from their pre-strike demand of 15%. They also demanded a R1 000 housing allowance and a total ban on labour brokers.

The stoppage has been marred by heavy intimidation and violence.

Source  - Reuters, Sapa

 

 

Wages take back seat over “Peace Clause” fight

THE National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says its striking members are likely to reject the current offer by employers, unless it is adapted to preserve the rights of workers to take action over shop-floor issues after a collective deal is struck.

The union has had 220,000 members on strike since July 1, and has been given until Friday to respond to a three-year double-digit wage deal.

Numsa warned on Thursday that an employers’ proposal to amend a clause in the agreement — meant to ensure labour stability — was “reckless” and could backfire.

The contentious issue is the “peace clause”, which is meant to provide certainty to employers after an agreement has been negotiated in collective bargaining; that employers will not face strikes and then have to contend with additional and unforeseen costs.

Companies are concerned that two Labour Court judgments this year open the “back door” for additional demands by unions.

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) said this week its 2,200 members had “reluctantly” agreed to a three-year deal ranging from 7%-10%.

The amendment to the wording of the peace clause was proposed, employers have said, to create clarity on the scope of collective agreements.

Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said this week the changes to the “peace clause” were necessary to reaffirm the original intention of the bargaining process, that it cover all matters that could add to the material cost of employment.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said this would give businesses “unfettered” power to drive workplace changes without unions being able to oppose them with actions such as strikes. It should be seen as a “frontal attack” on the power of organised labour.

Employers fear that a two-tier bargaining system would emerge without the amendment.

But Numsa said its record of more than two decades of deals was proof it did not “double dip”, as the practice is known.

“If employers insist on (the amendment) we would not have negotiations every three years. We would have negotiations every six months,” he said.

The Numsa national leadership was to convene last night to get feedback on its two-day regional mandating process, which will determine how to proceed with the negotiations. It is understood Seifsa and Numsa continued talks on the “peace clause” on Thursday. This means Numsa has not made any final decision, but Mr Jim said on Thursday it was considering whether it could agree to the amendment if employers made concessions on a similar level. These could include moratoriums on retrenchments and restructuring, he said.

The National Employers Association of South Africa, the second-largest employer body by workforce, supports Seifsa’s proposal, but has indicated it would not sign off on an agreement, CEO Gerhard Papenfus said on Thursday.

Seifsa has claimed that the strike was costing the economy about R300m a day. Economists and the Reserve Bank have warned of the damage to the economy if the strike is protracted.

The association still maintains that its members cannot afford an increase above 8%, and has not dropped a demand that would see minimum wages at new companies halved in the interest of business and job creation.

United Association of South Africa director for metals Johan van Niekerk said on Thursday the union would present a suggestion to the council that might address the issue.

Source – BD Live by Karl Gernetzky