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Labour relations specialists Article

Friday | 18 October | 2019 Tito’s plan could also benefit trade unions

The successful implementation of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s turnaround plan will make a contribution to job creation and will create opportunity for trade unions to grow their member base.   Unfortunately, trade unions that have a Marxist character, such as the trade union federations Cosatu and Saftu and the metal workers’ union Numsa have reacted negatively to Mboweni’s plan. One would have thought that with their declining numbers and the accompanying financial challenges they are facing they would realise that union growth is possible only through economic growth.   Apart from their general opposition to the plan, Cosatu also feels
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Tuesday | 06 August | 2019 Politicians can learn from trade union coalitions

Coalitions between political parties are either formed or broken up after national or local government elections. Especially the DA and the EFF have a legacy of making up and breaking up.   The phenomenon of formal coalition formation has established itself in trade unionism for quite some time already and shares commonalities with coalitions in the political environment. In trade unionism the motive behind coalition formation is to either protect or establish majoritarian status of representivity at a workplace by means of a coalition or to form an opposition bloc against the majoritarian trade union. Underlying this is the “winner
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Tuesday | 16 July | 2019 Lonmin doomed after ‘unholy’ pact with Amcu

Lonmin, the world’s third largest platinum producer, was taken over by Sibanye-Stillwater on 7 June. Had this takeover not taken place Lonmin may well have been under business rescue by now.   Lonmin’s cashflow problems initially arose from the failed mechanisation attempt by Brad Mills, its CEO from 2004 to 2008.   In August 2012 a second major blow hit the company by way of the Marikana events. A few months after Marikana Ben Magara was appointed as Lonmin’s chief executive. While Magara did good things too, he expedited Lonmin’s end.   I got to know Magara as head of
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Wednesday | 19 June | 2019 The country is on the losing end when mines go under

According to the Minerals Council South Africa, full-time employment in the mining sector has shrunk by 56 366 employees over the past five years, from 509 909 in 2013 to 453 543 in 2018. In 1994 this sector had 600 000 employees. The question is: What are the consequences of a shrinking mining industry? The answer is: A catastrophe!   First, when a miner loses his job, it affects about ten dependents. As mining is so labour intensive it also has a downstream impact with about 1,7 jobs being lost in the contractors’ and support services sectors for each permanent
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Monday | 15 April | 2019 Minerals Council can take a page from mining communities’ book

The Minerals Council of South Africa recently filed a court application for a judicial review of the Mining Charter over the continuing consequences of empowerment transactions. The Council contends that the charter, which was published in September 2018, is not fully in line with a High Court declaratory order of April 2018 on the once empowered, always empowered principle.   Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is not impressed by the application and requested the council to rather find a solution to the problem through dialogue.   The decision to go to court could well cost the council dearly because of
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Tuesday | 12 February | 2019 Only an ideological mind shift can save Eskom

The high-level Eskom sustainability task team appointed by Pres Cyril Ramaphosa in December submitted its interim report with recommendations for a turnaround strategy to the President on 31 January 2019.    Commonalities between the task team and the Zondo Commission emerged when, during their session with the task team, Eskom trade unions emphasised the rampant corruption at Eskom. Although heads have already rolled over alleged irregularities at executive level, corruption and self-enrichment are still the order of the day throughout the organisation.     Four other problems that are prevailing in Eskom’s procurement process pertain to instances where black economic empowerment
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Monday | 04 February | 2019 Stability in labour relations requires political stability

In a 2018 report, known as a “Systematic Country Diagnostic of South Africa,” the World Bank expressed its concern over, among others, the state of labour relations in the country. Last year government showed, in the words of Pres Ramaphosa’s opening address at the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation’s Summit, that it took this part of the report seriously, calling on trade unions and employers to do everything in their power to normalise labour relations.   In the search for a solution one must look beyond the employer/employee/trade union relationship. The total labour relations system must be analysed, and this includes political,
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Wednesday | 09 January | 2019 Labour relations could boil over in 2019

Looking back on 2018, the year’s violent strikes, as well as the NUM’s and Numsa’s Eskom strike in August, together with Numsa’s strike in the plastic sector and Amcu’s at Sibanye-Stillwater, all go to show that Nedlac has dragged its heels for far too long to introduce legislative amendments to deal with strikes of such a nature. In each of the above instances, employers had to seek court interdicts given the violence and intimidation that characterised the strikes, while appropriate labour legislation regulating strikes of such a destructive nature should have been in place long ago, following Amcu’s five-month long
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Wednesday | 09 January | 2019 Race-related negotiations  sticky business

Due to various black empowerment-related legislation, regulations and policies that are regularly revised, it is frequent practice at Solidarity to participate in negotiation processes where the focus is on white-black issues.  During the recent negotiations regarding the Mining Charter, it was mainly about black negotiators from the government and other trade unions who wanted to bargain for as many benefits as possible for black South Africans, and on the other side Solidarity tried to limit the impact thereof on white employees. The reality of the Mining Charter’s aim was made very clear when Solidarity was interrupted by a member of
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Wednesday | 09 January | 2019 The wave of strikes must be stopped

Participation in strikes is a constitutional right, but certain trade unions’ unrealistic demands and the general lack of adherence to the law that is at the order of the day with most strikes, causes damage to all trade unions’ image and the underlying reasons for strikes are not fully understood. There is also a tendency that reports on salary negotiations mainly focus on a trade union’s demands in comparison with the CPI, while the CPI is only an indication and no single person or a group of workers’ living costs increase exactly the same as the CPI. The list of
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