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Labour relations specialists Article

Monday | 09 March | 2020 Guptas se ‘dood’ is myners se brood

Exxaro Resources moes in 2015 die Arnot-myn naby Middelburg (Mpumalanga), wat hulle 40 jaar lank namens Eskom bedryf het, sluit. Die gevolg was dat 1 200 werknemers afgelê moes word by 'n myn wat nog 190 miljoen ton se steenkoolreserwes gehad het. Eskom se Arnot-kragstasie is juis reg langs die myn geleë sodat steenkool maklik op 'n vervoerband na die kragstasie vervoer kan word.   Waarom het Eskom dan besluit om die kontrak te kanselleer en steenkool vanaf verder geleë myne te bekom?   Die antwoord hierop het by Zondo-kommissie oor staatskaping aan die lig gekom toe dit bekend geword
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Thursday | 16 January | 2020 Labour relations will be challenging this year

SAA and Eskom will be the focal points of labour relations during the first half of the year. Eskom’s restructuring plan should now begin to give greater clarity on the much talked about unbundling process. The mineworkers’ union, the NUM, and the metal workers’ union, Numsa, in particular will be fiercely opposing any form of privatisation or staff reduction. André de Ruyter, Eskom’s new CEO, will soon realise that Eskom’s operational and labour relations challenges are closely linked.   Numsa is expected also to oppose any form of privatisation at the SAA, and the main challenge for all the unions
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Wednesday | 08 January | 2020 Take a lesson from the Germans and appoint workers to boards

At last year’s Mining Charter negotiations trade unions campaigned for employee representation on company boards, and a clause making provision for such representation was included in the draft charter. This clause was scrapped at the eleventh hour at the insistence of the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA), the robust nature of labour relations being the underlying cause for this move. This was also indicative of the poor cooperation and trust between role players. The Department of Mineral Resources itself was uncomfortable with the clause given the fiduciary obligation it would place on employee representatives.   Earlier this year, at the
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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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