#COSATU holds Swaziland Global Week of Action
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Tuesday, 7 September 2021
‘Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for the NDR and Advance the Struggle for Socialism’
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o Workers Parliament: Back to Basics!
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o International-Workers’ Solidarity!
Tebatso Mokoena, NUM Construction Sector Coordinator, 02 September 2021
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strongly condemns ambush tactics employed by the Construction and Engineering Sector concerning this year wages and conditions of employment negotiations.
The NUM, the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors, the Consolidated Employers Organisation and the Building Construction and Allied Workers Union have since March engaged in comprehensive industry negotiations regarding this year wage demands.
The parties are negotiating under the Bargaining Council for Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI),
The parties in the BCCEI could not conclude drafting of what is been agreed upon in writing due to one item being excluded, which is the annual bonuses.
"We are stuck on the matter of bonuses, on what clauses should be inserted and which one should be deleted. The employers are using ambush tactics, the condition that would be favouring them at the expense of poor construction workers”, said NUM Construction Sector Coordinator Tebatso Mokoena.
The clauses that employers demanded to be deleted were that an employee shall forfeit their annual bonus when absent without permission, after 10 days of absence. The employers then demanded that we should reduce those days to zero.
As labour, we agreed to that proposal because the employers agreed to the fact that employees will receive a pro-rata bonus when they exit employment before payment of this bonus which happens every December.
“Through their ambush tactics and their greedy behaviour, the employers have suddenly jackknifed, telling us this is not what they have agreed on. They then informed the negotiating forum that if we do not agree with their submission, we do not have an agreement to all conditions that have already been put in place.
This is ridiculous as the industry is negotiating in bad faith with a gun on our heads. As the NUM negotiators we are refusing to sign such kind of an agreement”, said Mokoena.
What it means is that there is no agreement with the industry at this stage and all the increases that employees were expecting from the 1st of September this year would not receive them. The promulgation of the agreement will not take place.
One of the demands from the employers while busy negotiating was to freeze the wages for September 2021 to August 2022.
The aim was to frustrate employees who are employed on a limited-duration contract not to receive their bonuses as they are entitled to gratuity at the end of their contract as long as that service is terminated before December.
To this end, the battle lines have been drawn. These construction companies had officially declared war on the working class.
The NUM is committing itself to fight tooth and nail to ensure those poor workers are equally paid what is due to them.
The Commission is preparing to comply with the Constitutional Court orders
The Commission is taking measures to ensure that it complies with the orders of the Constitutional Court relating to the conduct of municipal elections by 1 November 2021. Although the orders were handed down without a reasoned judgement at this stage, it is important that the Commission proceeds with deliberate speed to comply with the decision of the Constitutional Court in the fulfilment of its mandate, notwithstanding current circumstances.
The Commission is of the view that it must take all necessary measures to ensure an electoral process that is free and fair, striving for safety within the constraints occasioned by the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission calls on all role-players, especially political parties, to cooperate to ensure that the election proceeds within a calm environment where voters can exercise their right to vote and make their choices without undue impediments.
In order to give impetus to the preparations of the elections, the Commission met over the weekend to assess whether a registration weekend is practical before the elections. Having considered and deliberated on the matter, the Commission has made a determination that a registration weekend is a necessity ahead of this general election. Therefore, a registration weekend is now scheduled for the weekend of 18 and 19 September 2021.
This registration weekend will offer all eligible citizens an opportunity to register or update their registration details. All the 23 151 voting stations will open at 08h00 until 17h00 on both days. The Commission urges young people, in particular, to take advantage of this opportunity to register and eventually vote.
The Commission also held a consultative meeting with the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA). In line with the orders of the Court, the Commission has advised the Minister that it will be proceeding with a registration weekend on 18 and 19 September. This means that the Minister will on 20 September 2021 proclaim the date of the election. This proclamation of the election date will cause the voters’ roll to be closed for purposes of the 2021 Municipal Elections.
The Commission has indicated its preference of the election date to the Minister who is now considering the matter. It is the Commission’s wish that the election date is announced soon to allow electoral stakeholders to prepare within the short time to 1 November.
In view of the fact that the voter registration process has been re-opened by the order of the Court, a number of amendments to the electoral timetable are necessary. This is permitted by the Constitutional Court’s order, which make clear that the Commission is entitled to “publish such amendments to the current timetable as may be reasonably necessary”.
This includes the need to set a new deadline for candidate nominations. The scheme of the Municipal Electoral Act is such that the voter registration deadline is intended to precede the candidate nomination deadline. For example, persons can only be nominated as candidates once registered on the voters’ roll and provided they are registered in the relevant segment concerned. It is therefore necessary to allow political parties and independent candidates an opportunity to nominate candidates after the registration weekend of 18-19 September 2021 has occurred and after the voters’ roll has closed.
A meeting of the National Party Liaison Commission was held earlier today. It is clear there are different interpretations among parties as to whether the order of the Constitutional Court permits the Commission to re-open nominations. The Commission has taken advice on the matter and is of the view that amending the timetable to re-open nominations is reasonably necessary in the circumstances.
There are currently 77 970 candidates of which 911 are independent.
Following the proclamation of the election date on 20 September 2021, the Commission will publish an amended election timetable which will provide truncated timelines. The truncated timeline is reasonably necessary to meet the outer deadline for the conduct of the 2021 Municipal Elections.
Furthermore, the Commission has acquired 40 000 Voter Management Devices which will be used for the first time over the registration weekend. These devices will, in most registration stations, be functioning online. This will facilitate the process of voter verification almost instantaneously. The mapping functionality on the device will facilitate the correct registration of voters in relation to the ward of ordinary residence. The expectation is that the registration data will be consolidated sooner than has hitherto been the case. This will allow for the inspection voters’ roll to be prepared and for objections to close on 23 September 2021.
The applications for special votes will also open 20 September 2021 and close on 4 October 2021. The use of special votes will take on heightened importance in this election because of the need to de-congest voting stations on Election Day.
The Commission assures South African citizens that it will spare no effort to deliver a credible process guided by the prescripts and electoral jurisprudence arising from our courts.
For media queries: Please contact Kate Bapela on 082 600-6386
5 September 2021
The ITUC and its Asia-Pacific regional organisation, ITUC-Asia Pacific, are demanding the immediate release of the president of the KCTU Korea, Yang Kyeung-soo, from detention.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “The charges against Yang are wrong and disproportionate, and he posed no flight risk, yet now the authorities have detained him. His detention seems more designed to disrupt the KCTU’s preparations for a national strike on 20 October. He should be released right away and the charges against him dropped.”
For more information, see the ITUC-AP statement
Norman Mampane (Shopsteward Editor)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street, Braamfontein, 2017
P.O.Box 1019, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct line: 010 219-1348