Taking COSATU Today Forward
‘Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a revolutionary in the full sense’-Maoo
Our side of the story
Tuesday, 31 August 2021
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It is not the policy of the Department of Employment and Labour to turn queueing clients away
30 August 2021
The incidents of poor service delivery experienced by clients at the Alberton Labour Centre is the antithesis of expected behaviour by officials of the government in general and the Department of Employment and Labour in particular.
What is reported to have transpired at this particular labour centre should not have happened. Under no circumstances should clients be sent back without being assisted/helped by the staff at any one of our offices at any point in time.
"It is NOT the policy of the Department to cut queues during the official times of 07:30 to 16:00 from Mondays to Fridays. We view this allegation in a serious light and will institute an enquiry to establish the facts and where necessary, will take appropriate action against any staff member found to have been involved in this unfortunate incident," said Tshepo Mokomatsidi, the chief director provincial operations: Gauteng.
Having said that, we must also put it on record that the closure of our Germiston Labour Centre in 2018 led to a situation in which clients who are traditionally serviced by this centre had to flock to the Alberton Labour Centre, thus leading to huge influx of clients. This is however, not an excuse nor the fact that since the onset of COVID-19 and its health and safety restrictions in 2020, all our offices in the province (Gauteng) had to operate with half of normal capacity of staff at all times. Because of the job losses that have been exacerbated by the onset of the pandemic, we find that we have high demand for our services and this has put a strain on our operations," he continued.
In order to overcome the influx of clients at the labour centres, the Department came with different directives on how best it can assist the clients under Covid 19 restrictions. It introduced the appointment system where clients are given dates in which they can come to receive services at the labour centre.
This appointment system was augmented by a system called "One Day Service Delivery" which aimed to ensure that on the date of the appointment the client is able to leave our Labour Centres with the full knowledge of whether the application have been approved or not. This was done to minimise client traffic which could have exposed them and our officials to Covid 19.
Furthermore, the Department also came up with a directive which introduced the use of ‘Pay Sheets’ to effect payment benefits without the need for clients to come to our offices to submit payment continuation forms. It is unfortunate that some clients prefer to come in person which has an impact on queues.
The Department is committed to providing quality services to all our clients within the scope and of also adhering to the health and safety protocols to protect both clients and staff members from Covid19 and in future will work hard to ensure that such unfortunate events do not happen again.
Sekhothali Lekalakala CPRP,
Provincial Communication Officer
Mobile: 082 904 5225
Acting Departmental Spokesperson
Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour
North West Health MEC Intervenes to Avert Further External Security Salaries Strikes
North West Province; Mafikeng: The North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha on Friday afternoon called an urgent meeting with executive managers of contracted external security companies, including facilities management, and provincial and regional union representatives. The purpose was to engage with all affected parties to find a lasting solution to avert the continuous salaries strike of external security guards which already ensued for almost a week.
What led to this unfortunate strike action is that there have been several interruptions of the network in the Provincial government system over the past few months. This has affected the payments of many service providers including security companies.
This led to the delay of payment of outstanding invoices. As a matter of priority, the payment of security service companies was receiving the utmost attention from the health authorities, and the processing and payment started on the 14th August 2021.
“Security in health facility provides essential services and is one of our priorities to mitigate risks and very important to keep patients and staff safe at the actual point of care, this includes the state properties as well. This cannot be compromised at all times” said the MEC. “in fact, all security matters must be immediately elevated to the highest authorities”.
It is regrettable that whilst the external security guards were on striking, the intelligence observed infiltration of disruptive business people who not only influenced the guards to be defiant and leave their posts but also intimidated them to abandon their posts and demand removal of the recently appointed security companies, which was not what
the security guards were initially not striking for.
The engagement with the MEC meeting was indeed fruitful. The outcomes of the meeting led to the amicable solution that benefited all parties, and the following commitments are brought forward:
All parties agreed that a security strike for salaries will be suspended with immediate effect. All security guards will return to their posts and security service will be fully functional in all health facilities as from 26/08/2021 at 20H00pm.
Commitment is made by security companies executive directors that all security guards will be paid before the end of the business by Saturday 28th August 2021. The security companies further made a commitment that the monthly payment date for the security guards will be will adhere to without fail.
Although we would at times experience unforeseen IT system failure as it was the case. The NW Department of Health further commits to payment of 30 days upon receipt of the security invoice.
This matter of payment will be taken to the DEC of the department.
Contact management capacity is critical to ensure efficiency in the system. MEC has directed that the district and provincial office must have a dedicated section of employees in supply chain and finance who will be responsible for monitoring claims and payments of security companies. This will also help with tracking of companies’ payments.
This will ensure that there is no reason for unions to mobilize security guards to go on strike for salaries.
Security guards and security companies must be made aware that the issue of community or business contestation must be taken out of the workplaces. They must separate between the element that has to deal with anarchy and the element that has to do with labour issues. Security and Unions must deal with labour matters.
Business communities must refrain from unfair influencing the unsuspecting security guards or any other component of health services personnel to undue anarchy.
If any business forum or individuals wants to make a presentation, they are free to pursue their business matters through the courts of law instead of causing anarchy in our health facilities. Acts of intimidation and force removal of security guards from their posts will no longer be tolerated.
MEC further advised that there must be continuous meetings of management and security personnel to ensure service delivery is not compromised, including issues of agreed upon such as security rates payment, and recruitment etc.
André Kriel, SACTWU General Secretary, 31 August 2021
Approximately 70 000 clothing workers in South Africa, most of who are members of the COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU), will receive a 4.2% average wage increase as from 1 September 2021.
This is the second wage increase for South African clothing workers this year.
The previous wage increase of a 3.7% average came into force and effect on 1 March this year.
These wage increases are a result of a variation collective agreement which was concluded late last year, between SACTWU and the following 3 employer associations: Apparel & Textile Association of South Africa (ATASA), South African Apparel Association (SAAA), and the Transvaal Clothing Manufacturers Association (TCMA).
The agreement was concluded under the auspices of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry.
We hope that this additional wage increase which comes into effect tomorrow will bring welcome relief for clothing workers, who are predominantly women.
It is fitting that it comes at the conclusion of Women’s Month, under very difficult COVID-19 pandemic conditions.
If further comments or information are required, please contact SACTWU 1st National Organising Secretary and Clothing Sector Chief Negotiator, Bonita Loubser, on cell number 082 800 7142.
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation statement on scarce, critical skills and the alignment of curriculum for skills development and job creation
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande said the Department of Higher Education and Training has embarked on generating the Scarce, Critical Skills as well as the Occupations in High Demand lists to guide the programme offerings and student enrolments in the PSET institutions.
The Minister said the Department of Higher Education and Training is finalising the Skills Strategy, whilst the Department of Science and Innovation is finalising the Innovation Strategy. Both these strategies will support the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) of the government.
Whilst this work is underway, targets are set for the placement of graduates in workplaces so that they are work-ready for easy absorption into the world of work, given that the lack of work experience is often the barrier to securing gainful and permanent employment among young people.
“Entrepreneurship hubs are being established at TVET Colleges to support students to move into self-employment after completion of their programmes,” said Minister Nzimande.
Minister Nzimande said both the Universities and TVET College's curricula are strengthened to be relevant to skills required by the national economy and that of the world. This is to ensure that the PSET sector produces world-class graduates who, more importantly, are able to participate and grow the South African local economy and help in the local job creation drive and the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).
“At various intervals, our universities align their study programmes to these national priorities, whilst our TVET colleges are gradually aligning their programme offerings to the needs of local employers and communities,” emphasised Minister Nzimande.
The Minister said that some of these changes are happening within current programme offerings whilst many colleges are introducing new occupational offerings that are in demand within their specific local economic context.
“In addition, there has been an extensive review of much of the TVET curricula to make them relevant and keep them current, and this will continue for the next several years. The focus at the moment is on digital and related skills to meet job demands driven by the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said the Minister.
Minister Nzimande said the Department of Higher Education and Training also initiated different programmes aimed at encouraging young people to become artisans.
“In 2014 we launched the Decade of the Artisan at Ekurhuleni East TVET college which is a campaign that seeks to promote artisanship as a career of choice for South Africa’s youth as well as highlight skills development opportunities for artisans. This was aimed at developing qualified artisans to support the South African economy, particularly in light of the successful implementation of the Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SPIs). The theme of this campaign was ‘It’s cool to be a 21st-century artisan’, highlighted Minister Nzimande.
Minister Nzimande said in 2017 the Department begun with the establishment of Centres of Specialisation in more than 20 colleges focusing on thirteen (13) designated trades. Centres of Specialisation in the TVET College sector is a programme that aims to inform college differentiation, promote quality teaching and learning, facilitate responsiveness and provide a model for the implementation of QCTO’s trade qualifications at the same time as it develops artisanal skills.
In relation to artisan training, Minister Nzimande said that in the 2018/2019 financial year, the number of registrations was at 29 982. However, due to the economic slowdown and COVID-19, this number dropped to 16 218 in 2019/2020 year and the number is expected to further drop in 2020/2021 year due to the current pandemic. The pandemic affected all the Skills Development Providers including public and private.
relation to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey Quarter 2: 2021, Minister Nzimande said the PSET sector will further study the survey report. From the surface, the survey findings confirm in the main what the Skills and Innovation strategies seek to address:
provision of the necessary skills for youth and adults that will enable them to be absorbed and to create jobs within the formal and the informal economy.
31 August, 2021
IndustriALL Global Union has announced its support the campaign by Myanmar’s unions calling for comprehensive economic sanctions against the military junta.
The announcement was made during a webinar on the “Campaign for comprehensive economic sanctions against Myanmar’s military junta” on 27 August, bringing together trade union leaders, civil society and brand representatives from around the world.
Myanmar’s labour movement says there is no ethical way to do business in the country and is calling for comprehensive sanctions, and for companies – including fashion brands – to divest and cease their operations in Myanmar.
Since the military coup in February, thousands of workers have been arrested, over 950 people have been killed, and the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 left 1,500 bodies in Yangon in one day alone in July. Under the military regime, workers in Myanmar are denied the right to freedom of association, health and safety and freedom of speech.
Representatives of the Myanmar Labour Alliance Khaing Zar, Moe Sandar Myint and Nandar Sit Aung, exposed severe violations of workers’ rights in Myanmar; trade unionists have been dismissed when employers have collaborated with the authorities, collective agreements are not respected, Covid-19 protocols are not followed.
Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary, said:
“The situation in Myanmar is certainly not a normal situation; people are killed and tortured, workers cannot go to work due to repression. How can workers’ rights be protected in that kind of extreme situation?
“That is why we support the campaign calling for comprehensive economic sanctions, spearheaded by our affiliate Industrial Workers’ Federation of Myanmar (IWFM), our partners Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) and the Myanmar Labour Alliance. Economic sanctions proved to be effective in ending apartheid in South Africa and could be so in Myanmar.”
IndustriALL textile and garment sector director Christina Hajagos-Clausen stressed the importance of maintain a dialogue with brands sourcing from Myanmar on human rights violations, due diligence and how to withdraw orders responsibly.
Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary, said:
“You are not alone in the fight for democracy in Myanmar. Global union federations are organizing a global day of action on 15 September to demand the restoration of the civilian government in Myanmar. The ITUC supports the campaign for comprehensive sanctions and will take solidarity action to demand that banks to stop international transfers to Myanmar.”
What can you do?
Call on brands and multinational companies, demanding they cease business operations and stop making new orders in Myanmar
Organize demonstrations or press conference at the offices of multinational companies with a presence in Myanmar
Take photos with a solidarity message and share on social media with the hashtag #Workers4Myanmar
Hand over memoranda to ASEAN embassies in your country to put pressure on the multinationals
Reach out to media to highlight the campaign and the plight of Myanmar workers
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