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  1. #1
    BVR USA Liaison Guest

    Nationwide Strike In South Africa

    Stoning causes bus-service clampdown

    June 13 2007 at 10:20AM

    Durban's main bus operator withdrew its services early on Wednesday morning after reports that a number of its buses had been stoned.

    Paul Rush, the operations manager for Remant Alton, said he withdrew the company's buses from service shortly before 8am after he had received reports that buses had been stoned in Ntuzuma, Umlazi and Clairwood.

    He said he was still awaiting reports on the incident and could not provide more details.

    "I am not prepared to put the lives of the drivers and the passengers at risk," he said. Staff had reported for work and the service had started operating at 4.30am as usual.

    Rush said one bus driver had been stopped in Besters, near Durban's Ntuzuma area and robbed of his takings.

    He was reluctant to link it to the strike, saying: "It may just be a criminal element [taking advantage of the strike]."

    Remant Alton is a private bus operator contracted by the eThekwini municipality to run the city's public bus service.

    Taxi operators announced on Tuesday that they would be joining the strike on Wednesday.

    A large eThekwini Metro Police contingent was reported to be stationed near Durban International Airport after there had been reports that minibus taxis would blockade access to the airport.

    Durban's city centre was devoid of taxis and buses and the usual rush hour appeared to be almost non-existent.

    There were reports of large numbers of people queueing in vain at bus stops.

    Several marches were expected to take place throughout KwaZulu-Natal. - Sapa


  2. #2
    BVR USA Liaison Guest

    Re: Nationwide Strike In South Africa

    Strike looms at Eskom

    June 15 2007 at 09:04AM

    Industrial action was likely at Eskom after wage negotiations deadlocked, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.

    "It is possible that we shall pursue the strike route because Eskom has indicated that this is their last offer," said NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.

    Eskom upped its offer of 5,5 percent to six percent and refused to budge further, Seshoka said.

    The negotiations are being held between Eskom the NUM, the trade union Solidarity and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

    The unions are demanding a 12 percent wage increase while Eskom is offering six percent.

    The three unions together represent over 20 000 Eskom employees.

    The unions are also demanding a R1500 housing subsidy while the parastatal is offering R450.

    Numsa spokesperson Mziwakhe Hlangani said "things were not going well" around the negotiating table.

    "There is a stalemate, although it hasn't been declared," he said.

    Hlangani said the unions would report to their members and then return to negotiations with Eskom - negotiations had not been concluded he but did not yet have a date for the next round.

    Eskom employees were bound by a minimum service agreement and their employees provided an essential service, Hlangani said.

    "That puts us in a precarious position... we cannot come to an agreement (with Eskom) as to which areas are allowed to strike but the matter has been declared to the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration]," he said.

    Eskom spokesperson Fanie Zulu was not immediately able to comment.



  3. #3
    BVR USA Liaison Guest

    Re: Nationwide Strike In South Africa

    SAPS in urgent court application to prevent strike

    June 15, 2007, 15:45

    The South African Police Service (SAPS) will lodge an urgent application in the Johannesburg Labour Court at 6pm to prevent SAPS members from striking.

    This follows the threat of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) to strike if the public service wage dispute is not resolved today. Popcru said earlier its national executive would meet on Monday to draw up strike plans if the dispute was not resolved. Popcru has some 120 000 members, among them police and correctional services staff.

    A joint technical task team is set to consider proposals tabled at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council last night. Government formalised independent mediators' 7.25% pay increase proposal. Public service unions are expected to approach their members for a new mandate today. It is unclear when the wage talks will resume.


    Government denies the withholding of salaries
    June 15, 2007, 11:00

    Labour unions in the public service co-ordinating bargaining council say the government has denied that commercial banks have been instructed to withhold striking workers' salaries for this month.

    Willy Madisha, the Cosatu president, says plans are already in place to take the employer to court in case this happens.

    He says although labour admits that the "no work no pay" policy has to be effected, certain procedures will have to be followed before implementation.

    "It is true that 'no work no pay' must apply and our members know it. But after a long time, workers will enjoy the fruit of their actions. For now the process of wage negotiations continues," he says.

    The Western Cape government has also notified banks not to process salaries. But striking workers in Limpopo confirmed that their salaries were paid in.

    Meanwhile, the education department has assured striking teachers that they will not lose their jobs.


    Striking workers will not disrupt Comrades: Cosatu
    June 15, 2007, 14:15

    Striking workers will not disrupt Sunday's Comrades Marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. This commitment was given to Leonard Chuene, the Athletics South Africa president, by Willie Madisha, his Cosatu counterpart.

    The two discussed the matter this morning.

    The Comrades Marathon Association has played down concerns by some runners about the quality of medical support for the event on Sunday. Some competitors have expressed their misgivings in light of the current industrial action by public sector health workers.

    Gary Boshoff, the Comrades Marathon general manager, says he wants to assure runners that medical support services will operate as normal. "I'd like to confirm and reassure runners that nothing has changed for this year's race as our medical service providers are Netcare 911 and Netcare 911 staff are not involved in the present industrial action."

    Motorists travelling to Pietermaritzburg on Sunday morning, where the Comrades Marathon sets off at 5:30am, have been urged to plan ahead. Con Roux, the commercial manager of the N3 Toll Concession, says there will be various lane closures on the N3 in a southerly direction heading towards Durban.


  4. #4
    BVR USA Liaison Guest

    Re: Nationwide Strike In South Africa

    Thousands feel pinch of no work no pay rule
    June 15, 2007, 16:00

    More than 1 000 workers in the Western Cape have been affected by the no work no pay rule adopted by the provincial government. The government is withholding an estimated R6 million from striking workers this month.

    The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) in Limpopo says the government has no right to unilaterally stop the salaries of striking public service workers. Government has denied that it instructed commercial banks to stop workers' salaries, but the Western Cape government has implemented the no work no pay principle, and deducted pay for days workers were on strike.

    Khomotso Nkgapele, the Nehawu chairperson in Limpopo, says the no work no pay policy has to be procedurally applied in consultation with unions. "We should agree in terms of how many days are going to be deducted… It is not up to them to unilaterally stop salaries of the people," he added.


    Immigration staff to down tools
    15/06/2007 16:58

    Johannesburg - Immigration officials will stop stamping passports and performing their other functions on Friday afternoon, the Public Service Association (PSA) said on Friday.

    PSA chief negotiator Reuben Maleka said immigration workers were granted permission to take part in the public service strike by the statutory Essential Services Committee (ESC) on Friday.

    The union was in the process of communicating the news to its members, who could leave their cubicles or counters immediately.

    "They can immediately vacate as soon as they hear that the ESC has granted permission... all level five, six and seven workers can go on strike, level eight and up are not allowed," he said.

    The ESC was tasked with determining whether immigration workers provided essential services - meaning they would be barred from downing tools under the Labour Relations Act.

    Level eight workers are those in supervisory positions while the balance make up the workers manning counters at immigration points at airports and border posts.

    A decision on whether level eight workers were regarded as essential will be taken at a full sitting of the ESC in August.

    One the eve of the public service strike on May 31, the department of home affairs was granted an order interdicting immigration workers from taking part in the strike at the Labour Court in Cape Town.

    'Happy with contingency plan'

    The order prevented eight unions, including the PSA and the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) from "calling upon, inciting or encouraging" members who were immigration officers.

    The court gave the ESC until June 15 to decide whether the immigration workers were essential services workers or not.

    Between 700 and 1 000 of around 1 250 immigration workers were expected to down tools, Maleka said.

    On Friday, Nehawu welcomed the ESC ruling.

    The home affairs department could not immediately be reached for comment but spokesman Jacky Mashapu had said on Friday morning that immigration workers were in full attendance at ports of entry.

    The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) was aware of the ESC ruling, said spokesperson Solomon Mokgale.

    "It has had no impact at this point in time... we are aware that home affairs has a contingency plan, which we have seen and are happy with," he said.


  5. #5
    BVR USA Liaison Guest

    Re: Nationwide Strike In South Africa

    'Bring independent schools to standstill'

    The South African Democratic Teachers Association’s KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Sipho “KK” Nkosi, ordered members to “close down all public and private schools and all nine FET [Further Education and Training] colleges”, when he addressed marchers outside Durban’s City Hall recently.

    This was despite assurances by Sadtu’s national general secretary, Thulas Nxesi, that closing private schools is not union policy. Private schools set their own pay levels and are not party to the public service pay dispute.

    Earlier in the week Nkosi claimed a 97% success rate in closing down schools in KwaZulu-Natal. He told the Mail & Guardian that it was Sadtu’s “duty to ensure that education comes to a standstill in the province” and that this included the closure of all former model C and private schools.

    Nkosi said the programme of action involved the closure of private institutions because “the children of the politicians and fat cats are at these schools and they would not compromise in the negotiations because their children are not affected”.

    In addition, private schools based their pay increases on government scales. “So we are, in fact, liberating these teachers,” said Nkosi.

    All former model C schools in Durban have been closed since last Wednesday after being targeted by Sadtu for closure.

    Jane Hofmeyr, executive director of the Independent Schools’ Association of South Africa (Isasa), which has 585 members, said the majority of independent schools in the province had been closed since Monday this week, after several received threats.

    Hofmeyr said the closure of independent schools by strikers appeared to be occurring mainly in KwaZulu-Natal.

    The M&G has seen a copy of a letter circulated to members by Sadtu’s Durban South branch calling for all former model C schools to be targeted for closure.

    Indicating a rift between the union’s national and local leaders, the letter calls for “revolutionary consciousness” to “ensure that for the first time in wage negotiations we break the circle and move away from the usual practice ... which has for years seen us embarking on action only to abandon [it] at the convenience of the leadership, irrespective of whether our demands are met”.

    Durban South regional secretary Nkosinathi Makhoba denied the letter implied dissatisfaction with Sadtu’s national leadership or negotiators, saying its purpose was to give negotiators the “confidence” that teachers on the ground were not buckling under the pressure of a two-week strike.

    Hofmeyr said that while government increases to public sector teachers “played some role” in private school salaries, some Isasa members paid their teachers less.

    She said: “Our funding comes entirely from parents and our benefits also differ. Government teachers get housing subsidies, we offer teachers housing at the school and medical aid only for employees, not their families.”

    Judy Tate, principal of Inanda Seminary, said the 138-year-old boarding school had closed two weeks earlier than scheduled, after a visit from a “fairly demanding group with quite a lot of [public school] teachers”.

    Tate said the school had postponed its exams until next term.

    On Thursday several former model C schools in Durban, which had re*opened, were shut down swiftly again. Dave Aitken, head of Pinetown Boys’ High, said the school closed again after a visit from a two-person Sadtu delegation. Initially the school had been closed for six working days after it received a threatening letter from the Sadtu Durban South region, which mentioned “the use of knobkerries and spears”.

    “There were veiled threats that the safety of our pupils was in jeopardy once they left school because they travelled in town in uniform. We decided to send pupils home early.”


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