Category Archives: Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA)

Fedusa

FEDUSA Will Not Support March against National Minimum Wage

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) will not support any calls to march against the National Minimum Wage (NMW) of R3 500 a month from whatever quarter it comes from as this will be highly irresponsible grandstanding that does not serve the interests of millions of vulnerable workers.

FEDUSA remains fully cognizant that the proposed R20 per hour, translated to R3500 monthly, is not a living wage, but a minimum wage, recommended for 47% of workers currently earning less than R20 per hour. This alone means that half the workers will directly benefit from the NMW that has further been recommended to be subjected to an annual review, to ensure that its value is not eroded over time and that it addresses inequality.  

While FEDUSA is disappointed that the Department of Labour has had to push the implementation date of the minimum beyond 1 May 2018 as originally planned, the union federation fully understands the centrality of allowing for the completion of legislative processes and protocols that could not be accommodated by what was intended to be a most significant Workers Day event this year.

Properly crafted National Minimum Wage legislative instruments are critical as they will ensure that all employers in South Africa comply with their provisions and will also allow unions to be the eyes and ears of labour inspectors on the ground.

The South African minimum wage in its current form is the outcome of hard work; local research that has been benchmarked against the experiences of several countries that have implemented a minimum wage as well as the United Kingdom and others, using international examples and best practice as set down by the International Labour Organisation and of protracted negations between organized labour – as represented by FEDUSA, COSATU and NACTU – business and government, at NEDLAC over a two year period.

During the negotiation process – presided over by then Deputy President, now President of the Republic, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, organized labour pushed for a minimum wage of R4 500 on the basis of a living wage research that had been conducted on its behalf by the University of Cape Town but had to compromise down to R3 500 in the context of difficult economic realities faced by our country today and to secure the buy-in of other social partners, especially business.

Surely the false narratives being populated can in no way be seen as setbacks for workers, if the main objective of the NMW serves to address poverty, deal with inequality and address the apartheid legacy of low wages. Contextually then, how can a national minimum wage be viewed as a defeat, whilst raising the wages of 47% of workers be considered as a betrayal.

Despite the practical compromises that organized labour had to making during the minimum wage negotiations, we should never lose sight of the fact that more than 4.5 million vulnerable workers currently earning below R3 500 a month, including domestic, farm, retail and personal services workers such as hairdressers will be lifted out of abject poverty by its official implementation.

Fedusa

Land Issue could Delay Rating Agency Upgrade says FEDUSA 20 March 2018

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) as labour participated with government together with business in the international investor roadshow, who met with rating agency Standards and Poor, Fitch, Moody’s and eighty other investors from 12 to 16 March 2018 in London and New York, said Dennis George FEDUSA General Secretary.

Rating agencies and investors were pleased with the appointment of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Musa Nene, Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele and congratulated the officials of National Treasury, that they managed the transition and the dark days of political uncertainty well in a professional and constructive manner in the interest of the country, added George.

Minister Nene designed a new methodology for this roadshow and suggested a “question and answer sessions” other than a presentation approach, as it gives the rating agencies and investors an opportunity to zero directly into the critical areas of concern. Rating agencies and investors focused mostly on future growth expectations, budget reforms, land redistribution without compensation, labour market reforms, and state owned companies (Eskom) and investor confidence.

Rating agencies and investors argued that land redistribution without compensation, the state owned companies specifically Eskom’s debt of more than R350 billion and structural reforms are the major barriers to uncertainty for the country.

Within this context, Moody’s is scheduled to publish its rating decision on South Africa’s debt this week, after cutting the country’s debt one level in June last year. Moody’s currently has South Africa one notch above junk status, though the rating is on review for downgrade and the announcement will be made on Friday 23 March 2018.

If South Africa loses its Moody’s investment grade status it was be a major economic disaster as certain types of investors, usually big pension funds or Exchange Traded Funds are mandated to only buy high-grade debt. Thus meaning that these investors are forced to sell any bonds if Moody’s downgraded the country to junk.

A downgrade would remove South Africa out of the Citi World Government Bond Index and the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index, which could in turn trigger financial outflows of as much as $6 billion (R72 billion). Moreover, a cut to junk could trigger up to R100 billion ($8.5 billion) in selling by foreign investors.

However, Team South Africa has noticed change in sentiment, since the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as president, and Moody’s also had a constructive meeting with president Ramaphosa a week prior to Team South Africa departing on the International Investor Roadshow said George.

Team South Africa assured investors and rating agencies that land redistribution without compensation would be done in a constitutional and responsible manner, while fiscal consolidation, both on the revenue and expenditure side will be managed prudently. The capacity of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will be strengthened to improve tax collection, concluded George.

Fedusa

FEDUSA Calls on President Ramaphosa to Intervene in Central Line Crisis

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently intervene in the long running crisis at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)’s Central Line in Cape Town which for months now has seen thousands of working class commuters and FEDUSA members repeatedly arriving late at work or not arriving at all because the overcrowded trains were either running late or not running at all.

Over the preceding months, FEDUSA and its affiliate and majority union at Prasa, the United National Transport Union (UNTU) have respectfully and dutifully followed all the established channels of communicating their legitimate grievances starting with the Prasa reginal management structures, the provincial government structures and the national ministry of transport to no avail.

Promises to look into these serious grievances and assist timeously by instructing Prasa regional management to follow through with action on the ground have not been forthcoming and as a result of the crisis, crime has spilled into the Central Line with hundreds of commuters being robbed of their personal belongings at gunpoint, small children injured, women indecently assaulted and some workers have been dismissed from their jobs – in the context of a dire economic situation – as companies became increasingly lost patience with their late coming or failing to report for work on a repeated basis.

In light of the President’s recent and widely publicised critical to the national to look after their bodies by regularly walking around their neighbourhoods, places of work and schools and exercising regularly in general , FEDUSA calls upon the President to walk the talk by walking about the Cape Town Central Station and taking a ride to a working class suburb at peak hours to experience the crisis at first hand.

In a related development, UNTU has applauded the crucial move that has been taken by Prasa Acting Chief Executive Officer  Mthuthuzeli Swartz to dismiss Richard Walker from his position of its principal  regional executive in the Western Cape for his dithering about the Central Line crisis over the past 20 months.

Fedusa

FEDUSA Welcomes Postponement of SONA – Ready with Contingency Recovery Economic Plan

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) welcomes the postponement of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2018 to force Jacob Zuma to step down as President of the Republic of South Africa. The Zuma administration was dogged by scandal after scandal, our country was embarrassed internationally, the Constitutional Court rebuked him for failing to implement the recommendations of the Public Protector, he refused to act in the best interest of the country when he reshuffled cabinet 11 times and crashed the economy by appointing five finance ministers.
The Public Protector’s report implicates Zuma of improper and unethical conduct, advancing improper relationships and involvement of the Gupta family in the removal and appointment of ministers and directors of State Owned Entities (SOEs) resulting in improper and possibly corrupt award of state contracts and benefits to the Gupta family’s businesses. FEDUSA will not entertain any behind the scenes amnesty deals with Zuma and other in exchange for resigning as President. FEDUSA demands that the law should be allowed to take it full cause.
The corrupt and self-centred leadership style of Zuma caused deep political uncertainty, low economic growth and job crises that have gripped South Africa. President Jacob Zuma allegedly refused to step down from office following a crucial meeting with the top six officials of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George said the postponement of the SONA will give our country an invaluable opportunity to stabilize the situation by electing a new leader to replace President Zuma under whose watch South Africa has been flung into a series of profound socio-economic difficulties such as the sovereign credit rate downgrading to sub-investment grade or junk status by Standard and Poor, Fitch and Moody’s; the cash flow and governance crisis at Eskom and other state owned enterprises; state capture in cahoots with the controversial Gupta family; and rampant corruption across the public sector.
FEDUSA commits itself to work closely with the social partner leaders representing government, business and organised labour to development a contingency recovery economic plan for South Africa to achieve higher inclusive economic growth and employment creation concluded George.

FEDUSA Congratulates Ramaphosa on his Election as ANC President

The Leadership of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) extends its well wishes
and congratulates Deputy President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa on his successful election as
the new President of the African National Congress (ANC), following the 54th Elective Conference at the NASREC Expo in Johannesburg, where some 4,700 delegates cast their ballots. Comrade Cyril is a South African politician, businessman, activist, and trade union leader who has served as the Deputy President of South Africa under President Jacob Zuma since 2014.
The news of Ramaphosa’s election comes as a relief to restore much needed confidence in both the political and economic stability of the country, said FEDUSA General Secretary, Dennis George. The federation anticipates that this much needed early Xmas present will go a long way in the restoration of investor confidence, strengthen the currency and ward off all possible considerations of a downgrade by ratings agencies, who have closely monitored the situation with bated breath.FEDUSA believes the Ramaphosa’s influential leadership as part of the Team SA initiative in particular, will now have to realise its true potential by translating the full outcome of the inclusive economic growth trajectory that was envisioned by the Government, Business and Labour social partners.

This is certainly an opportune time for Ramaphosa to rise to the occasion by demonstrating his ability to reshape and formalise a renewed outlook for South Africa’s financial markets and the economy overall,” emphasised George.

The hard work starts now as the employment and growth projections outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) require unconditional commitment, as its current standing remains a far cry from reality. FEDUSA certainly looks forward to its continued relations with the Presidency, in order to drive inclusive economic growth and the realisation of Decent Work and Decent Life for All.

Fedusa

FEDUSA Marches on Parliament

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and its affiliates in the public health and rail passenger service; HOSPERSA, PSA and UNTU, alongside many other unions operating in aggressive working environments, will march to Parliament on Tuesday to demand that Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula deploy the army in the embattled Cape Town region over the festive season when attacks on Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and passenger trains are their highest.
FEDUSA President Godfrey Selematsela will lead the March to Parliament on 05 December 2017 between 11:00H and 14:00H alongside General Secretary Dennis George and the provincial leadership of thousands of HOSPERSA, PSA, UNTU and all other FEDUSA affiliated unions, under the slogan: #Workers’LivesMatter. The March will end at the gates of Parliament where a Memorandum of Demands will be handed over to the Ministers of Defence, Police and Labour, to urgently address the dire security situation. The Media Conference will held at SATU House in Cape Town Central as detailed below:
Date: 4 December 2017
Time: 14:00H
Venue: SATU House
76 Cantebury Street Cape Town (Opposite Fruit & Vegetable, Roeland Street)
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry.
Fedusa

FEDUSA Concerned about Eskom’s Financial Position 21 November 2017

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) is concerned that global credit rating agency Fitch has placed Eskom on a Rating Watch Negative (RWN) as this may force the cash strapped state power  utility to apply for yet another tariff increase or lay-off workers on a large scale to stay afloat. RWN refers to the status that the credit-rating agencies gives Eskom while they are deciding whether to lower that company’s credit rating.  Moreover, Eskom has borrowed R355 billion from different institutions. The book value of equity as reported in the financial results for the year ended March 2017 is R175.9 billion. The debt-to-equity ratio is currently 2.0x.

FEDUSA is concerned that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) bought and holds almost R100 billion worth of Eskom bonds. On average, the coupon payable on the bonds held by the PIC is 7.9% per year.

The negative outlook comes as the country is on a knife edge as deep political uncertainty grows over what rating agencies will say about South Africa when announce the sovereign credit rating on Friday. The agencies have already downgraded South Africa to a sub-investment level or junk status. However speculation is rife that crediting rating agencies will put the announcement of another sovereign downgrading on hold until the outcome of the ANC’s elective conference in December.

“The RWN reflects our intention to reassess the strengths of Eskom’s with the government of South Africa (BB+/Stable) due to Eskom’s weakening liquidity and funding access partially stemming from unresolved governance issues, weak cash flows driven by lower than expected increases due to delays in implementing outstanding regulatory clearing account applications,” Richard Barrow, Fitch’s Principal Analyst said in statement.

Barrow said the key drivers for placing Eskom on a RWN were corporate governance and liquidity issues. It is argued that one in four South Africans or 26% will source their energy from Eskom by 2030, this will reduce the demand for electricity.

“Fitch understands Eskom began a recovery programme to address the findings relating to the qualified audit opinion in the 2017 annual results. The most recent CEO rotations and their increased frequency increases uncertainty about the continuity of the recovery plan. The programme has not yet provided confidence that the targets will be met despite our have been achieved understanding that the milestones set by the committees have been achieved at end – September improving corporate governance,” he said.

“Fitch expects the Minister of Public Enterprises to appoint a permanent Board before the end of November. Eskom has an interim Board on nine members rather than 15. Fitch expects the new Board to appoint permanent management”.

Fedusa

FEDUSA Warns Against Destroying Printing Industry

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and the South African Typographical Union (SATU), the oldest trade union in the printing industry with more than 100 years of service to workers and an affiliate of FEDUSA, have cautioned the government against introducing legislative changes that would destroy the printing industry and jeopardize and lead to massive jobs losses.

FEDUSA’s warning follows a recent announcement by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi that the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill will be submitted to cabinet for approval early next year.

The Bill proposes to introduce far –reaching changes South Africa’s tobacco laws, including: a zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places and the removal of designated smoking areas in restaurants; a ban on outdoor smoking in public places; when smoking outside, smokers would be required to be at least 10 metres away from public entrances; the removal of all signage on cigarette packaging except the brand name and health warning and the requirement retailers will no longer be allowed to display cigarette and tobacco merchandises.

“The minister’s decision to have cigarettes packaged  in plain packaging will have a massive negative impact on the workers and the industry workers and will lead to massive job losses,” said FEDUSA Secretary General Dennis George

 

“FEDUSA also supports the views that have been expressed by the tobacco industry – which employs more than 21 000 people and generates R14.5 billion in tax revenue –   that a policy of plain cigarette packaging is disproportionate and will not deliver its intended results and significantly erodes intellectual property rights and could have a significant knock-on effect on South Africa’s economy”.

Fedusa

FEDUSA Condemns Barbaric Attack on Traffic Policer Officer

The Federations of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has strongly condemned church-goers who beat an on duty traffic police officer unconscious on Sunday after he hooked an illegally parked vehicle on Claim Street in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

It is understood the officer fired shots in the air to disperse congregants from the Revelation Church owned by the notorious prophet Radebe, but the unruly mob ignored the warning shots, overpowered him, took his service fire arm and beat him until he was unconscious. The officer was then rushed to Milpark where he has been hospitalised.

One of the suspects was arrested when they went to hand in the firearm at Hillbrow Police Station and charged with the illegal possession of a weapon.

“We cannot tolerate such illegal and barbaric behaviour in our country,” said FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George.

“All the culprits must be arrested and face the full might of the law. The officer was on duty and doing what he is required to do; enforcing the municipal by-laws which everyone must respect”.

Stop School Capture – FEDUSA

The Federations of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and its affiliates in the basic education sector, the South African Teachers’ Union (SAOU) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) have called on the government to stop school capture by scraping deleterious amendments that have been proposed to the South African Schools Act (SASA).
FEDUSA says the proposed amendments will disempower communities by transferring school governance to state officials and are fertile grounds for capturing school finances. FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George says what is being proposed will take public education back to the pre- 1994 era.

“That is to say, to a system of state schooling in which each school is an extension of the political dispensation of the day. What this means is that schools will have no choice but to toe a specific political line and the noble notion of the school as a democratic institution will come to nothing. These amendments will in no way whatever, improve the quality of education and are without doubt, designed to ‘capture’ every school for the sole purpose of advantaging the state,” says George.
“The excuse offered is that not all governing bodies can fulfil their duties which clearly begs the question: What then has the government been doing for the past twenty or more years? It is also important to note that the proposed amendments run counter to the Education White Paper and the National Development Plan. Both policy documents require school communities to enjoy the highest degree of autonomy. This explicit ‘school capture’ is a step backwards: one that, over the long term, will push an already ailing system, closer to the edge. It places schools in the hands of redeployed cadres who have absolutely no sense of the education needs of either schools or their communities”.

George says of particular concern is the plan to take the appointment of senior posts in schools out of the hands of the school governing bodies and place it instead in the hands of officials.
“To date, it was a generally accepted principle that parents and schools were in the best position to objectively decide which principal, deputy principal and head of department most satisfactorily fulfilled the school’s curriculum and cultural requirements while also fitting in with the nature and ethos of the school,” he said.
“Other aspects that suggest school capture are the fact that schools can be forced to make use of centralised procurement systems and that education authorities can simply use school facilities willy nilly without the school being able to claim remuneration for maintenance or possible breakages. Furthermore, the prescript that the purchase of just about any article at all is subject to departmental approval is clear proof that the department wants to exercise control over schools’ purse strings”.
SAOU and the PSA is already collaborating with other education unions as the National Professional Teachers’ Organization of South Africa (NAPTOSA) and the National Teachers’ Union (NATU) and other stakeholders in basic education to fight this draconian attempt to capture schools calls on every responsible citizen to reject it as it can only be a move that totally contradicts and makes a mockery of quality and democratic education, concluded George.