E-NEWS BULLETIN 9 February 2018Links to present possibilities
Editorial While the country sits on the edge of its seat in anticipation of Zuma’s fall, we cannot be distracted from the deal that was struck to swing fortunes out of his grasp. The labour law amendment bills that come before Parliament this year are the clearest evidence that workers’ rights were bargained in the post-Zuma scenario. Bundled together with a national minimum wage, and with the apparent endorsement of Nedlac’s labour representatives, these amendments could be mistaken as reasonable or even progressive. But since the publication of the bills, Cosatu has complained that it did not agree to all the provisions of the Minimum Wage bill, chiefly the exclusion of certain categories of worker; evidently, Cosatu sees no problem with the proposed new checks on workers’ right to strike contained in the other bills.
SAFTU has, on the other hand, declared its opposition to the bills. A general meeting to debate the bills and forge a campaign against their promulgation into law has been called by the new federation and affiliates, together with the Casual Workers Advice Office and allied organisations, for this Saturday, 10 February
Differences between SAFTU affiliates over aspects of the amendments will come to the fore. As will the question of how to win over those workers who may see progress in the national minimum wage. And above all, how to maintain unity in a movement and re-imagine liberation as the ANC disintegrates.
A legislative package constituted by the National Minimum Wage Bill, together with amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act is now before Parliament. Its agenda constitutes a significant setback for the working class and its ability to represent its interests. businesslive.co.za/
Parliament is currently considering amendments to the Labour Relations Act, which, if passed, will dramatically alter the constitutional right to strike. The justification the Department of Labour provides in the impact assessment for the amendments is that strike action and, particularly, violent and protracted strike action is at an all-time high. The evidence, however, indicates the truth is otherwise. businesslive.co.za/
Neither the advisory panel that determined the national minimum wage nor the NEDLAC agreement that approved it dealt in any depth with how existing legislation will facilitate its introduction. The Labour and Enterprise Policy Research Group at UCT try to answer this aspect. nationalminimumwage.co.za/ [615KB pdf]
The Office of the Public Protector is investigating allegations of corruption, extortion, fraud, bullying, intimidation and mismanagement by the head of the country’s financial services regulator. news24.com/
Under the land that belongs to the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela lie the richest platinum deposits on Earth. But a toxic alliance between government, traditional chieftaincy and major mining houses has stood between the community and its wealth. Could this be the largest state-sanctioned, business-perpetrated fraud in the history of Big Mining in South Africa? dailymaverick.co.za/
Rescue operations have been suspended after two trapped miners were confirmed dead at the Kloof Ikamva shaft of Sibanye-Stillwater’s mine in Gauteng, after a fall of ground early on Wednesday morning. dailymaverick.co.za/
The private sector took a battering at the People’s Tribunal for Economic Crimes at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The penultimate day of the tribunal, which organisers say aims to “join the dots” between corruption in the apartheid era and democratic South Africa, probed State Capture – and traced where the rot began. dailymaverick.co.za/
Human rights lawyer Charles Abrahams told evidence leaders and a panel chaired by Justice Zac Yacoob that, while the TRC made visible many apartheid atrocities, its focus on civil and political violations without due regard for the crimes of economic actors such as multinational corporations meant its work was incomplete. huffingtonpost.co.za/
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform published its audit of land ownership in South Africa. It should settle questions on agrarian reform that has been stunted by a lack of information on who owns what of the country. ruraldevelopment.gov.za/ [2MB pdf]
In addition to slamming the broader and long-standing facts of American life that consistently put the U.S. behind other wealthy nations, Pyongyang also took aim at the Trump administration, which it characterized as a collection of racist “billionaires” and “their mouthpieces” who only serve the “interests of a handful of the rich circles.”commondreams.org/
Bread and Roses Bakery broke the rules when it advertised incorrect wage levels in seeking American workers for its jobs before bringing in temporary foreign workers at better wage levels. pressherald.com/
Based on a set of new figures, it finds that sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world to the tune of more than $41bn. The City of London is awash with profits extracted from the land and labour of Africa. aljazeera.com/
Private companies are in the process of privatizing the largest reserve of water, known as the Guarani Aquifer, in South America. The aquifer is located beneath the surface of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and is the second largest-known aquifer system in the world. truththeory.com/
The decision by Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, to leave the Canadian Labour Congress has sent shockwaves through all unions and it threatens not just national programmes but co-ordination between unions at the regional and local levels. talkingunion.wordpress.com/
Local news from Khayelitsha, East London, Port Elizabeth, Alexandra and Orange Farm in English and isiXhosa
On Monday morning, a chauffeur in his early 60s, killed himself with a shotgun in front of City Hall in Lower Manhattan, NY, having written a lengthy Facebook post several hours earlier laying out the structural cruelties that had forced him to work more than 100 hours a week to survive. nytimes.com/
When Steve Jobs unveiled plans for Apple’s new Cupertino campus seven years ago, he touted how 12,000 employees could finally occupy a single building. Missing from his presentation was where those employees would live. As workers begin to move into Apple Park, the absence of an accompanying residential building boom is stirring angst. sfchronicle.com/
In 1968 there was the massacre at My Lai and its coverup. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story to the American public in a cable published by the Dispatch News Service on November 12, 1969. The pervasive grotesque nature of the Vietnam War had become a mainstay on the nightly news and in the consciousness of those willing to listen. counterpunch.org/
The history of Winston Churchill and the crimes he committed are beyond belief and omitted from Darkest Hour, the just released World War II film that portrays British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as a hero. What’s not remembered is that he was a vile bigot responsible for immense suffering around the world.