Labour on new commission to review National Minimum Wage

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New commission to review National Minimum Wage � Department of Labour

The Minister of Labour will establish a new commission to review the National Minimum Wage (NMW), said Department of Labour Director: Employment Standards, Stephen Rathai on Friday at the Tropicana Hotel in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Rathai said the Minister of Labour will establish a new commission that will take over the functions of the Employment Conditions Commission as far as the expected annual adjustment of the national minimum wage is concerned.

The Commission will comprise of three members each from labour, business and community, an independent Chairperson as well as three independent experts whereas the Department of Labour will provide the secretariat, he said.

Rathai was addressing the Department briefing session on the implementation of the NMW and amendments to labour legislation.

He said the functions of the new Commission will be to review the NMW and make recommendations for its adjustment and investigate the impact of the NMW on the economy, collective bargaining and income differentials.

In reviewing the NMW, the commission will take stock of inflation, cost of living, wage levels, productivity, the ability of business to carry on successfully as well as the impact on the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises and on employment.

Employers who cannot afford the National Minimum Wage can apply to the Minister of Labour for exemption. However, they need to prove that their businesses are not profitable, he said.

Rathai said some of the amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act include the authority of Department’s Inspectorate to apply to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to have undertakings and compliance orders made arbitration awards, and that an employer who disputes a compliance order can refer the matter to the CCMA.

The sanctions for noncompliance with the NMW include paying double the amount of the underpayment or twice the monthly wage whichever is the greater, he said.

On the amendments to the Labour Relations Act, Ian Macun Director: Collective Bargaining said some of the amendments include the extension of collective agreements which will require majority by either the trade unions or the employer parties.

The Department of Labour encouraged unions to submit their inputs to the amendments as soon as possible.

The NMW Bill and the amendments to the BCEA as well as the LRA are expected to come into effect from May 1, 2018.

The next NMW workshop is scheduled to take place on the 29 November in Tzaneen at Hotel@Tzaneen, 1 Makokota Street, followed by another one in Polokwane on the 30th November at Protea Hotel, N1 North Bound, next to Shell Ultra City. All workshops start at 10:00 and conclude at 13:00.

Source: Government of South Africa

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS MAKE INPUTS DURING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON 2017 MTBPS AND ADJUSTMENT APPROPRIATIONS BILL

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A joint submission was made to the Standing and Select Committees on Appropriations by a range of civil society organisations which include the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), Section 27, Equal Education (EE), the Heinrich Boell Fou…

Unemployment Insurance Fund conducts a door-to-door campaign to asses level of compliance with Unemployment Contribution Act, 27 to 29 Nov

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Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) door-to-door campaign to asses the level of compliance by employers with Unemployment Contribution Act

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) will be on the road once again to conduct a door-to-door campaign in Olifantshoek, Postmasburg, Danielskuil, Lime Acres and Kathu areas from 27 November�01 December 2017. The main objective of this campaign is to visit employers and assess the level of compliance with the Unemployment Insurance Act (UIA) and Unemployment Insurance Contribution Act (UICA), as well as to promote on-line declaration through U-Filing.

The team of UIF employees accompanied by Employer Audits inspectors will be knocking on doors in various workplaces in efforts to assist employers on all aspects of registration and compliance as well as to resolve UIF enquiries.

These outreach and door to door campaigns are essential in ensuring that the Department of Labour keep in touch with the employers and employees and assess the quality of services it renders, whilst it promotes compliance with the Unemployment Insurance Act, said Zolile Albanie, Northern Cape Chief Director: Provincial Operations.

The Exhibition and interaction opportunity will be available for the employees and public to be assisted with enquiries and information on UIF matters and to keep them abreast with legislative amendments at the following areas and venues:

Source: Government of South Africa

SA, Angola pledge to support Zimbabwe

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South Africa and Angola have congratulated the new Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and vowed to support Zimbabweans as they begin a new chapter in that country’s history.

President Mnangagwa, 75, was sworn in on Friday as the President of Zimbabwe in a colourful ceremony attended by thousands of Zimbabweans and foreign dignitaries.

He replaced former President Robert Mugabe, who resigned on Tuesday after military and public pressure put an end to his 37-year stay in power.

He will serve as interim president until late August 2018 when Robert Mugabe’s term was set to expire. Thereafter, the people of Zimbabwe are set to elect their next leader.

We take this opportunity to congratulate President Mnangagwa and hope that with the support of the people of Zimbabwe, he will be able to steer the country successfully through this transition period, said President Zuma on Friday.

President Zuma was speaking at the opening session of a ceremony to welcome Angola’s President JoAPound o Manuel Lourenco, who is in the country for a State visit.

President Zuma did not attend the swearing-in ceremony as he is hosting the State visit and has instead delegated the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, to represent him.

Speaking through an interpreter, President Lourenco committed Angola to walk the path with Zimbabweans.

The two Presidents went on to pay tribute to the former President Robert Mugabe for his gallant contribution to the Southern African liberation struggles against colonialism and apartheid.

President Zuma, who met President Mnangagwa on Wednesday before he returned to Zimbabwe, said he was reassured that former President Mugabe and his family will be treated with the greatest respect and dignity and that they would be secure in Zimbabwe.

We both agreed as well that the place of President Mugabe in the history of the liberation struggles of the continent and SADC will forever be remembered and acknowledged, said President Zuma.

Strengthening regional links

South Africa and Angola opened their talks in Tshwane with a consensus to deepen bilateral relations by paying particular attention to economic and social cooperation.

The two countries are of the view that enhanced trade cooperation can be achieved by encouraging the respective private sectors to invest in each other’s economies.

Currently, Angola is one of South Africa’s major trading partners on the continent. In 2016, South African exports to Angola stood at R8.2 billion and imports from Angola amounted to R18 billion, largely consisting of crude oil.

Although there are a number of South African companies involved in Angola in a variety of sectors including construction, mining, housing, retail, food and beverages, hotels and leisure, banking and medical services (rescue), the two Presidents have identified untapped sectors.

These include opportunities in agriculture, mining, infrastructure development, energy and tourism, which need to be explored to grow trade.

We cannot overemphasise the need to strengthen cultural, scientific and technological cooperation. Considering our history, dedicated efforts need to be employed to encourage people-to-people cooperation, said President Zuma.

To facilitate this vision, South Africa and Angola are expected to sign several memoranda of understanding and agreements in various sectors. These include a MoU that will see the creation of a Presidential Bi-National Commission, a visa waiver agreement for ordinary passport holders, an agreement on police cooperation and an agreement in customs matters.

In the morning, President Lourenco was welcomed with a 21-gun salute and a guard of honour as he arrived at Pretoria’s Union Buildings, which was decked out in flowers and a red carpet.

With the Angolan flag hoisted high at the Union Buildings, President Lourenco walked on the red carpet, inspecting the ceremonial guard of honour.

Moments later, the two Heads of State made their way to the presidential boardroom for a closed-door tA�te-A�-tA�te.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Labour on new commission to review National Minimum Wage

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New commission to review National Minimum Wage � Department of Labour

The Minister of Labour will establish a new commission to review the National Minimum Wage (NMW), said Department of Labour Director: Employment Standards, Stephen Rathai on Friday at the Tropicana Hotel in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Rathai said the Minister of Labour will establish a new commission that will take over the functions of the Employment Conditions Commission as far as the expected annual adjustment of the national minimum wage is concerned.

The Commission will comprise of three members each from labour, business and community, an independent Chairperson as well as three independent experts whereas the Department of Labour will provide the secretariat, he said.

Rathai was addressing the Department briefing session on the implementation of the NMW and amendments to labour legislation.

He said the functions of the new Commission will be to review the NMW and make recommendations for its adjustment and investigate the impact of the NMW on the economy, collective bargaining and income differentials.

In reviewing the NMW, the commission will take stock of inflation, cost of living, wage levels, productivity, the ability of business to carry on successfully as well as the impact on the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises and on employment.

Employers who cannot afford the National Minimum Wage can apply to the Minister of Labour for exemption. However, they need to prove that their businesses are not profitable, he said.

Rathai said some of the amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act include the authority of Department’s Inspectorate to apply to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to have undertakings and compliance orders made arbitration awards, and that an employer who disputes a compliance order can refer the matter to the CCMA.

The sanctions for noncompliance with the NMW include paying double the amount of the underpayment or twice the monthly wage whichever is the greater, he said.

On the amendments to the Labour Relations Act, Ian Macun Director: Collective Bargaining said some of the amendments include the extension of collective agreements which will require majority by either the trade unions or the employer parties.

The Department of Labour encouraged unions to submit their inputs to the amendments as soon as possible.

The NMW Bill and the amendments to the BCEA as well as the LRA are expected to come into effect from May 1, 2018.

The next NMW workshop is scheduled to take place on the 29 November in Tzaneen at Hotel@Tzaneen, 1 Makokota Street, followed by another one in Polokwane on the 30th November at Protea Hotel, N1 North Bound, next to Shell Ultra City. All workshops start at 10:00 and conclude at 13:00.

Source: Government of South Africa

News in Brief 24 November 2017 – Geneva (AM)

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Rohingya return plan must guarantee their safety: UNHCR

The proposed return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh must be safe and voluntary amid serious concerns for their security if they go home, the UN said on Friday.

UN Refugee Agency UNHCR issued the appeal a day after the two countries said they had agreed to the return of people who have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August.

Well over 600,000 people have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar so far � and more continue to do so every day � following a military operation tantamount to ethnic cleansing by Myanmar that was launched in response to separatist violence in August.

Here’s UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards:

“Refugees are still fleeing and many have suffered violence and rape and deep psychological harm. Some have witnessed the deaths of friends or family members. Most have little or nothing to go back to, their homes and villages destroyed. Deep divisions between the communities remain unaddressed and humanitarian access in northern Rakhine State remains negligible. It is critical that returns do not take place precipitously or prematurely.”

Mr Edwards said that it was essential to address why the Rohingya fled in the first place � as recommended by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a report on the exodus.

Major concerns include the Rohingyas’ lack of citizenship and fears that they may be confined to ghettos.

Cautious UN welcome for announcement on Yemen blockade lifting

The announcement on Friday that a blockade on all goods entering Yemen is to be eased slightly for the first time in more than two weeks by a Saudi-led coalition has received a cautious welcome from UN aid teams.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a flight from Jordan to the Yemeni capital Sana’a has been given clearance to proceed on Saturday.

But spokesperson Jens Laerke explained that the major sea ports of Hodeida and Saleef remain closed, as the main source of aid to the war-torn country:

“You know humanitarians are serving the needs of seven million people who are completely dependent on us. We are supplying for example clean water for four million people and this comes at a time of threat of famine in the country. With the cholera outbreak just starting to diminish in the country we have been worried that the gains we have made on cholera and the gains that we have made on famine have been reversed by this blockade. Thankfully we have started to see some movement.”

Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the world, has been brought to its knees by the ongoing conflict between a Saudi coalition in support of President Mansour Al Hadi and Houthi-backed rebels.

The blockade was imposed after a missile attack on the Saudi capital, Riyadh, effectively closing air, sea and land access to Yemen.

Mediterranean Sea is the “world’s deadliest” migration route

And finally to Europe, where the Mediterranean Sea has been declared “by far the world’s deadliest” route for illegal migration.

In a new study for the UN migration agency IOM, researchers found that nearly 34,000 people lost their lives in the last 17 years trying to reach Europe’s shores.

The data also shows a spike in migration through non-legal channels from North Africa and Turkey to Europe in the 1970s, linked to new visa requirements for temporary workers at the time.

This policy “encouraged those who were already in Europe to stay” and increased illegal migration of family members by smugglers, the report notes.

Source: United Nations Radio