SA HR news roundup: The case of the high-heeled, retrenchment an option for gove4nm3n5

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Skills needed to transform the country’s waste sector and its impact on climate change.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says the government will take several years to bring its wage bill to more sustainable levels and may have to consider retrenchment, as public sector unions plan strike action. Meanwhile the Labour Appeal Court has turned down a request to appeal against a Labour Court judgement that reinstated an employee who was dismissed for voicing her dissatisfaction with the company’s policy on wearing high-heeled shoes on mine premises.

No appeal for high-heeled shoes case

The Labour Appeal Court has not granted leave to appeal against the judgement of the Labour Court, which reinstated an employee who was dismissed for voicing her dissatisfaction with the company’s policy on wearing high-heeled shoes on mine premises.

The Labour Court finding noted the need to distinguish between employees expressing their dissatisfaction in the workplace and conduct that amounts to a challenge of authority and wilful defiance of workplace rules.

It held that a unilateral change to a dress code is tantamount to provocation and that there was no evidence that the employee challenged the employer’s authority.

The Court further found that the employee had voiced her dissatisfaction and asked her colleagues to join her in approaching management, as high-heeled shoes had been worn in the past.

Skills important to shaping the waste sector

The annual report of the Waste Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) roadmap highlights the importance of evidence and skills in shaping the country’s waste sector and the impact of waste on climate change.

“While the South African waste sector has been slow to adopt alternative waste treatment technologies, it is hoped that these young, enthusiastic graduates will venture out into the waste sector, whether it be working for private industry or government, and help transform the sector from the inside through the application of their knowledge,” said Professor Linda Godfrey, manager of the Waste RDI roadmap implementation unit at the CSIR.

The report showed that in the last year, 60 students were supported on research projects, eight postgraduate students were supported through direct scholarships, and 67 postgraduate students were mentored.

Act to reinvigorate the economy, Standard Bank CEO

Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala says the country’s economy may well have turned a corner, but the unemployment rate remains among the highest globally.

Speaking at the Solutions Exchange conference, which was hosted by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, he said there were significant opportunities that South Africa needed to act on to reinvigorate the economy and create opportunities for more jobs.

He noted that the most competitive and dynamic economies were those which were able to produce a relatively small number of world-class scientists and engineers, a larger number of working practical technicians, as well as literate youth with basic arithmetic skills.

Retrenchment a possibility for government

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says the government will take several years to bring its wage bill to more sustainable levels and may have to consider retrenchment.

Under the recent medium-term budget speech, Godongwana budgeted for a three percent annual increase for the next three fiscal years, but labour unions are demanding as much as 10 percent.

The minister did not provide specific detail on how the government would reduce its 1.3 million employees.

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