Monday, July 5, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Brad Dubbelman.
State-owned power utility Eskom released details of a revised wage offer and housing benefits on Sunday afternoon, following three days of negotiation under the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
The offer, which was described as "serious" by one of the three main unions involved, appears to materially lower the prospect of strike action, which was threatened for most of last week. This, despite the fact that Eskom is classified an essential service, which, in the absence of a minimum service agreement, makes such action illegal.
In fact, it appears that all three unions - the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and Solidarity - which together represent Eskom's 30 000-plus unionised workers, will recommend to their members that they accept the latest offer. Eskom has offered a 9% salary increase across the board for all employees in the bargaining unit, and a minimum housing benefit of R1 500 a month (revised up from R1 000).
After years of difficult negotiations, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly voted on Friday to set up a body that will seek to improve the situation of women and girls around the world.
UN diplomats say that four years of negotiations between Western developed nations and developing countries, many of them States where women are often discriminated against, had been tough because of varying views on women's rights and gender equality.
The new body will be known officially as the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, although officials say that it will be referred to as UN Women. It will consolidate four separate UN divisions now dealing with women's and gender issues. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says that the new agency will "significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe."
A new under secretary-general post will be created to head UN Women, with diplomats saying that former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is one of the top candidates.
Struggling South African State-owned firms have reportedly spent R110-million on 2010 FIFA World Cup tickets, angering trade unions that have accused top executives of selfishness, the Sunday Times says.
Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelenzima Vavi describes the purchase of hospitality tickets by State enterprises, including South African Airways, power utility Eskom, oil company Petro SA, logistics group Transnet, and some municipalities and State departments as 'outrageous.' Vavi said that this was the "most selfish way of spending money and ... recklessness of the worst kind." The National Union of Mineworkers, representing about one-half of Eskom's 32 000 staff, said that none of its members benefited from the hospitality tickets.
In response, Transnet spokesperson John Dludlu said that his company, which defended the purchase of tickets in a recent presentation to the Parliament, would not issue further comment, while South Africa Airways spokesperson Fani Zulu says that the airline gave out tickets in order to raise its branding.
Also making headlines:
The second-placed Assembly of Guinean People party says that it will challenge some Guinean poll results after provisional figures put veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde behind former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo.
Somalia's Prime Minister names two Ministers from the moderate progovernment group Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca in a powersharing deal, but the group rejects his choices.
Niger sets a Presidential election for January 2011, its first since a military coup in February this year.
And, Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta criticises Parliamentarians for awarding themselves pay rises of up to 25%, but analysts say that he has little power to resist them.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.