Posts tagged as: union

South Africa: Num Signed a Three-Year Agreement With Exxaro Coal

press release

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) signed a 3-year wage agreement with Exxaro Coal which comprises of Grootgeluk and Leeuwpan mines respectively workers will resume work today and the latest Tuesday next week with one operation at Lephalale in Limpopo and Delmas in Mpumalanga.

1. Wages

The parties agreed on the following wage increase of 10%, 8.5% and 7.5% for 2017 and 7.5% for both 2018 and 2019. On the Service increment parties agreed to refer the matter under EEA,

2. Housing

The parties agreed to increase the housing allowance to R3 978 for 2017, R4 489 for 2018 and R5000 for 2019,

On standby allowance, the parties agreed on 7.5% for three years including other allowances and benefits and the parties agreed on a family responsibility leave of 8 days.

On long service award, parties agreed on 15 years with one Kruger rand. On the Pit workers parties, the parties agreed on an increase of R500 per year on both 2017 and 2018. On the Medical Aid contribution, the parties agreed that the company will contribute 60% and 40% member contribution with the introduction of new medical aid scheme. Parties agreed to finalise all outstanding issues within three months after signing the wage agreement.

South Africa

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Tharaka-Nithi Governor Says Some of Nurses’ Demands Met

By Alex Njeru

Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has asked striking nurses in his county to resume duty after agreeing to implement part of the controversial collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Speaking to journalists in his office in Kathwana on Tuesday, Mr Njuki said he had agreed to pay annual uniform allowance of Sh50,000 and Sh10,000 monthly as risk allowance.

“I urge our nurses to resume duty because I have already promised to implement part of the CBA that has led to paralysis of the health sector,” said Mr Njuki.

However, he maintained that governors have no powers to direct the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to implement the CBA but pledged to adhere to all directives from the commission.

STATUTORY DEDUCTIONS

The county boss said he had also updated all the pending statutory deduction remittances including those of bank loans and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and asked the nurses to resume work and serve the suffering patients.

“I had a sit-down with the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) county officials and agreed that nurses resume duty but I am told they reported for only one day,” he said.

Mr Njuki said though he had no plans to sack the nurses, he will only pay those working.

STAY PUT

Contacted, Knun county branch chairman Fabian Marigu said they will stay put until the SRC harmonises the entire CBA.

“We are not going back to work until SRC implements the entire CBA,” said Mr Marigu.

He added that it is not practical for any county to promise to implement the CBA without funds from SRC.

The unionist blamed the stalemate on the Council of Governors’ chairman Josphat Nanok and Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

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Kenya: Woman Rushed to Tanzania for Treatment Dies

A 43-year-old woman who sought treatment in Tanzania for pregnancy-related complications as a result of the Kenyan nurses’ strike died Wednesday.

Ms Josephine Chole, from Taita- Taveta County, died as she waited to be admitted to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre.

She was eight months pregnant.

“She had visited the neighbouring country seeking treatment because health services in Taita-Taveta are grounded,” said Mr Aggrey Makau, the woman’s husband.

He added: “I blame the ongoing strike. My wife would have been treated in Kenya if there was no stalemate. She has left me with three children.”

TREATMENT

Her death was attributed to pre-eclampsia – a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to other organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Contacted, the county’s health chief officer John Logedi admitted that some patients had indeed crossed into the neighbouring country for treatment.

Dr Logedi, however, ordered the striking nurses to resume duty, warning that they will not receive the August and September salaries.

In Kilifi, health executive Rachael Musyoki said 50 nurses have been hired and deployed in three main hospitals to handle emergency situations.

“Earlier when the strike started we hired 20, in total we have hired 50 nurses. It’s a temporary solution as we persuade nurses to resume work. We are calling each nurse to plead with them. Some have responded positively, others are adamant,” said Ms Musyoki.

NOT SACKED

In Mombasa, the county government assured more than 600 striking nurses that they will not be sacked.

Director of Communications Richard Chacha said that despite the strike, doctors and other health staff were offering services in five main public hospitals.

The county has contracted 100 nurses from neighbouring Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita-Taveta and Lamu counties who are handling cases at the Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH), the largest referral facility in the region.

In Lamu County, patients have been left with no option but to seek treatment in private hospitals.

PRIVATE HOSPITALS

“We are forced to walk for more than 30 kilometres to Faza Hospital or pay for a speedboat to Lamu Island in times of emergency.

“No dispensary is operating in this area,” said Mr Bakari Athman, a resident of Mtangawanda.

In Nyamira, striking nurses accused the government of ignoring their plight.

Kenya National Union of Nurses county branch chairman Andrew Okebiro and secretary Richard Orutwa said they were unhappy with the government’s decision to keep quiet as sick Kenyans continued to suffer.

In Nyandarua, nurses are yet to resume work, a week after Governor Francis Kimemia pleaded with them, promising to meet them.

As at Wednesday, public hospitals remained deserted.

Woman Rushed to Tanzania for Treatment Dies

A 43-year-old woman who sought treatment in Tanzania for pregnancy-related complications as a result of the Kenyan nurses’ strike died Wednesday.

Ms Josephine Chole, from Taita- Taveta County, died as she waited to be admitted to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre.

She was eight months pregnant.

“She had visited the neighbouring country seeking treatment because health services in Taita-Taveta are grounded,” said Mr Aggrey Makau, the woman’s husband.

He added: “I blame the ongoing strike. My wife would have been treated in Kenya if there was no stalemate. She has left me with three children.”

TREATMENT

Her death was attributed to pre-eclampsia – a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to other organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Contacted, the county’s health chief officer John Logedi admitted that some patients had indeed crossed into the neighbouring country for treatment.

Dr Logedi, however, ordered the striking nurses to resume duty, warning that they will not receive the August and September salaries.

In Kilifi, health executive Rachael Musyoki said 50 nurses have been hired and deployed in three main hospitals to handle emergency situations.

“Earlier when the strike started we hired 20, in total we have hired 50 nurses. It’s a temporary solution as we persuade nurses to resume work. We are calling each nurse to plead with them. Some have responded positively, others are adamant,” said Ms Musyoki.

NOT SACKED

In Mombasa, the county government assured more than 600 striking nurses that they will not be sacked.

Director of Communications Richard Chacha said that despite the strike, doctors and other health staff were offering services in five main public hospitals.

The county has contracted 100 nurses from neighbouring Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita-Taveta and Lamu counties who are handling cases at the Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH), the largest referral facility in the region.

In Lamu County, patients have been left with no option but to seek treatment in private hospitals.

PRIVATE HOSPITALS

“We are forced to walk for more than 30 kilometres to Faza Hospital or pay for a speedboat to Lamu Island in times of emergency.

“No dispensary is operating in this area,” said Mr Bakari Athman, a resident of Mtangawanda.

In Nyamira, striking nurses accused the government of ignoring their plight.

Kenya National Union of Nurses county branch chairman Andrew Okebiro and secretary Richard Orutwa said they were unhappy with the government’s decision to keep quiet as sick Kenyans continued to suffer.

In Nyandarua, nurses are yet to resume work, a week after Governor Francis Kimemia pleaded with them, promising to meet them.

As at Wednesday, public hospitals remained deserted.

Mauritius: Government Aims to Transform Mauritius Into a Viable Fintech Platform, Says Minister Sesungkur

press release

Government’s vision to upgrade the financial services will mark a significant shift in the paradigm for the sector. The diversification and upscaling of the financial services with technologies to spur a regional Fintech industry is the next big strand and Government is deploying all means and ways to create the adequate conducive environment to tap into this trillion-dollar industry.

This statement was made by the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Dharmendar Sesungkur, yesterday at the opening of a one-day consultative workshop on Fintech around the theme “Shaping the Fintech Landscape” organised by the Board of Investment (BOI) in collaboration with the Financial Services Promotion Agency at Le Meridien Hotel, Pointe aux Piments.

Fintech which is called upon to change drastically the face of businesses around the world provides a pathway to position Mauritius for the digital economy, fostering new business ventures, both in the financial services and technology industries as well as creating benefits across the country, underlined the Minister.

Moreover, he highlighted that as the BOI evolves into the Economic Development Board, their capacities and unparalleled expertise will certainly prove to be invaluable in re-engineering our financial services sector and the economy in general. With regards to the financial services sector, Mr. Sesungkur stated that his Ministry is currently engaged in the elaboration of a Blueprint for this sector.

The Minister expressed optimism that the workshop will bring together the insights, experience and endeavors of participants present into a focused, meaningful and, most importantly, realisable vision. He also recalled that the workshop comprised of panel discussions and will pave the way towards the establishment of a Fintech Association in Mauritius. The association will, inter alia, comprise industry leaders, start-ups, academia and Government to ensure coherence in the overarching strategy.

According to Mr. Sesungkur, through Fintech, Government will further diversify the base of opportunities by going full-throttle on an innovation-led growth model that will position Mauritius on the global and regional scene as an intelligent and forward looking economy. Fintech will also reduce costs through platform-based and decentralised technologies and the role of intermediaries, and provide faster services, he further outlined.

Mauritius

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Rwanda Backs UN Reforms – Kagame

By Collins Mwai

President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda supports the planned United Nations reforms, noting that it will improve efficiency of the world organisation.

Kagame was addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, attended by global Heads of State and leaders of international organisations.

President Kagame said that despite its relevance and competence in handling some situations, there were clear indications that it was not meeting members’ needs and expectations.

He called on member states to offer their support to the body’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres as he seeks to make the organisation effective and transformational.

“The Secretary-General deserves our full support, to make the United Nations not only effective, but transformational.

We have the tools and the mandates to address global challenges, from climate change, to peace-building, human equality and development. Where we fall short, is in getting things done,” Kagame said.

With a budget of billions of dollars annually and a clear demand for the body’s input in the global development agenda, Kagame said there is need to improve performance, delivery and accountability.

“Every year, the UN channels billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance. The UN provides a platform for major international agreements. The United Nations also sets the global agenda on key policy issues, from development, to women’s rights. These are signs of an organisation that is both relevant, and, in many cases, competent. And yet there is a sense that the UN is not meeting our needs and expectations,” he said.

He commended the UN for launching reforms and response to sexual exploitation and child abuse.

“These steps go to the heart of the matter: The deficit of trust and accountability in the international system. To be truly effective at delivering a “decent life for all,” the United Nations must treat all the people it serves with impartiality and respect, and it must be a good steward of the funds entrusted to it. Abuse and waste are therefore not a mere public relations problem, but an existential challenge which must be tackled head-on,” he said.

Giving his input of the reforms process, he said it is not a one off event but rather requires a mindset of constantly striving to improve performance.

Kagame, who is leading the African Union reforms process, said the positive momentum would position the two bodies (AU and UN) to work more closely.

“The African Union and the UN are already good partners in peacekeeping and Rwanda is happy and proud to have forces serving under both flags. But we can do much more and do it better,” he said.

Partnership and collaboration are expected to achieve desired progress in aspects such as rollout of broadband access and women empowerment, he added.

“We share the common objective to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063 targets, as well as continue to enhance women’s empowerment. Closer collaboration will help us bridge the growing digital divide through universal broadband access, which connects our people to networks of knowledge and prosperity,” Kagame said.

Meanwhile, the President also called on the member countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which he said will go a long way in benefiting individual countries in ending the use of dangerous gases (hydrofluorocarbons) and protecting the environment.

While at the General Assembly, Rwandan officials led by the Minister of Environment, Dr Vincent Biruta, have been engaging countries to ratify the amendment, for the world to start mitigating worst possible impacts of the greenhouse gases (HFCs) to climate change.

Among the major issues that have stood out in the ongoing assembly is the need to implement the reforms to the UN, improve conflict resolution mechanisms and work together towards mitigating climate change.

Botswana: Nata/Gweta FMD Free Zone

By Goitsemodimo Williams

Xwuxwakham — Zone 3B in areas of Nata/Gweta constituency has been declared free of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The announcement was made by Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Mr Patrick Ralotsia at a field day recently for Nata/Gweta Block Beef Producers Association in Xwuxwakham.

Minister Ralotsia explained that in May this year, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) granted Zone 3B, FMD free status without vaccination. This, he said was a welcome development to both farmers and government. He appealed to farmers to ensure that the status was maintain.

“I urge you to jealously guard and maintain this status,” he emphasised.

He implored them to report any damages to the cordon fences and any incursion of buffalos or vaccinated cattle to the department of veterinary services (DVS) for quick response. The minister further said that now that their zone was recognised as FMD free without vaccination, it therefore meant that their area was eligible to export to more lucrative markets.

Minister said his ministry through Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) would negotiate with various trading partners to facilitate market for their beef to more lucrative markets including the European Union.

He thus implored them to improve management practices in their farms with good record keeping, individual animal identification and control of measles which he said was a threat to the beef industry. Minister Ralotsia further said according to BMC reports of all the cattle they slaughter, over 10 per cent had measles.

Minister Ralotsia said the commission spend in excess of P30 million annually to sustain the plant adding that the Francistown plant needed 380 cattle per day and to date the highest record had been 116 while most of the days the abattoir kill less than 100.

He therefore said with their Zone having been upgraded he urged them to take their cattle to BMC to sustain the plant.

Appreciating the announcement, the Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta Mr Polson Majaga appealed to farmers to protect the status and ensure that the cordon fences were well maintained. He urged farmers to take their cattle to BMC and help in sustaining it.

Source : BOPA

Botswana

Govt Seeks Option to Buy Unusually Big Diamonds From Its Mines

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Tanzania: Fake Drugs Hold Back Health Delivery Efforts

By Abdallah Msuya in Zanzibar

THE presence of substandard and counterfeit products and limited access to affordable and quality medicines continue to be a major challenge to universal health coverage in low and middle-income countries, including Tanzania.

This was a shared concern by health experts from the European Union (EU) and the coalition of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of nations and WHO, who have convened in Zanzibar to take stock of the progress made by a joint five-year programme to strengthen pharmaceutical systems and access to quality medicines in 15 ACP countries.

Speaking on the opening day, the delegates highlighted a myriad of health challenges relating to access to quality medicines, while stressing the significance of tackling them in order to achieve the objective of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and ensure functional and strengthened health systems.

EU representative, Mr Gregoire Lacoin, in his remarks noted that access to affordable and quality medicines remains a major challenge in health policy for a number of countries, most notably developing nations.

” … limited availability … high prices and the significant share of false, substandard or counterfeit products and the associated health threat that they represent, is still a reality. Strengthened medicines control structures and regulatory bodies are needed to improve this situation,” charged Mr Lacoin.

He added: “… these challenges must be addressed comprehensively … through long term and sustainable engagement, in order to achieve the objective of UHC and ensure functional and strengthened health systems,” he added.

The EU representative pointed to adequate funding, policies on training and retaining human resources for health and access to quality and affordable products, as areas that should be given priority to improve the situation.

Dr Ghirmay Andemichael, Liaison Officer at WHO suboffice in Zanzibar said that to achieve universal health coverage countries need to ensure there is access to quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

“Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages will require strong national pharmaceutical systems in governance and accountability, innovation, manufacturing and trade, pricing and affordability, quality assurance and responsible use of medicines,” noted Dr Andemichael.

According to WHO, Barriers to accessing quality medicines in African countries are tied to resource constraints in the health sector, insufficient skilled staff, weak implementation of pharmaceutical policies and poorly managed supply chains.

The WHO Liaison officer, Mr Andemichael, said to address the challenges, a stronger partnership and collaboration is required with commitment for human and financial resources from government, private sector and development partners.

He added that the national medicines policy should ensure an uninterrupted supply of essential medicines that are efficacious and of good quality and are physically and financially accessible to all and which are used rationally.

On her part, the guest of honour, Ms Asha Ali Abdullah, the Isles Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health, acknowledged the need to strengthen health systems by increasing budgets and putting into consideration the well-being of health practitioners.

“A good health system requires a robust financing mechanism, a well trained and adequately paid workforce, reliable information on which to base decisions and policies, well maintained facilities and logistics to deliver quality medicines and technologies as well as appropriate governance and service delivery,” said Ms Asha.

She said the EU/ACP/ WHO Renewed Partnership which is coming to an end, has been a key partner in addressing challenges within the pharmaceutical sector in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

“Zanzibar being an Island and 100 per cent depending on importation of medicines and medical supplies, it is very prone to substandard, falsified and counterfeit as well as unregistered medicines and health products circulating in the market,” noted Ms Asha.

The EU/ACP/WHO Renewed Partnership was established in 2012 with 10 million euros seed funding to contribute to achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and UHC.

Under the leadership of Ministries of Health, the 15 ACP countries benefit from WHO’s strategic, technical and monitoring support to increase access to quality essential medicines by strengthening their pharmaceutical systems.

African Experts Push for Crop Improvement

By Emmanuel Ntirenganya and Queen Ingabire

Genetic plant resources should be preserved and new crop varieties developed in order to increase agricultural productivity and ensure food security, experts from the African Union have said.

The experts were speaking at an African Union Regional Workshop on the Implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).

The two-day conference, which opened Tuesday in Kigali, attracted officials from African Union countries and beyond, coming ahead of the member countries’ seventh session that will be held in Rwanda from October 30 to November 3.

Delegates from the AU Commission meeting in Kigali are expected to consolidate and agree on key things so as to have a common, united voice and position to advance at the November conference.

Up to 144 countries are signatory to the treaty.

The experts called for development of crops that can withstand effects of climate change and diseases in order to address rampant hunger and poverty facing the world, and Africa in particular.

Kent Nnadozie, the secretary for International treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, said improvement in crop yields is needed to feed the growing world population projected to reach 10 billion people in 2050.

“The more diverse, and more different varieties that you have for each crop, the more the ability for farmers to have varieties that adapt to situations and needs, as well as different environmental situations and other environmental stress arising from drought or climate change,” he said.

The Head of Rural Economy and Agriculture Department at African Union, Janet Edeme, said addressing access to improved varieties that can resist climate change and diseases is critical.

But, she pointed out, there is need to formulate conditions and policies that benefit African smallholder farmers.

The Director of Research at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), Patrick Karangwa, said countries bound by the treaty should be able to share tested varieties instead of investing in new research whose results can come maybe after five years.

Rwanda is trying to test about 17 varieties of cassava that are resistant to Cassava brown streak disease, a viral disease locally known as Kabore, after the disease devastated cassava crop in the country, according to Karangwa.

Speaking to The New Times, Karwa Amani, the president of COOPROMASA, a cooperative of maize farmers in Gatsibo District, said what farmers need is availability of crops that can produce more yield per acreage and can withstand climate change shocks such as drought.

Maize produce in Rwanda ranges from four to seven tonnes per hectare.

A new FAO report, “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, Building Resilience for Peace And Food Security 2017,” released last week, shows that hunger is on the rise in the world as, overall, hungry people increased to 815 million in 2016 from 777 million in 2015.

The numbers included 520 million people in Asia; 243 million in Africa, and 42 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The report said climate change effects, especially drought, and violence were the main causes of increased hunger.

Africa has the highest hunger rate in the world as, on average, hunger affects one-in-four people on the continent compared to the global rate of one-in-10 people.

Govt Under UN Human Rights Scrutiny

By Diane Uwimana

The Commission of Inquiry presents its final report to the Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue on Burundi this 19 September, in Geneva at its 36th session. Burundi government still rejects the report of the UN commission.

The chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Fatsah Ouguergouz accuses Burundi government and other institutions of denigrating the work done by the commission of Inquiry. “Reactions from other government institutions consist of casualness of the Commission address. Such speeches do not honor either their authors or the government they represent”, says Ouguergouz. He, however, says the UN experts confirm the conclusions of the report.

The UN commission of Inquiry on Burundi has recently published a report on the Human Rights situation in the country.

The chairman of the commission said crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed in Burundi since April 2015. The commission urged the ICC to launch investigations into possible crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015, when violent protests against the incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza broke out, thus causing the death of hundreds of people.

Fatsah Ouguergouz says the UN experts did a great work but were not powerful enough to put pressure on Burundi government to collaborate with them. “However, this report should not be underestimated as it is based on independent investigations,” he says.

The chairman of the commission also says the report should be used by governmental and non-governmental institutions to resolve the politico-security crisis in Burundi. “The Commission of Inquiry has done its job. It is the turn of the International community to do its part,” he says.

Speaking on behalf of the Burundian government, Rénovat Tabu, Burundi Ambassador to Geneva says Burundi has never refuted any exact and independent investigation into the Human Rights violations in Burundi. “Burundians have experienced tragic events in 1965, 1969, 1972, 1988… but the UN kept silent”, he says.

Ambassador Tabu wonders why the UN wants to investigate the human rights violations only committed in 2015.

“The UN Human Rights Council should reject this report produced by the commission it set up itself as it discredits it,” he said.

Divergent reactions

The representative of the DRC to the UN Human Rights Council accuses the UN Human Rights Council of applying a double standard and trying to politicize the Council. “After fifteen years, the UN Human Rights Council shifts from its objectivity, universality and non-selectivity by categorizing the perpetrators of the crimes committed,” he says. The DRC representative recommends the UN Human Rights Council to consider the initiatives taken by the African Union and region in stabilizing peace and security in Burundi.

France representative in the UN Human Rights Council says it is necessary that the commission continues its investigations as the crimes are still perpetrated in the country. France exhorts Burundi government to collaborate with the commission to establish the responsibilities of each perpetrator of the crimes committed in Burundi since the past two years and bring them to justice. “Fighting against impunity and engaging in an inclusive dialogue thanks to the regional facilitation are the main strategies to be used to handle all issues in Burundi,” says France representative.

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