Tag: shutdown

ADSL shutdown approaches

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

Openserve has warned that it will shut down its ADSL offering in areas where fibre connectivity is available from 1 September.

In a letter sent to ISPs which was subsequently forwarded to affected customers, Openserve said that in areas where Openserve Fibre Connect (OFC) was already available, all DSL and copper services would be disconnected.

The company said this move was part of its continued drive to upgrade services to next-generation technologies and reduce infrastructure duplication.

Openserve said this would assist the network in enhancing the levels of service to ISPs and customers.

“We will be upgrading all copper broadband services to fibre broadband services in areas where Openserve Fibre Connect (OFC) is already available,” Openserve told ISPs.

“To this end, we will therefore also be discontinuing all existing DSL and Openserve Copper Connect (OCC) services in these areas.”

“All DSL/OCC services earmarked for discontinuance are in the fibre footprint and may be successfully migrated to OFC,” the network said.

Migrating ADSL customers to fibre

The network requested the assistance of ISPs to help migrate customers from older technologies to fibre, noting that the standard cancellation and ordering processes would apply.

It confirmed that any ADSL and copper customers in the affected areas would be disconnected from 1 September 2020 onwards.

“Consideration will be given in cases where an OFC has been ordered but not installed yet,” Openserve said.

The network added that all fibre installations for DSL services that are migrated will be free.

“Openserve assures you of our intention to carry out our broadband network infrastructure upgrade with the least amount of disruption to your customers,” the company told ISPs.

“We remain confident that the Openserve modernisation programme will benefit your business and your customers in the long run.”

Affected areas

According to the communication sent to customers, these areas will be impacted by the Openserve announcement.

If you have an ADSL connection there, you will need to migrate to a fibre Internet connection or you will be disconnected from 1 September.

How to survive working from home

By Elmarie Grant, head of Synthesis Academy

You have now been tasked with navigating a new world: working from home. This may sound great until you are charged with being the home-school teacher; your dog decides your new life purpose is playing fetch with him or her; you realise that your significant other is the loudest eater ever to have walked the earth; and you have to manage all forms of other new and unexpected interruptions – all while doing your job and keeping your customer happy!

Fear not. After extensive research, we have gathered the top tips to help you survive working from home:

  1. Set working hours
    Setting a schedule for yourself can be helpful in balancing work and life. Get up at your usual time, and be clear when your workday starts and ends. This way, you’ll feel more in control of your time and know when you can walk away without feeling guilty. It also gives you some flexibility to catch up with others – can you work for an hour or two before the kids wake up, or work another couple after they’ve gone to bed?
  2. Create a morning routine
    Deciding you’ll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. What in your morning routine indicates you’re about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pajama pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.
  3. Keep a dedicated “office” space
    Creating a clear space that signals “this is where I work” can be helpful in separating work from fun. If your laptop is on the desk, it’s worktime, and if it is on the dining room table, you can allow yourself to check your social media or watch a movie. Keeping your space clean, neat and stocked with whatever supplies you need (power cables, additional screens etc) will also help you focus and be intentional about your activities. Use the same space everyday so this space is your office away from the office, providing you with a physical and psychological boundary.
  4. Set ground rules with the people in your space
    Having little ones or loved ones around can be very distracting when you are working. Setting ground rules about how and when they can interact with you (especially when you are at your “work desk”) can be helpful. It helps them understand when they can expect your full attention, and minimise interruptions. Additionally, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you will always do it. If that’s how you choose to divide up the domestic labour, that’s fine, but if you simply take it all on by default because you’re home, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer.
  5. Schedule breaks
    Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your usual lunch break, or schedule time to walk away (and spend some time with your little ones). Regular breaks also help improve your productivity, manage your energy levels and reset your attention span.
  6. Be strict with social media
    It is natural to want to check what is happening on social media and to check the latest news but this can become all-consuming. Rather allocate time to do this as breaks in your day. Set an alarm if necessary to ensure you don’t fall down the rabbit hole and waste your day.
  7. Show up to meetings
    Instead of office meetings, you may be required to dial in or use other virtual means for meetings. Make sure you schedule these in the same way you would normal face-to-face meetings; they are a great way to check in with your team, measure your own progress and socialise a little. Raise any issues or risks, but also celebrate the small things. Don’t skip them!
  8. Look for training opportunities
    There are a variety of online, self-paced training resources available. Using your time working from home to learn a new skill set, hone an existing skill or reading more broadly about something you are interested in will not only keep you engaged and energised, but help you find new ways to add value.
  9. Over-communicate
    Working remotely requires everyone to be clear on what they are doing. Not seeing colleagues continuously makes it much harder to keep track of where they are and what activities they are completing. When you finish a project or important task, say so. If you are running behind or are facing a challenge, speak up. Over-communicating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself.
  10. Create an end-of-day routine
    Like your morning routine that gets you ready for your remote workday, set a routine that lets you (and your loved ones) know that you are winding down. It will allow you to leave work at work (so to speak) and engage with your after-hours activities mindfully and meaningfully and relax.
  11. Be present and be positive
    Whether you are working, or taking a break and spending time with others, be present in that moment. The best way to focus and improve your productivity is to aim your attention to one thing at a time. Cultivating a positive mindset has many benefits – from making you happier and more productive, to spilling over into your relationships. Let’s face it, being cooped up with others can be challenging, and keeping a positive, open mind will help you overcome those small irritations.

Edcon Holdings is making progress toward securing R3-billion in funding need to keep the South African clothing retailer afloat for another three years, according to Business Day.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Africa’s biggest money manager, may provide R1.8-billion to assist the company. In addition,  landlords may contribute another R700-million in reduced rent, and Edcon’s banks about R500m, they said.

Meanwhile, according to an article by MoneyWeb, Edcon aims to take the following steps in a bid to downsize:

  • Reduce the size of its Edgars store in the Johannesburg CBD by a third
  • Close down its big Melrose Arch store
  • Reduce its footprint at shopping centres across the country
  • Reduce regional footprints in centres such as Mall of Africa, Eastgate and Gateway
  • Continue with closing smaller stores across the country (115 have been closed to date)
  • Downsizing several stores
  • Continue to reduce retail space – in 18 months, Edcon has already downsized by 7%
  • Reduce space nationally by 5% – 7% per year over the next few years

Edcon is one of the country’s biggest employers. It has 1 200 stores which employ approximately 30 000 permanent and casual workers.
Over 100 000 jobs are supported by the company when clothing suppliers and other service providers are included.

 

Zimbabwe switches off the Internet

By Brian Latham for Fin24

When the Zimbabwean government ordered Internet service providers to shutter parts of the web in an effort to curb anti-government protests, it also plunged homes into darkness because people can’t pay their utilities online.

Most people in the southern African nation use Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s Ecocash mobile-phone payment system for daily transactions.

They buy electricity in units of $5 or less and almost all domestic users are on prepaid meters, so many buy for $1 at a time.

According to Zimbabwe’s Finance Ministry, less than 5% of commercial transactions in the country involve cash, mainly because it’s hard to find. Instead Zimbabweans use Ecocash or bank cards.

“Tonight will be spent in darkness,” said 42-year-old John Pedzesai, who sells plants on a sidewalk in the capital, Harare.

Econet, Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile-phone company, declined to comment.

DStv switches off its mobile TV service

Source: Tech Financials

MultiChoice has announced that it is ending its support for DStv Mobile service.

The TV operator company said in a letter to customers that the service will end on 31 October 2018.

DStv Mobile service was launched in 2010 as a DVB-H technology, which was fresh and new at a time.

The company said it’s not feasible to continue to maintain a separate land-based, dedicated network for this service alone, when an even better service can be offered to our customers on DStv Now via the internet and WiFi.

“While the DStv Mobile service will stop completely on 31 October 2018, we’re starting to switch off some of our transmitters already. As this might impact the reception of some of our customers, we are no longer billing for our DStv Mobile service from 1 September 2018,” the company said.

“We’ll also cancel any Decoder Insurance against DStv Mobile devices.”

The company said it has recycling bins available at its branches in Randburg, Durban and Cape Town where customers can drop off their mobile device to recycle. “You can also drop it off at any of our DStv agencies or recycle it through your local recycling centre,” said the company.

Caxton Central / Southern Courier

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is planning a total electricity shut down on Thursday 14 June to protest against the 0% salary increases of Eskom employees. Here’s what you need to know.

South Africans might experience a day of no power because of strike action set to take place against Eskom for not increasing the salaries of their workers this year.

1. Eskom announced 0% salary increases for their staff
In January this year, troubled state utility company Eskom appointed a new board of directors to help resolve their leadership crisis. President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as Public Enterprises Minister in February to be in charge of state enterprises like Eskom. This week the power utility announced a 0% increase in wages and earmarked 10 000 jobs to be slashed.

Allan Gray has pointed out the real problem at Eskom – a productivity meltdown. In 2003 #Eskom employed 32,000 people. Today that number stands at around 47600, up almost 50%. Eskom’s electricity production is roughly the same as it was in 2003. So 50% more people, a massive wage bill and the same amount of output.

2. NUM released a statement calling for a national shutdown
NUM released a statement saying that they were “disgusted by the brutal arrogance shown by the black majority led by Eskom”. They called for a national shutdown of electricity supply. The action is set to occur on national, regional and branch level. NUM and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) held a joint briefing earlier today to this effect.

3. NUM launched a response to Eskom in a series of tweets
One of the questions raised was “why should workers’ pay for the sins of management? It’s a fact that Eskom managers drove the SOE to the brink of financial ruin through rampant looting, corruption and mismanagement.” They said Eskom senior managers are responsible for the financial crisis at the SOE – “if jobs are to be cut they should start by cutting down the BLOATED executive which is made up of approx 500 people!”.

4. Eskom has contingency measures against Thursday’s strike
Eskom released a statement that they have measures in place to mitigate against the planned industrial action. They assured people that they will ensure the security of power supply should the strike happen.

5. People have taken to their social media to respond to the announcement
There’s been a generally mixed response to the Eskom announcement with some people claiming it is wrong to not increase the staff salaries in the wake of VAT increases and rising petrol prices. Others, however, believe Eskom workers have unrealistic demands.

By Tehillah Niselow for Fin24 

Thousands of workers are expected to take to the streets on Wednesday for a one day strike as the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) plans to make the country “ungovernable”.

The federation marched to parliament on April 12 and handed over a memorandum of demands but they say that the response did not address their concerns and workers will embark on nationwide action to put pressure on members of parliament to reject several labour bills making their way through parliament.

Saftu, led by dynamic general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, was formed exactly one year ago.

Fin24 took a closer look at their plans for the general strike.

When: Wednesday 25 April 2018

How: Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) allows workers to undertake protected strike action to promote their social and economic interests. Saftu’s application to the Section 77 Sub-Committee of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) was unsuccessful but three trade unions affiliated to Saftu; NUPSAW, ICTU and Salipswu made a similar Section 77 application to Nedlac and it was granted.

On Wednesday, all employees, regardless of whether they are Saftu members or non-unionised may join the strike under the ‘no work, no pay principle’.

Who: According to unaudited figures, Saftu has 800 000 members. The largest affiliate is the biggest trade union in SA, the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) with approximately 300 000 members, mostly in the manufacturing sector.

“We want everyone to join, in particular appealing to rank and file members [of other unions], many of them will be disgusted that their leaders voted for the [labour law] changes, without a mandate”, Saftu spokesperson Patrick Craven told Fin24.

Where: Saftu is expected to announce the nationwide routes at a press conference on Monday.

Why Saftu is taking to the streets

1. Labour law amendments

Parliament is currently considering amendments to the Labour Relations Act‚ the Basic Conditions of Employment Act‚ and the new National Minimum Wage Bill.

“Various amendments to labour laws will make it incredibly difficult to strike, it’s already quite difficult,” Craven said.

He said that the new labour bill making its way through parliament will include more rigorous requirements for pre-strike balloting and that this will be difficult for smaller unions with limited funds.

Craven added that the proposed amendments to the LRA will also allow for the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to intervene in strikes deemed to be lengthy and/or violent.

2. Minimum wage

Saftu objects to the R20 an hour minimum wage agreement, which was set to be implemented on 1 May but has since been postponed due to lengthy parliamentary processes.

“We want a living wage, we haven’t set a specific figure [but] we were very impressed with Marikana Lonmin workers who wanted R12 500. R20 is an insult to their memory,” Craven said.

The Parliamentary portfolio committee on labour said on Friday it will refer the National Minimum Wage Bill back to the labour department to be redrafted so that it includes public input received by the committee.

3. Nedlac membership

Craven said that the nationwide marches on Wednesday “are linked to the campaign to be recognised by Nedlac”.

Saftu remains in the cold, outside of Nedlac, the forum which negotiated the minimum wage and the labour law amendments between the three other union federations, government, business and the community sector.

Requirements for Nedlac membership include audited membership figures and financial statements.

Saftu maintains it does not have these yet as the federation was only formed a year ago and the admissions procedures at Nedlac are too onerous.

Who will not be part of the general strike?

Cosatu – the Congress of South African Trade Unions spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said that while they agree with Saftu that the R20 per hour minimum wage is inadequate, it’s a starting point to improve workers’ lives and the figure is what the “South African economy could give us”.

Pamla added that the amendments to the LRA do not represent a dramatic change to the labour landscape as they were already provided for in the legislation, they just weren’t enforced.

At loggerheads since the formation of Saftu in April 2017, Pamla said that they have good working relations with the two other federations at Nedlac, Fedusa and Nactu and need to work with Saftu in the future.

Nactu – the National Council of Trade Unions general secretary Narius Moloto said that the federation believed that the minimum wage is “historic” as it will benefit 40% of workers, currently earning below R20 per hour.

With regard to amendments to the labour law, Moloto said they will not make embarking on strike action more difficult; “we don’t really understand what they’re protesting about”.

Fedusa (the Federation of Unions of South Africa) general secretary Dennis George said that the organisation won’t be joining the strike as the minimum wage was negotiated with government. He added that 4,5-million workers will be covered by the R20 per hour salary and this will be “a huge benefit to the country”.

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