May 19, 2020

South Africa hit by 200,000-strong Engineering Strike

National Union of Metalworkers
South Africa engineering and metal work
Irvin Jim
Kgothatso Kage Kgiba
2 min
South Africa hit by 200,000-strong Engineering Strike

Members of South Africa's National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA), downed tools yesterday at the start of a strike by more than 200,000 engineering and metal workers that it is feared could have severe consequences for a number of key industries and the wider economy.

The strike came as negotiations over a 12 percent pay rise yielded no progress, although the demand of nearly double the inflation rate of 6.6 percent has been revised down from 15 percent since talks began in March.

The union's General Secretary, Irvin Jim, said: "As we have still made no progress with the negotiations, we are reminding everyone that our demands include a 12 percent wage increase."

NUMSA members account for half of the 400,000 workers in the engineering and metals sector. Jim said company bosses had remained "stubborn and intransigent" during a series of negotiations with the union.

Sectors including telecoms, electrical engineering, steel and plastics are expected to be hit hardest by the open-ended strike, and while automotive employees will not take part, the sector is still likely to be affected by strikes by component workers.

It is also feared the latest strike could cause further delays at two power stations being built by state utility Eskom.

The new action follows the five-month platinum sector walkout of 70,000 workers led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which ended last week, and saw the nation’s economy contract 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

Deals were successfully agreed with mining companies Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum, which will see the lowest paid workers' salaries rise by around 1,000 rand (£55) a month each year until 2017, and employees receiving back pay within seven days of returning to work

NUMSA will hold solidarity pickets in major cities today, and are expected to be joined by civil society groups and employees of Eskom.

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.


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