Amcu and NUM face off on issues

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The wide stance between two major unions in the platinum sector is apparent in their reaction to major events in the industry.

While the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is yet to comment on the revised restructuring plan released by Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) last week, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has been quick to respond. It rejected the revised plan as it would still result in lost jobs and hardship to thousands of families.

After three months of consultation with the Department of Mineral Resources, Amplats announced on Friday that only 6 000 jobs were at risk of being cut as per the revised restructuring plan. The world’s biggest platinum producer had originally said 14 000 jobs were at stake.

Spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in reaction to Amplats announcement that the mining company should hand over the licenses for the operations it wished to mothball, so the state could auction them off to willing bidders, who would utilise them.

Amcu official killed

On Saturday, an Amcu regional organiser was shot dead at a tavern near the Amplats’ Khomanani shaft in Rustenburg. The killing has sparked concern for the safety of witnesses at the Farlam commision as the deceased, Mawethu Joseph Steven, was due to testify this week. His murder follows the killing of NUM leader Daluvuyo Bongo in October 2012 as well as that of Alton Joja, the sangoma believed to have performed the rituals on the Marikana protestors, in March this year, and the attack on advocate Dali Mpofu in April. Bongo and Joja were scheduled to testify at the hearings.

While Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa called for calm after Saturday’s murder, NUM Spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka expressed the union’s regret at the murder. “We are dissapointed to see the killings are still continuing despite the signing of a peace accord,” he told DESTINY.

Majority union

Amcu is now the majority union at Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin with over 70% of Lonmin miners represented. Amcu is hellbent on muscling NUM out of the platinum industry. The union is insisting the threshold for recognition of a union be set at 35% of employee representatio. NUM is currently at 20%.

Wage negotiations

NUM has already indicated it would be demanding double digit increases while Amcu has stated it would not participate in wage negotiations with the Chamber of Mines this month. It said it would negotiate directly with Lonmin and Impala Platinum on 13 and 14 May.

SOURCES: Business Day, City Press, Sapa, www.iol.co.za, www.news24.com