Amcu, labour department set to resolve stalemate, avert strike
The union's president earlier warned that Amcu did not rule out a mass strike in the platinum-rich North West province if it was deregistered.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has patched up differences with department of labour registrar Lehlohonolo Molefe and the parties are set to resolve a stalemate, which earlier led to Molefe threatening to deregister the 200,000 member-strong union he served with 60-day notice.
At the core of the standoff has been Molefe’s claim that Amcu failed to comply with sections of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), which require the union to submit to the department audited financial statements and proof of holding regular elective conferences.
According to Institute for Security Studies head of Justice and Violence Prevention Programme Gareth Newham, had the impasse dragged to deregistration stage, it would have contributed “to a situation whereby tens of thousands of workers feeling alienated, whereby many resort to violence to express their grievances”.
Asked for comment on a meeting this week with Amcu leaders, Molefe yesterday said: “Some issues were addressed at the meeting. But the bottom line is that they [Amcu] still need to make formal representation in terms of the law.”
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa has described the meeting with Molefe as “positive and constructive”.
Mathunjwa said the union “explained how it was in compliance with its constitution with regards to the arrangements for its upcoming three-day national congress, in September 2019”.
He added: “Parties agreed to have regular interactions to ensure that there is a common understanding of the constitutional imperatives.
“It was an attempt to amicably resolve the matter and Amcu made it clear that it was in total compliance with its constitution, with regards to the arrangements for the congress.
“The union related how it had followed the timeframes prescribed by its constitution and pointed out that it had acted within its rights to postpone the event from the initial date in May of 2019. There was general consensus between the parties that there should have been earlier engagements before the issuing of the notice.”
Mathunjwa said Amcu was still concerned about procedural steps followed by Molefe to issue the union with the notice of possible deregistration.
Addressing a media briefing earlier this week, Mathunjwa warned that Amcu did not rule out a mass strike in the platinum-rich North West province, where it enjoyed a majority membership, should union members prefer so.
Meanwhile, a mine incident has been averted at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Thembelani shaft in Rustenburg, where several employees were yesterday hoisted to safety from underground.
Sibanye-Stillwater said it was “pleased that underground employees at Thembelani have been safely hoisted from the 14th level after a shaft inspection confirmed it was safe to do so”.
The company explained that “at about 1pm, some rails which were being transported underground – while being slung under the conveyance – came loose and fell down the shaft”.