Wednesday, January 22, 2014

AMCU Strike Is Within Peace Agreement

Jan 22 2014 7:36PM

Amcu strike is within peace agreement

The planned strike by Amcu-alligned workers at Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Lonmin Platinum this week is within the framework agreement signed by the government, unions and mining companies, the presidency said on Wednesday.

"They are conducting the current wage negotiations under the framework of the agreement," said Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's spokesman Thabo Masebe.

The agreement was signed in July by the government, the Chamber of Mines, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), Uasa, Solidarity and the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa), Masebe said.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (Amcu) general secretary Jeff Mphahlele said the union had not signed the agreement "because our members were not happy with certain thing [in it]".

Mphahlele said that at a meeting on Tuesday, Motlanthe proposed that the union's leaders to take the agreement back to its members for further discussion.

"They did not sign it, but they agree with its framework," Masebe said.

"They said they do not have a problem [with it] because it is based on the Labour Relations Act.... They just want more than what is in it [currently]."

Amcu plans to strike at all three mines on Thursday.

The purpose of the Framework Agreement, which was signed in July, was to bring affected parties together to work on improving the problems within the sector, Motlanthe said in a speech prepared for delivery at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) 2014 labour constituency conference on Wednesday.

"Government, organised labour and organised business made a firm commitment to work together to restore peace and stability in the mines."

Some of the key factors of the agreement included:

-- Ensuring that workers and managers not be harmed for exercising their constitutional right to join a trade union of their choice, declare disputes, strike and engage in any form of peaceful protest;

-- Ensuring all matters pertaining to labour relations, including union recognition agreements, verification of membership and wage negotiations, were conducted within the Labour Relations Act; and

-- Maintaining peace during protests relating to labour disputes and protecting life and property.

"The mining sector in our country has been in turmoil and in some instances there has been lots of loss of life," said Masebe.

Many people, including investors and rating agencies, were of the view that the mining industry is on the decline, he said.

Slowing growth in China, the decline in commodity prices and the domestic work stoppages had contributed to the sector's slow growth.

Masebe urged the affected parties to use social dialogue to resolve disputes.


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