The National Union of Mineworkers(NUM) National Executive Committee meeting was held on the weekend in Johannesburg. The NEC made an overview of the three sectors which is mining, energy and construction with a special focus on Collective Bargaining and other industrial relations issues.
It resolved on the following pronouncements:
1. Nullifying worker victories
The NEC has observed an escalating phenomenon unleashed by companies which are manifesting in the nullifying of collective bargaining agreements. The NEC believes that employers are taking aantage of the contestations between unions which is weakening unity amongst workers.For instance, companies are cancelling secondments agreements and thereby denying elected workers leaders from discharging their union work.
The NEC believes that this is a concerted move to destroy unions and eventually tread on workers’ rights while intensifying exploitation. The NEC has already noted the negative effects of this kind of attack with some of its leaders unable to attend to unions business as expected because they were not released by employers.
It is the resolve of the NEC to fight all attempts by companies to weaken NUM structurally.The NEC is also aware that the refusal to release elected office bearers of the union is an attack on the leadership of the unions so that they fail in their mandate to service members.Overall the strategy seeks to create an internal implosion.
The NEC resolved to mobilise all efforts to defend the victories and achievements made by NUM including positive agreements it signed.Where necessary the union will consider litigation.
2. National Bargaining Conference
The National Union of Mineworkers will be holding a National Bargaining Conference on 11 – 12 March 2015. The NEC believes that this will give the opportunity to members of NUM to convey their aspirations in line with the struggle for a better life.
The NEC, therefore, urges all its regions and branches to undertake a thorough consultation with members so that the outcomes of such consultation could inform and guide the national bargaining conference agenda. The NEC also urges the branches to table demands that will ensure a living wage for workers in Mining, Construction, and Energy Sectors.
Furthermore, the NEC is encouraging its members to table proposals that will lead to a national campaign in defence of the victories won by NUM which are now being threatened by erosion.
3. Bargaining Council
The NEC resolved to continue with all efforts to establish a Mining Bargaining Council.
4. JB Marks
NUM is running a bursary scheme entitled JB Marks Education Trust.The scheme was initiated in the memory of JB Marks and this meant embracing some of his values.JB Marks was a selfless leader who committed himself towards the freedom of the working class.It is for this reason NUM created the Trust Fund to sponsor the education of the children of its members and its support staff.
In this regard the NEC welcomes the retrieval of the mortal remains of JB Marks from Russia back to South Africa and the union will also be participating in processes linked to the return of the remains of JB Marks .We hope his selfless spirit reigning closer at home will continue to inspire the youth to aspire for more education.
The NEC believes that JB Marks ‘s sense of commitment to the Alliance and his undying effort for common struggle amongst progressive forces will reverberate the importance of a g alliance between Cosatu , SACP , and the ANC for the total transformation of South Africa .
4.1 JB Marks Education Trust Fund
The NEC is immensely proud that the JB Marks Education Trust Fund that was established by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1997, to address the need for black educated graduates entering the mining, energy and construction sectors to empower its members and their children.
Over the last 17 years, it has continued unabated to fulfil this need by providing tuition for members of the National Union of Mineworkers and their families, achieving meaningful change and capacity-building through improved education. The Fund has enabled 830 bursars to graduate with mainstream tertiary qualifications (including 15 medical doctors) and disbursed R154 million to over 2000 beneficiaries, in the current year (2015) 200 bursaries were awarded making a total of 700 students still in the pipeline.
5. ANC 103 years
The NEC noted the 103 celebrations by the ANC of its existence in pursuing the struggle for transformation in South Africa.The NEC welcomes the fact that multitudes of our people turned up for the celebrations. Most importantly is that the event took place in the heart of the opposition.
The NEC believes that this has laid the ground for thorough intervention in terms of mobilisation in the Western Cape for the ANC to claim the Province into its fold.The Western Cape cannot continue to be an island where many of the poor states of affairs does not change.The leadership of the ANC must build a momentum and turn it into electoral aantage come the 2016 elections.
It is our view that any success must be premised on the alliance structures working together in ensuring that government delivers and remains in touch with the masses of the province.
We call on the ANC not to be oblivious to the current service delivery protestations in our country. While the NEC realises that some of the problems require long-term solutions it is important to reach out to communities that raise grievances.Failure to respond promptly will erode confidence in our people not only those directly affected but those who witness these events from the distance. The ANC was formed out of caring for our people and this should manifest under its term of governance.
6. Local Government
The NEC has noted the state of local government as follows:
Few municipalities are in good health while some have the potential to be in good order,
Some municipalities are dysfunctional and others are simply in ICU.In the view of the NEC, there is potential of service delivery protests in such areas.
Only 2% of managers have the technical background and a high percentage of employees have below matric qualification.
There are many other deficiencies noted.Overall the NEC believes that decisive intervention to ameliorate the situation is required to change the situation in order for the government to inspire hope amongst the South African populace.
7. State-owned entities
The NEC observed that the state of governance in government-owned entities is degenerating. The NEC welcomes the executive decision to have the Deputy President of the country intervene and bring about a turn-around in these entities. To reinforce these initiatives the NEC calls on the Minister of Public Enterprises to reign on the chairpersons of these entities to conduct themselves in cost effective manner than spend money of activities that do not add value to Eskom ‘s business objectives such as unnecessary international trips.
8. Energy and Electricity
The NEC welcomes intervention expressed by SONA to remedy the challenges faced by Eskom.
The NEC reiterates its initial position to push a Save Eskom Campaign. Part of the campaign will be to ensure that the voices of the workers are embraced in any turn-around strategy by the government. We believe that it will be a grave mistake for workers not to be consulted in generating the improvement of the parastatal.
So long, as the workers are pushed to the margins and their experiences and knowledge is relegated to the gutter as is the case currently nothing sustainable will emerge out of any intervention.Thus, we urge the Deputy President of the country Mr Cyril Ramaphosa to break the tradition of corporate tyranny by consulting with workers at Eskom in order to get a sense of problems and solutions thereof.
The NEC once more wishes to express that nuclear is an important source of energy by all means. But the NEC believes that it is a costly endeavour which does not assist us to resolve the challenge of electricity now. South Africa should be pursuing cheaper electricity sources which have also been scientifically reliable.
10.1 Evaluation of compliance
The NEC is awaiting the MPRDA Compliance Evaluation Report coordinated by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). However, the leadership condemns the lethargy displayed by companies pertaining to the overall transformation of the mining industry.
This may entrench the legacy of colonialism and apartheid racial power relations integrated and tolerated within our democracy. Already many EXCOs remain 90% white failing to meet the 40% basic minimum for transformation.
10.2 Professional space
The NEC observed that lack of transformation in South Africa also remains manifest within the professional categories such as the legal fraternity, engineering and within Chartered Accountancy profession. It has become vividly clear that we really need more young black people to be trained in Chartered Accountancy profession. Our view is that over the years, for example in the municipalities, we have heard that a number of the books of the respective municipalities were not in good order because of lack of basic accounting literacy and each time that audits are done.
NUM believes that the lack of energy when it comes to transformation may feed into the spectre of potential national revolt we may find no time to sufficiently manage. A lack of transformation in legal engineering and chartered accountancy is unacceptable in this new South Africa of ours if we are to lift our people out of poverty. South need more lawyers, engineers and chartered accountants in the public sector. They need to add value to the public sector.
The NEC is concerned with continuing job losses for example Glencore Optimum Mine in Mpumalanga. The NEC calls on mining companies that cannot operate these operations to hand them over to those who have the conviction to create good prospects. NUM further calls on the Minister of Department Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramathlodi to intervene to halt job losses and the NUM is ready to assist in crafting measures to prevent further losses.
Our members are aggrieved by Glencore’s decision to close down the Optimum colliery. This happens in the backdrop of the company’s commitment not to retrench workers when it took over Xstrata and Optimum operations. The NEC has also noted with grave concern that Glencore’s tendency of buying companies who are competitive in the market with the aim of closing them down and remain with the mining licence. Glencore is obsessed with being the leading global company by maximising profit using vulnerable contractor’s employees.
The new amendment bill in employment equity stipulates clearly that employees should be paid equal salary for the same job. This closing of Optimum Colliery by Glencore is clear cunning move to avoid this ACT. This, therefore, mean Glencore is not willing to be subjected to the rule of law in our country.
Lastly, the NEC supports the decision taken by its members at Optimum Colliery that Glencore must go back to where they belong in Switzerland. We don’t need Glencore in our country. It is quite clear that Glencore is imperialist company which seeks to maximize profit at the expense of our members.
12. Harsh sentences for rapists and murders
The NEC welcomes harsh sentences that are given to rapists and murders. We commend the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for making sure that these monsters are removed from the society for good. Our women and children have to live in an environment that is safe from these heartless monsters. Last week, a man has been sentenced to 251 years for several crimes and a further three life terms for two murders and two rapes by the Mahikeng High Courtin North West Province. Hands off Our Women and Children Hands Off.
13. SADC Intervention Campaign on TB.
The NEC supports this initiative by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) countries to put an end to the shameful 100-year legacy of tuberculosis in the mining industry that has helped make TB the most common cause of death for the Southern African sub-region.
Regional concerns about the potential for cross-border disease transmission led the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to add its weight to efforts to establish a coordinated regional solution to TB in the mining sector. This builds on existing SADC initiatives to support service provision improvements for mobile populations through regional cooperation, and its regional project to develop minimum standards for management of HIV, TB and malaria in the sub-region as the first step towards harmonized disease management.
SADC Health Ministers highlighted the issue of TB in the mines at their annual meeting in November 2012 and mandated the establishment of a Technical Working Group involving the World Bank, Stop TB Partnership, International Organization for Migration and representatives of the three most highly affected countries (Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland) to draft a Declaration on TB in the Mining
Sector and undertake stakeholder consultation. This Declaration, which was signed by SADC Heads of State in August 2012, recognized the special vulnerability of mineworkers and their communities to
TB, and identified some key steps needed to reduce risks and improve services. Harmonization of the management of TB for countries between which mineworkers regularly migrate to and from mine sites was one of the key recommendations of the Declaration, building on SADC’s previous work to improve health service access for mobile populations and expert consensus on necessary steps to reduce mineworkers’ vulnerability.
Mineworkers have a risk of contracting TB that is almost three times greater than that of the general population, and an incidence rate that is ten times higher than the level of a TB health emergency, as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to their high risk of infection, many mineworkers in Southern Africa are made more vulnerable to difficulties they face in accessing health and social services, largely as a result of frequent migratory movements across provincial and national borders, and informal employment arrangements that may not cover health care
15. Unity at Cosatu
The NEC further calls for and appeal for maximum unity of Cosatu affiliates in order to fight our class with doubled energies. The NEC further calls for Cosatu to engage other federations with the sole purpose of forming one federation, for as per our standing slogan One Union, One industry, One Federation, One Country.
16. SONA Overview
The NUM commend the President’s bold pronouncement on the following fronts
bull Dedication to obliterate racism and all forms of intolerance in the country.
bull Implementation of the National Minimum Wage
bull Revitalization of the distressing mining towns
bull Addressing informal settlements in the mining towns
bull Social development to the mining communities such as technical expertise with regards to Integrated Development Plans and Development of Special Economic Zones
bull Prioritization of the mining municipalities on the implementation of the Back-Basics municipality service delivery strategy
bull Reviewing of the compliance of mining companies with the 2014 mining Charter targets
bull In the infrastructure roll-out
17. Do not insult, debate the content of the SONA
The NEC commends the ANC MP’s for their consistency in presenting a reconciliatory and forward-looking debate in parliament than dancing with pigs in the mud.
No amount of insults and loud sound bites must distract the ANC MP’s from articulating and taking forward the mandate given by the 23 majority people of our country.
18. Device jamming
The NUM is against any device that is used to limits individual rights to communication and, therefore, condemns the use of jamming device during the State of the Nation address in Parliament last week. It should, however, be noted that, as was indicated by Parliament, investigations are being conducted to determine the source of the jamming device that affected the signal during the SONA and this process needs to be allowed to take its course.For more information, please contact:
Livhuwani Mammburu: 083 809 3257 : Acting NUM National Spokesperson
Frans Baleni: 082 375 6443: NUM General Secretary
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
19.1 Economic blockage of Cuba
The NEC welcomes the alleviation of Cuba blockade by the administration of the United States. In the context of the interaction between the NUM NEC and the office of the Cuban Ambassador during the NEC meeting we believe that this move ushers a beginning and not the end of a struggle for genuine freedom for the people of Cuba.
Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions