JOHANNESBURG, Feb 13 — Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa has threatened to bring South Africa’s mining sector to a standstill if the Labour Department de-registers the union.
Amcu has a majority membership at the country’s Amplats, Lonmin and Impala Platinum mines.
Mathunjwa Wednesday also raised the possibility of forming a political party.
Mathunjwa elaborated: “There are many questions that are posed to us by the Department of Labour that are very questioning; the very same department is the one that is facilitating the wage negotiations.
“At the same time the department is questioning the authority of the leadership of Amcu, which shows that there is an agenda. If they de-register Amcu because they want workers not to have a home, then they will be pushing us to form a political party, that is what we don’t want to do.”
Meanwhile, wage talks between Amcu and platinum producers will continue on Thursday, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) said. “The individual engagements with the parties was initially set down for the 11th and 12th of February 2014,” the CCMA said in a statement.
“Employers had since requested additional time to consider and consult in their constituency.”
The mediation process was aimed at resolving Amcu’s strike at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum.
CCMA director Nerine Kahn said: “The CCMA was confident a mediated solution could be found. Amcu is demanding a 12,500-Rand (about 1,136 US dollars) basic salary for miners.”
Around 80,000 miners downed tools on Jan 23. The platinum producers proposed a three-year agreement last month. The proposal was a 9.0 per cent increase for A-level workers, 8.5 per cent for B-level and 7.5 per cent for C-level workers in the first year.”
The CCMA has been mediating talks between the union and the platinum companies since Jan 24.