Amplats dismissals could escalate strike violence - Union
24 mines are now facing strike action with approximately 100 000 workers or 20% of the total mining workforce having downed tools.
Posted: Friday , 05 Oct 2012
JOHANNESBURG (Mineweb) -
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary, Frans Baleni, said that the dismissal of 12 000 illegally striking workers by the world's largest platinum producer,Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), today could lead to an escalation in violence in the area.
Baleni went further to say that the dismissals were neither a solution nor helpful and that negotiations would have been a better avenue.
Amplats commenced with disciplinary proceedings last week and the 12000 workers who did not attend the hearings were dismissed.
Amplats confirmed that the strike contagion had spread to its Union and Amandelbult (Tumela and Dishaba) operations, where workers have presented memorandums of demands similar to those received in Rustenburg.
This had caused the miner to close these mines as well as the Mortimer Smelter due to low worker turn outs.
The strike action has caused the company 39 000 ounces of lost production and around R700m or $80m in lost revenues.
CEO, Chris Griffith said that the miner would explore the possibility of bringing forward wage negotiations within current agreements. The current wage agreements were scheduled to open for negotiations in six months' time in any event.
Griffith also put his weight behind centralised engagement structures driven by the Chamber of Mines.
On a meeting held at the Chamber of Mines today between unions and leaders in the platinum industry, Baleni confirmed that a process on how to implement a centralised bargaining forum for the sector was launched and that meetings would continue over the course of next week.
Some of the issues identified for discussion said Baleni were how to address the burgeoning informal settlements around mines and also how to tie parties into agreements and prevent them from walking away once a centralised bargaining forum had been put in place.
This issue was likely raised since workers and NUM have both called for increases outside existing 2 year wage agreements in the gold sector.
On whether or not the deal struck between unions, the chamber and the gold companies who are members of the chamber last night would provide NUM with enough to convince its workers to return to work Baleni was non-committal.
"Our advice to workers is to take the process" said Baleni.
The general secretary said that it was trying to communicate last night's deal with its members but that it was difficult to do so in those areas that had become too violent. The area behind informal settlements at Carletonville was one such area said Baleni.
Baleni was of the opinion that the framework deal covered all gold and coal companies who were members of the chamber of mines.
These events bring the number of mines currently experiencing strike action to 24 with approximately 100 000 workers or 20% of the total mining workforce having downed tools.