Today's Labour News

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MathunjwaMiningmx writes that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) seems to have reached a plateau after its five-month strike in Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines effectively accomplished nothing beyond the impoverishment of its members.  

The coming platinum wage talks will show if it remains a force to be reckoned with or one that is about to hit a dead end.  Platinum, which does not bargain collectively as an industry but on a company-by-company basis, has been Amcu’s beachhead and some experts maintain that in platinum, despite its dismal gold strike, Amcu is not vulnerable.  Nonetheless, Amcu faces many of the issues that have hit other mining unions, including lay-offs.  According to the Minerals Council SA, the number of workers employed in the platinum mines fell from close to 200,000 in 2012 to under 170,000 last year.  “Amcu is at the crossroads and was riding the Marikana wave until now.  They now need to reposition themselves as a mainstream trade union.  They will have to approach the platinum negotiations in a mature way because what is needed for their members is a sustainable platinum industry,” Gideon du Plessis, general secretary of Solidarity, which represents mostly skilled workers, commented.  Faced with regulatory threats of de-registration because of the union’s failure to hold timely national congresses and other alleged infractions, Mathunjwa is in a corner and there are signs that Amcu may be reaching a plateau of sorts.  While overall the numbers are little changed, they do suggest that Amcu is no longer really growing its ranks.  The author comments that in such a situation, “it is not easy to read how Mathunjwa might respond.  But no one can get a crowd worked up quite like him.”

Read the full original of the above informative article by Ed Stoddard at Miningmx


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