Labour minister to meet unions

2013-06-03 10:46

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Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant will meet mining unions and their federations ahead of the bargaining season in the sector, the labour department has said.

Oliphant’s spokesperson, Musa Zondi, told Sapa today the meeting was part of the tasks President Jacob Zuma had assigned to various Cabinet ministers to deal with labour relations in the mining sector.

Today, Oliphant would meet union federation Cosatu and the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) and their affiliates, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

“The meeting is to improve labour relations in the mining sector, but also recognising that now is the beginning of the negotiating season. As you know, with the platinum sector, the negotiating season starts now,” he said.

Zuma tasked Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to lead interactions with unions and mining companies.

Motlanthe would be assisted by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Oliphant, and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu.

Zondi said the ministers had already started their work and Zuma wanted them to accelerate their engagement with unions and mining companies.

In the meeting, Oliphant would urge all parties to adhere to all the principles of the collective bargaining framework.

“The minister cannot prescribe what unions should demand, but she can ... say whatever happens, we should put the interest of the country at the centre of everything that we are doing,” Zondi said.

Labour relations in the mining sector have taken centre stage since the killing of 44 people at Lonmin’s Marikana mine last year.

Tensions between rival unions the NUM and Amcu have intensified in the platinum sector, leading to strikes.

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