Amplats says Amcu now represents 60% of miners

2013-12-13 12:19

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s top producer of the precious metal, said today the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had increased its membership in its shafts to 60% from 40% in July.

Company spokesperson Mpumi Sithole also said a wage deal agreed this week with Amcu’s rival, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), only applied to it, two other unions and non-unionised miners.

The pay increases range from 7.5% to 8.5%, far short of the more than doubling of entry-level wages demanded by Amcu.

But the agreement throws down an unexpected challenge to Amcu to deliver. Its members have yet to see any raise at a time when co-workers will be taking home more pay just in time for Christmas without having had to sacrifice any income through strike action.

The union is known for its uncompromising stance in wage talks, though it has changed its tactics this year and generally played by the rules after a wave of wildcat strikes.

Amcu emerged as the dominant union on South Africa’s platinum belt after taking tens of thousands of members from the NUM in a turf war that killed dozens of people and led to credit downgrades for Africa’s largest economy.

It has permission from a government mediator to call strikes against Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, but is not expected to do so before the new year.

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