Lonmin, Amcu in talks to avert strike

2013-06-11 12:35

Platinum producer Lonmin and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) were in talks today to avert a strike, a union official said.

Amcu wants to be recognised as the majority union at Lonmin as it now represents more than 70% of the workforce at the world’s third-largest producer of the precious metal. Amcu has threatened to down tools at the mine this week if talks fail.

“The strike has already been decided, the meeting is to try and avert it,” Amcu treasurer Jimmy Gama told Reuters.

“If we are unable to reach an agreement today, the notice (to strike) will be served tomorrow,” he said. The company has said such action would be deemed an illegal strike as the matter is set to go to arbitration later this month.

Lonmin’s mines were shut for weeks by an illegal strike last year and were the centre of last year’s violence in the platinum belt, which saw 34 miners shot dead by police in a single day in the worst security incident since the end of apartheid.

Amcu, which has emerged as the dominant union in the platinum shafts after a bloody turf war with the once unrivalled National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), has also led two brief wildcat strikes at Lonmin this year, most recently last month.

Lonmin said last week it had increased security at its mines in response to violence and labour strife.

Workers from both unions are still getting killed. Last week a NUM shop steward was shot dead at a Lonmin mine, weeks after an Amcu organiser was murdered in a tavern.

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