NUM, Amcu members clash over recognition

2015-02-07 10:00

Nine mineworkers were injured as unions Amcu and NUM clashed at Sibanye Gold's Beatrix operation in the Free State.

"Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the conflict and injured employees were taken to hospital for treatment," said Sibanye Gold yesterday following Thursday's violence.

National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the clashes began after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was granted permission to host a meeting at the mine. He said Amcu had no right to hold the meeting as it had no recognition agreement.

"Violence erupted when Amcu members stopped our members, who were on buses, from going to the mass meeting," said Mammburu.

He said seven of their members were injured in the confrontation.

"One is in a critical condition in Bloemfontein. He is in the ICU."

Mammburu said the NUM had lodged a dispute with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to determine why Sibanye allowed the meeting to happen.

"We emphasise we do not have a problem with Amcu. We are not fighting them. We will never fight them," said Mammburu.

"Sibanye is responsible for what happened yesterday," he said.

Amcu said it did have a recognition agreement.

"The mass meeting was to tell our members that we finally have a recognition agreement," said the union's national organiser Dumisani Nkalitshana.

"We started negotiations in June last year and finally got it."

He said they had permission to hold the meeting and the NUM tried to stop buses from ferrying people to the gathering.

Security guards intervened and managed to move an Amcu official's car, which had been placed in the road to stop the convoy of buses carrying NUM members to the meeting.

"When our members went back to the hostel, they found that NUM had locked the gate so our members could not come inside. Some of our members who were at work did not know there was a problem and NUM officials assaulted those members," claimed Nkalitshana.

Those assaulted had not laid charges as the company said it would hold its own investigation.

Nkalitshana blamed the NUM for the violence.

"There was no need for them to create conflict. The issue is that they are losing members to us."

Nkalitshana called on Sibanye to suspend the NUM's branch management.

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