Solidarity, Motlanthe discuss mining unrest

2013-06-07 16:45

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The trade union Solidarity will meet Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to discuss unrest in the mining industry.

“Labour relations should focus on bread-and-butter issues and may not turn into a political battlefield,” Solidarity general secretary Flip Buys said today in a statement.

“The purpose of trade unions is to improve their members’ standard of living and working life, and not to take advantage of their members in order to fight for leaders’ political goals,” he said.

Tensions have flared at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana, North West, between rival unions the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Amcu said yesterday its members had voted in favour of striking at the mine over union recognition.

An NUM shop steward was shot dead and another was critically wounded in Wonderkop on Monday.

On May 11, Amcu regional leader Mawethu Steven was shot dead at a tavern in Photsaneng. On the same day, twin brothers Ayanda and Andile Menzi were killed at a shack in Nkaneng, Wonderkop.

During a two-day strike in May, Amcu members demanded that the NUM close its offices at Lonmin, and it accused the union of membership fraud.

Forty-four people were killed during unrest at Lonmin in August. Police shot dead 34 striking mine workers on August 16. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

Buys said Solidarity would ask at the meeting that a summit be convened between government, trade unions and business.

“Solidarity calls on government to ensure that the rule of law is maintained by the police. The safety of employees must be ensured,” he said.

“Solidarity is prepared to work with any trade union that operates in keeping with the law in order to promote sound labour relations.”

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