Cosatu wants Amplats to reinstate workers

By Drum Digital
08 October 2012

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in North West has appealed to Anglo American Platinum to reinstate fired workers.

"We call on the employers to reinstate all those workers and call the unions to discuss the demands of workers," said provincial secretary Solly Phetoe on Monday.

"We are also calling on all workers who are on [an] unprotected strike to reconsider to suspend the strike to allow the negotiations to start and allow the federation to lead their demand for proper disputes and take a protected action which will not dismiss anyone."

Phetoe said the federation was concerned about the spate of attacks on the leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) and their relatives.

"This is clearly no longer about wages but a clear attack on the NUM, Cosatu and its members.

"Workers are now under attack and being forced to join other unions that are not their choice. Workers are forced to get into unprotected strikes...," he said.

He said the killing of NUM leaders was a cause for concern and workers were now living in fear of raising their cases with the union, management or the police.

The cousin of a National Union of Mineworkers shop steward was shot and killed in Marikana, near Rustenburg at the weekend.

"An unemployed cousin of a NUM shop steward was shot and killed last night [Saturday] at the shop steward 's house in what is reported to be a case of mistaken identity," NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.

"Gunmen appeared from nowhere at the Marikana hostel and immediately shot the steward 's cousin who was sitting on a bed. The cousin died on the scene."

On Friday night, a NUM branch leader was shot dead at his home in Marikana, in what Seshoka described as an "assassination".

"This comes after the death of the NUM branch chairperson last weekend and the attack on another branch leader, who escaped whilst his wife was killed," said Seshoka.

Five NUM members -- two of them shop stewards -- were killed in violence associated with a strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana between August 10 and August 16, said Seshoka.

"Cosatu NW condemns all the killings no matter who is involved, all the killers, in particular those of activists in our trade unions," said Phetoe.

"Cosatu supports the demands of the workers but we are not supporting illegal actions, and the continuation of killing each other. We are not supporting intimidation during strikes or forcing workers to join unions that they have not chosen..."

The SA Communist Party said what was camouflaged as legitimate workers' demands and protest in the mining sector had now been hijacked by regressive forces, just like in apartheid, to try and eliminate the NUM and its basic unity.

"To use violence to mobilise workers away from their organisation must be strongly condemned. Over a period of time the SACP has been warning of an existence of a lumpen tendency that is prepared to do anything including these senseless killings, to assume power in society," said spokesman Malesela Maleka.

The SACP called on the state to act "with haste".

"We also call upon employers to take responsibility for these developments as it is their own dangerous and opportunistic actions in trying to weaken the NUM that has led to this situation," the SACP said.

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