Lonmin: No agreement could bring ‘devastating consequences’

The lack of a binding collective bargaining agreement at Lonmin platinum mine will see turbulence in the industry continue, trade union Uasa has said.

“In the absence of an agreement, the turbulence in the industry is set to continue with devastating consequences to the economy and the value of our currency,” said Uasa mineral workers’ manager Franz Stehring today in a statement.

“Uasa consequently calls on all the parties involved to apply their minds and explore all ways and means to resolve the matter.”

Yesterday, no agreement was reached at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration between Lonmin and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on a new recognition agreement, the company said.

Acting chief executive Simon Scott said Lonmin had asked that the matter be resolved through arbitration. Amcu wants recognition rights as a majority union at Lonmin, and that its rival, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), vacate its offices at the mine.

Amcu secretary-general Jeff Mphahlele said the union had not yet agreed to refer the matter to arbitration.

Uasa and other unions at Lonmin currently have a collective bargaining agreement with Lonmin.

But Stehring said Amcu seemed set on pushing out any other trade union.

“NUM, which has hitherto enjoyed majority union status, will find it difficult to let go, with the resultant dynamics involved.”

He urged Amcu and NUM’s leadership to approach the process with wisdom, leadership, and a sense of respect for trade union democracy, labour peace, and stability.

“Amcu has illustrated its power and has proven its point that it is the largest trade union in the industry. So why not focus on exercising true statesmanship to bring back peace and stability in the field of labour relations?”

As long as Amcu persisted with its “winner-takes-all” attitude, no centralised collective bargaining agreement would be possible, Stehring said.

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