By Tunica Jegels
Miners affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Workers Union (Amcu) insist that management at Sibanye Stillwater’s gold operations are recruiting for rival union NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) in a bid to undermine their strike.
The company is at loggerheads with Amcu after it declared the current strike unprotected. Sibanye signed wage agreements with unions NUM, UASA and solidarity. It then claimed that the combined membership of the three unions was over 50% and therefore the deal applied to all miners as per labour law. Amcu retaliated and approached the labour court to seek an order for a verification process.
Sibanye has denied that it has been approaching Amcu members to cross the floor an action which would weaken the the union’s majority at the bargaining council.
Some miners spoke to KayaNews about Sibanye’s alleged campaign to weaken the union, by forcing miners to join NUM. “When they go to work they force them, to register for NUM. I don’t know why,” said the miner.
The union has meanwhile called on Sibanye to come to the negotiating table or face dire consequences. Members of Amcu at Sibanye’s platinum belt operations in Rustenburg joined the strike in solidarity with their members in the gold sector. As the strike nears its tenth week, the union painted Johannesburg’s streets green when it marched to the doors of the Minerals Council over what it calls an apartheid wage structure in the industry yesterday.