Amcu strike could cripple gold industry - Solidarity

Union says industrial action in this sector would be unprotected, vulnerable workers could lose their jobs

Amcu strike could cripple gold industry

Trade union Solidarity today expressed its concern about the intention of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to possibly call a strike in the gold mining industry. A strike could cripple an already fragile industry. Amcu has indicated an intention to call a strike in the gold and platinum industry.

Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity General Secretary, says that Amcu kept a very low profile at last year's gold negotiations which resulted in a settlement reached between the Chamber of Mines, Solidarity, NUM and Uasa on 10 September 2013. ‘In the main, Amcu boycotted the negotiations and the signing of the agreement. This gold mining agreement has been implemented since the end of September 2013, and all gold mine workers are already experiencing its benefits. It has also led to more stability in the gold mining industry although numerous retrenchment consultations are still taking place.'

Du Plessis says another strike in the gold mining industry is therefore not in the interest of Amcu and its members, nor is it in the interest of the sustainability of the industry as a whole and can result in further retrenchments. ‘We are concerned about the job security of Amcu's members as a strike in the gold mining industry could be unprotected and could put the future of thousands of mine workers and their families at risk.'

Although a protected strike in the platinum industry is a constitutional right, entry level mine workers pay a high price for such a strike because of the "no work, no pay" principle that applies, and thousands of poor households are still carrying a severe debt burden as a result of the labour unrest of the past 18 months.Fortunately there is still time for the parties to find common ground this week and to avoid a situation where there are no winners, only losers.

Statement issued by Gideon du Plessis, General Secretary: Solidarity, January 21 2014

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