JOHANNESBURG – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will challenge the decision by the Labour Court to squash its proposed secondary strike aimed at shutting the mining industry.
Amcu said on Friday it was shocked by the judgment charging that it was misguided. It said the court did not truly consider the compelling arguments made by Amcu regarding the purpose of a secondary strike.
“Secondary strikes are an integral part of the constitutional right to strike and this seems to have been neglected in the judgment.
“Amcu views this judgment as a serious infringement on the right of workers to engage in secondary strike action,” the union said.
The Labour Court on Friday ruled in favour of the country’s mining giants saying Amcu’s plan to lead a secondary strike across the platinum, coal and gold sectors would be illegal.
Amcu, which led the crippling five-month strike for higher wages in the platinum belt in 2014, also said the judgment created a perilous precedent, which would seriously prejudice the working class.
“For this reason, Amcu has given instructions to its lawyers to apply for urgent leave to appeal,” the union said.
Amcu planned to lead a sympathy strike in solidarity with 10 000 of its members who downed tools four months ago at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold assets in demand of higher wages.
Amcu wanted Sibanye-Stillwater to hike wages by R1 000 despite the company signing a R700 increase with the National Union of Mineworkers, trade union Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa last year.
The strike began on November 21, with nine people already killed in violent clashed and 62 homes torched.
Police Minister Bheki Cele and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe visited Carletonville last week in an effort to get to the root cause of the violence.
Companies, including Anglo American Platinum, the world’s top platinum supplier, Impala Platinum and Lonmin, the world’s largest second and third-largest platinum producers respectively approached the court to halt Amcu’s planned action.
Amcu argued that the Minerals Council SA, which represented 80 percent of the country’s mining industry, had to exert pressure on Sibanye to resolve the dispute with the union.
However, the Minerals Council said that its membership compact was an internal aspirational document intended to rally all members around a common set of values and ethics.
The council said the membership compact was not intended to apply to collective bargaining matters.
The council also argued that the Constitution aimed to regulate the functions, role and powers of the council and its board, and did not give the organisation or its members the power to interfere in the affairs of any member.
Lonmin said on Friday that it was pleased with the judgment and the company’s operations continued to run as normal.