THE NATIONAL UNION OF MINEWORKERS
POST EXTENDED NEC PRESS RELEASE
Date: 14 November 2013
The National Union of Mineworkers Extended National Executive Committee breakaway was held in Secunda at Graceland Hotel. The breakaway gathering comprised of NEC members, Regional Coordinators from the eleven regions, Pillar Heads, Youth Forum and Women Structure representatives who met from the 10th to 12th November 2013. The NEC Breakaway made an overview of the three sectors which is mining, energy and construction with special focus on collective bargaining and industrial relations.
The leadership collective also looked at enhancing organisational renewal to strengthen the architecture and infrastructure of the union .Thus they dealt with increasing research capacity and strengthening union led educational avenues to improve service .They also probed the political environment in South Africa, the economy including the resurgence of violence against women and children in the country.
The NEC also delved on health and safety, violence in the industry especially the killing of NUM members and its impact on the credibility of the Mining Framework for sustainability and development .The team also attended to matters affecting Cosatu, and matters of support for the ANC in 2014 elections. In perspective the Extended NEC Breakaway tabled its matters as follows:
1. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
1.2 Wage settlements
NUM has successfully signed wage settlements in the gold, coal, and diamond sectors. The NEC commended the successes made by the negotiators in these terrains.
1.3 Eskom CB challenges
The reluctance of Eskom to engage including the delaying tactics for arbitration on wage input is of great concern for NUM. The dilly dallying tactics by this entity will deprive our members the opportunity to earn wage increase and enjoy their December Holidays.
1.4 Construction wage challenges
The NEC observed with serious concern that a minority union accepted a small stipend offer in the construction sector. NUM through its effort pushed for a better wage settlement in the construction sector compared to what the minority union accepted. The new improved wage settlement by NUM would go a long way in alleviating the meagre wages earned construction workers if implemented.
The acceptance of small wage offer by this minority union is preventing the prospects of implementing the better offer won by NUM for construction workers. In this regard NUM calls on the Minister of Labour to embrace salary review immediately to effect the new wage settlement between NUM and SAFCEC.
1.5 Northam Strike
NUM negotiators stand ready to engage constructively pending on positive response from the company. This will expedite the ending of strike action. The current belligerent posture by the employer is reminiscent of dirty tricks abuse when mineworkers were dehumanised in the name of profits. The NEC calls on the employer to desist from its archaic attitude for the benefit of all stakeholders .The sooner there is settlement the better for all concerned.
2. ORGANISATIONAL RENEWAL
2.1 Organisational renewal project rollout
It is all systems go for NUM `s drive to organisational renewal nationally.
2.2 Sam Tambane Research Institute
The organisation is now on pole position in appropriately staffing the enterprise and consolidating its operational infrastructure .The Executive Director has already been appointed. This initiative is important in assembling reliable knowledge base and intellectual aptitude to advance the vision of the working class generally and the aspirations of the workers specifically.
2.3 Launch of Midrand College
NUM is formally launching a new branch of Elijah Barayi Memorial Training College on December 2013. The College will also introduce accredited courses as part of enhancing its profile in becoming an alternative theatre of learning and empowerment for workers. The NEC is convinced that these interventions will go a long way in improving both the confidence of shop stewards and nurturing improved culture of quality service.
3. THE POLITICAL ENVIORNMENT
3.1NUM and General Elections` 2014
In reviewing the performance of the ANC the NUM NEC while noting some service delivery challenges resolved that these did not militate for NUM`s withdrawal to supporting the ruling party in the forthcoming national and provincial elections . The NEC felt that the ANC was a better party compared to any of its current competitors in South Africa`s political landscape therefore will continue its support in ensuring that it wins both the provincial and national legislatures.
The union will use relevant platforms to impress on the ANC to urgently attend to burning challenges faced by the working class generally in their communities and at their workplaces to improve service delivery without posturing in the public gallery .In this regard the NEC urges all its members to register to vote correctly.
3.2Proactive and responsive branches
NUM appeals to the ANC branches to be proactive and attend to service delivery issues affecting our people negatively .The branches must ensure that councillors are responsive to their plight. NUM condemns the destruction of public infrastructure including damage to property and threats to human life during any service delivery protests .However, the NEC also calls upon leaders from whatever level or organisation to desist the temptation to condemn genuine grievances expressed by communities particularly where such grievances have been registered constructively and in disciplined fashion and responses were not forthcoming.
3.3 Violence against women and children
It has been noted that African countries have the highest rates of sexual and physical violence perpetrated against women and children in the world and South Africa is no exception .For this reason NUM has developed a programme of action to actively recognise and fully participate in the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children between the 25th November to the 10th December this year and its programme is under way to this effect.
The leadership is grimly distraught by recent horrendous episodes of violence against children in our country. Thus NUM welcomes all arrests made in this regard including convictions of all perpetrators. We urge communities to work closely with police and other law enforcement agencies in ensuring that suspects are identified and apprehended.
While noting the frustrations in the communities the NEC urges residents not to take the law into their own hands and appeals to its members to actively join the war cry against gender and child violence. Those who strip off nappies to gorge fragile and helpless children to satisfy itching lust must be forever removed from South Africa`s communities without review.
4. THE MINING ECONOMY ENVIRONMENT
4.1 Instability and violence in the mining industry
The NEC is concerned that in the end the unrelenting slaughter of NUM members in the mining industry would render the Peace and Stability Agreement hollow .This has implications for NUM `s role in these processes .While the NEC welcomes arrests of suspects relating to killings in Rustenburg it takes a dim view of the assertions there is progress in stabilising the platinum sector in the context of the sustained and well-orchestrated assassination of its leaders .
4.2 The Mining Framework Agreement
There are those who have signed the framework and those who have the luxury to be non-committal but participating in the process casts a shadow over the confidence of this process. The fact that some have committed themselves to the process by way of signature while others are exempted has the potential to turn this process into a mockery.
The NEC believes that contributing ideas to a process thereafter declining to sign constitutes double-standards and any process by embracing such a posture sets a bad precedence for the stakeholders.
4.3 Violence and killings
Violence and killings in the platinum sector are a severe violation of freedom of association .Most of those who belong to NUM face a serious threat to their lives if they wear for example red NUM T-shirts. This means their right to freedom of association has been taken away by vigilante unionists.
Most of our members cannot speak freely about NUM for fear of being killed .This means their freedom of speech has been taken away .The NEC condemns this wanton killing of its leaders in Rustenburg and calls on law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in bringing vigilante offenders to book.
4.3. Investigation of human rights violations
We call upon the Human Rights Commission to probe the severe violation of individual rights and the freedom of association.
4.3.2Investigating the role of companies
The Human Rights Commission should investigate the role of the mining companies who either collaborate or do nothing to prevent violations of human rights within their premises.
4.4 Weakened industrial relations
The NEC interrogated the atmosphere of industrial relations in the mining industry in South Africa. Thus observed that the industrial relations is not only fluid it is becoming toxic polluted by the hidden hand of the employer .For instance , while taking little blame for the industrial relations they benefit more from it by way of justifying jobs-culling and displacement of warm bodies with large machinery in the name of technological innovation without due mitigation .
While NUM is under attack from some quarters the NEC noted that it was also the subject of attack from mining management particularly in the platinum sector .The employers have failed to institute disciplinary measures to those that are implicated in the intimidation of fellow workers in an attempt to coerce them otherwise .Overall the industrial relations in the platinum sector particularly has been grossly weakened and trust deficit deepened between the employer employee relations.
5. Health & Safety
MINING:the leadership has noted that this year 2013 between 01 January and 10 November 87 workers have been killed in the mining industry .For example: 34 -Gold sector ,24-platinum ,07-Coal,22-other.
CONSTRUCTION :the NEC has noted the lack of effective monitoring of health and safety compliance in the construction sector .In this regard urges the Department of Labour to move fast to constitute effective oversight to enhance compliance in protecting life and limb .
ENERGY: the union noted that workers who were welding and grouting on a platform in one of the tunnels near Ladysmith on an The Ingula hydro-power Eskom project were killed while others injured . The platform became loose thus moved down the tunnel resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.
The NEC once more expresses its condolences to all families of the deceased and wishes speedy recovery to all those who incurred injuries. NUM expects that due support will provided by ESKOM such as counselling and other important material support.
6.1 Rolling mass action
The NEC has resolved that NUM continue to support Cosatu rolling mass action against e-tolling and labour brokers
6.2 Unity of the federation
The NEC calls for efforts to improve the unity of the federation to be escalated and sustained and condemns any attempts to deepen divisions .The NEC therefore calls upon affiliates of the federation to reject all manifestations of oxymoron tendencies .In this regard calls on all affiliates to desist from undermining elected leadership of the Federation. The NEC believes that this phase shall come to pass.
For more information, Please contact
National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street
"Socialist societies that create better living conditions for the people are unconsciously carrying out what we men of faith consider God's projects in history," said Brazilian liberation theologist Frei Betto.
Source Url: http://www.num.org.za/News/tabid/91/entryid/20/num-post-extended-nec-press-release.aspx