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NUM Press Statement, 26 September 2017
POST NEC PRESS STATEMENT
1. NATIONAL STAY AWAY
The National Executive Committee assessed the NUM state of readiness for the national stay away that has been called by COSATU for Wednesday 27 September 2017 and was satisfied that the message has filtered down to the members. Shop steward councils and mass meetings have been held throughout all our regions. We are assured that our members will fully heed the call and either join the planned marches or stay at home on Wednesday. We expect big business, banks, in particular, to come out in full force in support of the strike.
2. RETRENCHMENTS IN THE MINING INDUSTRY
Since the announcement by the two companies namely Anglo Gold Ashanti and Sibanye to retrench more than 15 000 workers, the CCMA has finished the facilitation process at Anglo Gold Ashanti and the process is still work in progress at Sibanye. At Kopanang mine Anglo intended to invoke section 197 of the Labour Relations Act. Due to the lessons learned from the Aurora debacle, the workers demanded that they be given severance packages and all that is due to them and make it a condition of sale that the new owner will give the current workers first preference for employment when they take over. Anglo Gold has acceded to this demand. We are happy with the situation although not all of the current workers may be signed on by the new employer due to various justified reasons like age, state of each individual’s health and the number of workers the new employer wants.
We are very worried that Sibanye has decided to destroy jobs in South Africa in order for them to finance their new acquisition which is Stillwater in the United States of America. We believe that the more than R20 billion spent on that venture should have been used to create jobs where that wealth was generated. It is now clear to everybody that these mining companies have no interest in investing in this country. In trying to minimize the number of people to be retrenched, we have submitted proposals to the company. The intention is to see if we can’t turn around those operations which are said to be making losses. In fact, one of those operations which are said to be making losses has dramatically improved since the announcement to retrench. Kloof was expected by the company to make a R15million loss but the operation only recorded a R1million loss. It is on this basis that the NUM says parties must be serious in trying to find a solution to the problems they are faced with. We hope that the process facilitated by the CCMA will result in a very reduced number of people to be retrenched.
Bokoni Platinum did not even have the courtesy to serve the NUM Head Office with a section 189 notice. The notice was served to our regional office in Burgersfort. However, our region has the capacity to deal with the matter and CCMA is facilitating the process. We also hope that the ultimate number of people to be retrenched will be reduced. Despite this looming retrenchment, wage negotiations are in progress and our members’ demands have already been submitted to the employer. Among these demands is a demand for an improved retrenchment package.
3. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
We have signed a three-year wage agreement at ASSMANG in the Northern Cape. The lowest paid workers will get an 8% increase for the first and second year and a 7% increase in the third year. The lowest paid worker currently, i.e before the increase, earns R15, 284. 88 per month on a total package.
Also, we have signed a three-year wage agreement at Exxaro Coal. The increase ranges between 7.5% for the highest paid and 10% of the lowest paid employees. This agreement is effective as of the 1st July 2017 to 30th June 2020. Operations covered by this agreement are:
. Coal CB
The other companies in the Coal Sector have not yet come up with acceptable offers to our members.
3.3 KIMBERLEY/EKAPA JOINT VENTURE
We reached a dispute with this company and the matter was conciliated where the parties could not agree. The CCMA issued a certificate of non-resolution but unfortunately, our members went on strike before we could serve the company with a 48-hour strike notice. These members staged an underground sit-in. We managed to talk them out of that and they came to surface to continue with the strike. The strike is still continuing.
4. CONTINUED KILLINGS IN THE PLATINUM BELT
The NUM strongly condemns the killings of workers that continue unabated in the Rustenburg area. It does not matter to what union or association they belong. What matters most is that these killings are leaving families without a source of income. We call on law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute these killers and, in fact, the masterminds behind these killings. No trade union can sustain itself through killing people and a reign of terror. This must stop and stop now.
5. LONMIN UNION BASHING
The National Executive Committee observed with disgust the union bashing tactics being applied by LONMIN. This company has decided to cancel union membership for those employees who belonged to NUM. Although we agree that we have lost majority status in the company, but we have not lost our constitutional right to freedom of association. We will fight this matter up to the Constitutional Court if need be. Workers in the mining industry have got a constitutional right to belong to the union of their choice.
6. THE OAKBAY EFFECT
The closure of Oakbay bank accounts has finally caught up with NUM. With the company having lost its court bid to stop Bank of Baroda from closing its accounts, the company has no facility to pay salaries to workers at Shiva Uranium, Optimum coal, Koornfontein and a few other companies where we have members. Oakbay has already stopped workers from going to work as they will not be able to pay them at the end of the pay cycle. It is on this basis that we have written to the Chief Executive Officers of the four big banks (First National Bank, ABSA, Standard Bank and Nedbank) requesting a meeting with them. Although we cannot divulge what we intend to discuss with the banks, we can definitely assure everybody that we do not intend to go there and plead for Oakbay.
We must, however, state it categorically that we are disappointed at how the ANC, as the governing party and the SACP as the vanguard of the working class have handled this matter which will result in thousands of job losses. Both parties would love to have the support of the workers to fulfill their agendas but none is interested in defending the jobs of the workers. Both of them are competing for the workers’ votes in the 2019 general elections yet none of them has the workers’ interests at heart. We are not sure whether both say they don’t care the workers’ dirty votes come 2019.
For more information, please contact:
David Sipunzi:NUM General Secretary 082 883 7293
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257.
The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257