24 February 2013

South Africa: NUM NEC Pronouncements

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) held its ordinary meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) over two days, the 21st and 22nd February 2013. The NEC pronounced on the following:

1. Peace Accord

The NEC applauded the work done by the Minister of Mineral Resources in leading the mining stakeholders in the negotiation of a peace settlement in the industry. The National Executive Committee was however extremely perturbed by the continued disregard of peace efforts by one union. Last year, the union refused to sign a peace deal after the deadly Marikana tragedy and have now refused to sign the deal once again. The NUM is astonished by the proposals canvassed by the union ‘s team during peace talks on Wednesday whereby they argue that those who had killed other workers in Rustenburg should be given amnesty.

2. Angloplatinum talks

The NEC was further perturbed that whilst Angloplatinum had agreed to suspend retrenchments talks in a bid to have discussions that seeks to find a solution, its Chief Executive Officer has poured cold water over the outcome of such talks. Whilst addressing the Portfolio Committee on Minerals, Angloplatinum CEO Chris Griffiths is on record as saying that jobs would have to go and that he does not believe that the talks they have with trade unions will save the jobs. The NEC condemned these and argued it was tantamount to putting the cart before the horse and believed that the company was having discussions in bad faith and speaking with a forked tongue.

3.Kusasalethu The National Executive Committee congratulated all stakeholders for a job welldone at Harmony Gold ‘s Kusasalethu mine where a total of 6000 jobs which were on the verge of being lost were saved. The NEC appealed to all stakeholders to translate their commitment in relation to peace at Kusasalethu into reality to ensure that people remain employed.

4.State of Mining post Marikana

The NEC evaluated the mining industry post the nation-wide strike actions and violent tendencies on the platinum belt and in the gold sector and expressed a number of views. The first view is that it called for the law enforcement agencies to tighten law enforcement and for the prosecutions authority to act in accordance with the law. The NEC took a dim view on the fact that there are those who are repeatedly given bail even after repeatedly violating bail conditions afforded them. The National Executive Committee called for the fastracking of cases where people had lost their lives as per the State of the Nation address and argued that, that will be the best way of stamping out violence in the sector.

The NEC noted one union‘s concession that the so-called Worker-Committees or Strike Committees are just part of their union. Based on it conceding, the NEC appealed to employers to recognise the union where it has gained sufficient numbers to enable all unions to work on agreed rules.

5. Collective Bargaining

The National Executive Committee noted the work done by the union in conducting a successful Collective Bargaining Conference and appealed on the National Office Bearers to finalise the finetuning of the wage demands to be submitted to the Chamber of Mines and other employers post the Cosatu organised collective bargaining conference in March. The demands will be handed over to the employers and bargaining is expected to commence towards the end of March or early April.

6. Construction The NEC was appalled at the rising accidents in the construction sector and appealed on inspectors of the Department of Labour to intervene and to ensure that construction companies comply with basic safety standards. It further appealed to the Minister of the Department of Labour to intervene and compel parties in the platinum sector to return to the table to finalise the notion of centralised bargaining for the platinum sector. The Committee further noted the alleged collusion by the construction companies and appealed to the authorities to investigate and take appropriate action whilst ensuring that workers are not victims in terms of retrenchments due to fraudulent behaviour of these companies.

7. Mangaung and the SONA

The National Executive Committee evaluated the ANC ‘s Mangaung conference and congratulated the worker leaders elected onto the ANC NEC. The NUM appealed on the newly elected NEC of the ANC to give priority to the fight against the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty. The Committee agreed that further evaluation of the conference and the State of the Nation address would be done by the upcoming COSATU Central Executive Committee. The NEC further mandated the office bearers to raise at the COSATU CEC the issue of ensuring that the COSATU unions stick to their scope and that the federation stick to its principles at all times.

8. Medupi and Eskom

The Executive Committee expressed serious concern over the Minister of Public Enterprises and Eskom ‘s handling of the conflict at Medupi especially on the exclusion of other stakeholders during consultation and at the time of finalising an agreement to resolve the impasse.

9.Allegations of improper conduct

The NEC deliberated on companies such as Umvuso Medical Scheme which it has been alleged that it has unethical relations with some members of the union. The NEC reiterated that there are no relations between Umvuso and the NUM and that those serving on the boards of that company are doing so on their own not per mandate of the union.

10. Rape,violence and abuse of women and children

The NEC condemned the rising levels of women and children abuse and appealed to the Justice Department to fastrack the conviction of the perpetrators and to give no bail to such. The NEC further called on all South Africans to join hands in fighting this scourge

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