A police vehicle
parked outside the
Marikana mine
Johannesburg, South Africa — 13 June 2013 – Major platinum producer Lonmin plc has confirmed that it is fully committed to the conclusion of a new recognition agreement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

“The company is striving to reach an agreement which is in the best interests of all of its employees, and has made reasonable offers in discussions with AMCU in an attempt to achieve this,” said company spokesperson Sue Vey in a statement quoted by Fin24.

“There is no agreement at the moment, and we are therefore continuing to pursue an amicable settlement.” She gave the assurance that the mining company would continue to hold talks with the union.

Following an SABC report that AMCU would serve Lonmin with a notice of intention to strike, Vey said the company had not received such a notice. “The company will act in the interests of employees to prevent a strike,” she added.

“We reserve our rights and will consider all options to ensure operational continuity and financial viability in the interests of all stakeholders, including employees’ jobs. We remain confident that an agreement can be reached through continued negotiations,”said Vey.

AMCU vice president Jeff Mthahmeme was not aware that the union intended serving notice of its intention to strike in an organisational rights dispute with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He said he was trying to get information on the matter.

UASA was also unaware of the possible strike notice, said spokesman Franz Stehring. The last his union had heard was that arbitration in the dispute was set for June 26.

It was not possible to have a protected strike until the arbitration process relating to a dispute had been completed.

Section 22 of the Labour Relations Act stated that if a dispute was unresolved, the next step could be either arbitration or protest action. “The specific document we have received from the mine and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration refers to arbitration,” he said. “If they give notice, it would be an illegal strike and would jeopardise the security of its members,” he added.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said the union had not be informed of such a notice, and that the last word it had was also to do with the arbitration. If there was a strike, it would be unprotected because of the arbitration date,  he added.

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will meet parties in the mining sector “’ including unions and the Chamber of Mines “’ tomorrow.

His spokesperson Thabo Masebe said that Motlanthe “’ who had recently been appointed to head a mining sector task team to go into the developing crisis in depth “’ had met unions and the chamber in the past two weeks.

At the meeting the parties concerned would  be asked to commit themselves to conduct their affairs within the law and within the Labour Relations Act. They would also discuss what steps needed to be taken to stabilise the mining sector.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.