Johannesburg, South Africa — 12 June 2013 – World number three platinum miner Lonmin says it has not been notified that members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) are intending to start a strike.

Fin24 quotes Lonmin spokesperson Sue Vey as saying: “Lonmin hasn’t received the formal notice of strike. If they do that, the company will act to prevent the strike.”.

Confirmation of, or clarification on, an earlier SABC report that AMCU would serve notice of intention to strike over an organisational rights dispute between itself and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was not immediately available from AMCU.

UASA spokesperson Franz Stehring said he did not know about AMCU’s reported intention. The last his union had heard on the matter was that arbitration over the dispute was set for June 26. “We have not been notified that the notification has been issued.”

It was not possible to have a protected strike until the arbitration process related to a dispute had been completed, he added.

Section 22 of the Labour Relations Act states that if a dispute is unresolved, the next step can 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 pointed out.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said his union would not be informed of such a notice, but 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.

The arbitration followed after AMCU attempted to extend its organisational rights to all Lonmin offices. It is also seeking the right to collectively bargain for employees in collective bargaining forum two where, according to the arbitration notice, it does not enjoy majority support.

Solidarity, the NUM, and UASA represent workers in that forum.
AMCU already has 70% representation in bargaining forum one, which includes rock-drill operators and miners. It also wants to bring forward the implementation date of the next round of wage agreements, from October 1 to July 1.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.