National Union of
Mineworkers “’ could
lose 60% of its
Johannesburg, South Africa — 24 May 2013

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) “’ for many years the biggest mining trade union in South Africa “’ is reported to be at risk of losing close to 60% of its membership.

“If we are to reflect on the assessment of member satisfaction as things currently stand, we are at risk of losing close to 60% of our membership, the union said in its secretariat report quoted by Fin24. “We need to be able to quantify our competitive advantage as new players have entered our traditional space.”

The NUM is reported to have lost thousands of members to rival union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). The rivalry between the two in the mining sector has intensified and escalated into violence.

The NUM was holding its central committee meeting in Pretoria, and general secretary Frans Baleni is expected to present the report to the meeting.

It experienced a 10% loss in membership following the wildcat strikes last year and its de-recognition at Impala Platinum mine, the secretariat report revealed. But this does not include December 2012 statistics and does not reflect NUM’s current position, according to the report.

"Significant gains have been made as part of the recruitment drive, evidenced for example by a return of membership in Rustenburg."

The NUM said it was operating in a difficult environment. Strike actions and their implications had lost the union membership as well as revenue. From January to September last year the union lost 78% of its membership and 69% of its revenue at Implats and Gold Ore.

According to the report, members’ attitude towards the NUM had changed. They did not believe that the union was fighting for their collective interests as strongly as it previously did. Collective bargaining structures also seemed to have broken down, particularly in the mining industry. AMCU had also increased its profile.

The NUM has resolved to intensify its recruitment drive. “It is only through the strength of recruitment that the NUM will be able to bring the necessary changes pertaining to the living and working conditions,” the report concluded.

Source: Fin24. For more information, click here.