'Strike at Marikana a possibility'

Amcu says talks at the CCMA with Lonmin bosses were unsuccessful.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa said on Monday a protected strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine was a possibility after talks about majority union recognition had deadlocked.

Mathunjwa was fighting for majority recognition at the North West platinum mine and called on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to vacate its offices.

There were tensions between the two unions at the volatile mine sparking fears of further unrest.

Mathunjwa said talks at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration with Lonmin bosses last week were unsuccessful.

"The certificate of non-revolution was issued so it is for Amcu to decide which direction to go. We could either go for arbitration as applicants or apply for protected industrial action."


NUM last week said it was losing members in the Rustenburg area because workers were being intimidated to join Amcu.

NUM used to be the majority union at Lonmin and had an agreement in place to only leave their office space in July.

Amcu is pushing for the union to leave before then.

It wants majority recognition now that it represents about 70 percent of employees.

NUM's France Baleni said members are not leaving because of better prospects at Amcu.

"Intimidation forced members out of NUM. When things are normalised workers will return to the union because that is where they receive quality service."

Baleni said they were willing to work with Amcu to prevent job losses in the mining industry, but Amcu is continuing its fight for majority recognition, which some analysts said could spark more violence in the future.


Miners and security clashed last week at Lanxess Chrome mine last week which resulted in 10 miners being rushed to hospital.

Workers embarked on an unprotected strike last week demanding performance bonuses.

About 500 miners gathered outside the main gate, where clashes broke out with security guards.

The police's Thulani Ngubane said several rounds of rubber bullets were fired.

"About 10 protesters were injured and then taken to the mine hospital. The situation is currently under control."

Last week, workers at Marikana downed tools for two days.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said continued labour unrest could see further job losses and companies closing down, but in Rustenburg the situation remained hostile with wage issues and union rivalry still sparking violence.