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Mining talks stall after Amcu withdraws

NUM said talks failed after Amcu said it unwilling to allow other unions to negotiate for wages.

The National Union of Mineworkers' General Secretary Frans Baleni, at a news conference in Johannesburg. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday said talks to establish a collective bargaining forum in the platinum sector collapsed.

This after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was unwilling to allow other unions to negotiate for wages on its behalf.

The Chamber of Mines confirmed that the talks stalled.

It said it is unlikely a new forum will be established this year.

In 2012, Amcu walked out of talks after being accused of being behind the violence at the platinum belt.

The union now says it won't return to talks as a matter of principal.

The NUM's Frans Baleni was also involved in talks.

He said it's up to the minister of labour to convince Amcu to resume negotiations.

"We need centralised bargaining and unfortunately, that collapsed. We don't know if the minister has the capacity to convince Amcu to come back."

Meanwhile, Tuesday's talks between Amcu and Lonmin are continuing after the two parties failed to reach an agreement over recognition.

Amcu members voted to go on strike at the mine if their union is not granted majority organisational rights.

Union president Joseph Mathunjwa on Monday met with Lonmin in a bid to secure a last minute deal to avoid the strike, but those talks are still ongoing.

Lonmin also contested the legality of the strike.

It has approached the arbitrator at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) over discrepancies in the recognition agreement.

ZUMA CALLS FOR PEACE

At the same time, President Jacob Zuma appealed to business and labour to conclude wage talks speedily and peacefully.

Zuma spoke about the state of the economy while delivering his budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday.

He warned slower than expected growth in the economy could impact job creation and said problems in the mining sector are only aggravating the country's economic woes.

The president criticised the deadly violence.

He said he remains hopeful the team led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will succeed in stabilising the troubled sector.

Zuma also stressed his government doesn't favour any unions.

Lonmin has been battling with union rivalry following the deaths of 44 people last August.

Miners went on strike demanding better salaries, but the illegal action turned deadly when they clashed with police.

Zuma set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the deadly shootings.