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NUM fight on for Lonmin recognition

NUM says it has evidence that Amcu falsified documents recognising them as a majority union.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) said on Thursday it has evidence that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) falsified documents recognising them as Lonmin's majority union.

There have been tensions between the two unions particularly at Lonmin's Marikana mine since late last year as they vie for majority recognition.

NUM's General Secretary Frans Baleni said his union will be going to court to have the decision reversed.

"We have served papers to Lonmin and the case will likely be heard on 10 July."

Amcu had threatened to strike over recognition rights earlier this month, but abandoned its plan to allow talks facilitated by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

WAGE DEMANDS

The Chamber of Mines says it's bracing for the toughest round of negotiations with gold mines this year.

On Tuesday, Amcu tabled a wage demand of R12,500, a further R7,500 more than the lowest wage in the sector.

This followed a demand by NUM that the minimum wage for the lowest paid surface miner be raised to R7,000.

The Chamber of Mines' Chief Negotiator Elize Strydom said this will make the wage talks all the more difficult.

"There's no doubt that these negotiations will be tough and the companies can't afford what's being put on the table."

However, she believes a resolution will be reached, somewhere in the middle ground of "what the company can afford and the expectations of the workers."

There has been a wave of strikes in the industry in the past year, largely due to the allegedly poor living and working conditions of miners.

However, it emerged last week that miners are in the top bracket of blue collar workers in the country and mine bosses admitted they could afford to pay workers more.

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel on Thursday gave his view of the unrest, blaming micro-lenders for forcing the wage demands by sucking miners dry.

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