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Amcu snubs mining pact

Amcu was the only union that didn’t sign a new pact for stability in the industry.

Amcu's Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (Amcu) refusal on Wednesday to sign a framework agreement for a sustainable mining industry has been met with disappointment by other unions and businesses.

Amcu was the only union that didn't partake in the signing of the new pact for peace and stability in the industry ahead of crucial wage talks this month.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and trade union Solidarity have already lambasted the union's decision.

The NUM's Frans Baleni says Amcu is blackmailing the industry by refusing to sign the agreement.

"It is unfortunate that we are dealing with people who always change the goalpost. Our conclusion is they had no intention of signing."

The union's labour federation National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) has defended its decision to review the latest pact.

"We don't want to sign a document which we have not discussed and mandated by our members" says Nactu President Joseph Maqhekeni.

Most stakeholders at the meeting said they were confident Amcu will eventually sign after consulting with its members, but some remain doubtful.

The Chamber of Mines says Amcu's snub won't affect its commitment to wage talks in the gold sector due this month.

The chamber's vice president Mike Teke said they're feeling optimistic.

"I believe it's giving them time to go back and consult with their membership. I don't think it will be a problem because the wage negotiations we'll have will be constructive."

Teke says the chamber will begin talks with mine bosses and unions on 11 July.

Meanwhile, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said while a peace and stability framework agreement doesn't include any consequence, implementing commitments made by labour government and business is enough to get the mining industry back on track.

The three role players signed the agreement in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Motlanthe said the forum will reconvene once a month to ensure all parties are sticking to the agreement.

"The framework doesn't provide for any punitive measures. What it provides for is an implementation roadmap which commits all stakeholders."