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Mine forum boycotted by unions

Amcu signed a majority recognition agreement at Lonmin on Wednesday.

FILE: Lonmin miners take part in an illegal strike on 14 May, 2013. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Most unions have boycotted the launch of the police's Mine Crime Combatting Forum after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) signed a majority recognition agreement at Lonmin's Platinum Mine in Marikana.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa launched the new forum in Rustenburg on Wednesday.

It's aimed at dealing with the ongoing violence and sporadic murders in the area.

Most of the tensions have been attributed to the ongoing rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Amcu.

A representative from mining union, the United Association of South Africa (Uasa) and the NUM pledged their support for the forum which was launched on Wednesday.

However, Amcu and Solidarity were not present.

Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa says he wasn't aware of the launch.

He was signing a majority recognition agreement with Lonmin in Johannesburg, something he has been fighting for since the violence broke out in Marikana.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said not all crimes are linked to union rivalry.

"There will be murders and clashes in the area. I'm appealing to not let us rush into linking everything to union rivalry."

LONMIN & AMCU AGREEMENT

Lonmin and Amcu agreed on the framework for this year's wage talks and the role Amcu will play going forward.

Lonmin confirmed Amcu now represents 60 percent of its employees.

However, it agreed to allow other minority unions to participate in this year's wage talks.

Lonmin's new CEO Ben Magara said the agreement has been signed at a historic time in South Africa's history and follows robust engagement with Amcu.

"I'm delighted today that we are here to announce this agreement. We are also commemorating the week which changed our lives."

The agreement outlines the thresholds required for basic rights for unions.

Lonmin have agreed to give workers the day off on Friday to mark the anniversary, as long as they forfeit a day's pay.

ONE YEAR ON

Friday marks the one year anniversary of the Marikana shooting.

Marikana came into the spotlight last year after 34 miners were shot dead and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on striking miners.

The week before, during the build-up to the violence, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.