Mathunjwa: Amcu workers assaulted

Amcu says at least 7 members have been hospitalised after being attacked by striking workers.

FILE: Amcu's Joseph Mathunjwa speaks during a media briefing about the Lonmin peace deal. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) President Joseph Mathunjwa on Thursday said members of his union were assaulted by striking National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) miners at Gold Field's Beatrix mine near Welkom.

Tensions between the rival unions have once again come to light as the NUM continues with its strike over wages in the gold sector.

Around 80,000 NUM members downed tools, while Amcu is still waiting for a mandate from its members about salary increases.

Mathunjwa says even though they've indicated their members won't partake in the strike, they are still being intimidated.

He says at least seven members have been hospitalised after being attacked.

Mathunjwa said authorities have done nothing about the intimidation.

The Amcu president says mine security and police haven't tried to stop the violence and his members fear for their lives.

The NUM maintains the industrial action is peaceful.

The union said it is unaware of attacks on Amcu members but said it would investigate the claims.

NUM STRIKE 'INEFFECTIVE'

At the same time, Mathunjwa says the NUM strike is not proving to be effective and his members cannot be forced to accept any wage agreements made with the gold producers if they're not involved.

Earlier this week, labour analysts said the strike could be the most costly in South Africa's history but some companies have already struck a settlement with unions.

Gold producers are now revising their 6.5 percent wage hike offer.

Mathunjwa says negotiations between the NUM and employers are not what they seem.

"I think this is just a camouflage, it's not really a strike."

He says a meeting scheduled for this weekend will determine the way forward for Amcu members.