Last bid to halt Amcu strike

Kgalema Motlanthe will facilitate talks betwen Amcu and mining houses today.

Kgalema Motlanthe will facilitate talks betwen Amcu and mining houses today. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says government will facilitate talks between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and mining houses today in a last-ditch attempt to halt a mass strike.

Over 100,000 workers from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin are set to down tools from Thursday for a minimum R12,500 salary.

This is expected to have a major impact on the already fragile platinum industry.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa says it's not the union's intention to bring the industry to a halt.

"It's not our intention, but it's how the employers push the workers into that corner. We've been negotiating with the mining houses since December."

The mining union has increased in prominence in recent months, with a majority recognition agreement signed at Lonmin last year among its main achievements.

MiningMX.com David McKay said Amcu itself should be worried, as the mining companies have had a long time to prepare for this industrial action.

'SMEAR CAMPAIGN'

Amcu's ability to maintain the strike is under scrutiny with experts and other groups concerned about rifts within the union and widespread job losses.

Mathunjwa says there's a smear campaign against him and his union with the intention to divide members ahead of the strike.

Some Amcu members have labelled Mathunjwa a dictator and say he can't secure their wage demands or pull off such a huge strike.

But he insists this is coming from a small group and it does not reflect the sentiment of the majority.

"The strike is still on and there are no divisions within the union. Members are happy with Amcu and the structures, but there's a smear campaign trying to divide the union."