NUM ready to join forces with rival union Amcu

The ANC’s Enoch Godongwana on Thursday said it was important for the unions to work together.

FILE: Striking mine workers who support the National Union of Mineworkers in September 2013. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday said it was ready to work with its rival union Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in this year's wage negotiations in a bid to end inter-union rivalry and secure a living wage for their members.

The union announced its consolidated demands for this year's wage negotiations in the gold and coal mining sectors at the NUM's Bargaining Council in Midrand.

Talks are due to start in about two months' time but the ANC's Enoch Godongwana also raised concerns about the length of the platinum strike at the conference.

The NUM's Frans Baleni said they'd decided to meet with Amcu after this conference to strategise for wage talks.

"We are planning to make contact after we have consolidated, we have already made arrangements to meet solidarity and we will do the same with all the units."

Godongwana said it was important for the unions to work together as mine bosses were trying to destabilise the labour movement.

"Our appeal is for all of us to rise above our own interests and look at the interest of the working class in general."

The NUM is still the largest union in the gold sector but still faces competition from Amcu, which has made inroads into companies in the Free State.

Earlier today Godongwana said the NUM needed to remain vigilant about commodity prices and South Africa's struggling economy as it headed into wage talks.

"As we go into bargaining phase, our economy is not in good shape. There are new electricity challenges and I think that anyone organising that sector has got to work with us."

Godongwana said the hard times meant the union needed to make difficult decisions about wage demands; as well as how to approach strikes.

He also said unity among working classes was vital and called on the NUM to work with its so-called rivals to achieve this.