Amcu threatens strike over extension of wage deal

The hardline Amcu union is demanding a more than doubling of wages from gold companies.

FILE: Thousands of miners flocked to the Royal Bafokeng stadium near Rustenburg on 23 June 2014 to accept a wage agreement from platinum producers which ended South Africa's costliest and longest strike. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will launch a wildcat strike if its rival union and gold mining companies impose a wage deal on its members, its president said on Sunday.

"If NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) and Chamber of Mines want to extend their deal to us, we will sit down, whether it's legal or not. We will strike," Joseph Mathunjwa said to loud cheers from thousands of workers gathered at a stadium in Carletonville, 80 km west of Johannesburg.

Under South African labour laws, wage deals between the majority union and employers can be extended to smaller unions.

The hardline Amcu union is demanding a more than doubling of wages from gold companies AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold, Harmony Gold and Pan African Resource's Evander Mines.

About 10,000 Amcu members wearing trademark green t-shirts, waving the union's flags and carrying placards with slogans such as 'A Living Wage For All' piled into the stadium outside Sibanye Gold's Driefontein mine.

Amcu led a five-month wage strike last year in the platinum sector. Gold sector wage talks are set to begin this month as the previous two-year pay agreement expires at the end of June.