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Mathunjwa decries govt snubbing Amcu's elective congress

The organisation held the four-day gathering after the Labour Registrar threatened to deregister the union if it failed to hold a congress in line with its constitution.

FILE: Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Tuesday decried government ministers’ snubbing of its elective congress last week.

The organisation held the four-day gathering after the Labour Registrar threatened to deregister the union if it failed to hold a congress in line with its constitution.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the organisation had invited government representatives but were instead sidelined.

“…[Minister Nxesi] kept on saying they will respond but he never even showed his face to the congress and the reasons were not given. It was extended, but subsequently, we saw him in other [places].”

Amcu has been seen to be anti-government since its inception, saying it considered the state and capital enemies of workers.

The trade union also said a strike was not off the table but it would do everything in its power to conclude the platinum wage negotiations with Amplats and Sibanye-Stillwater peacefully.

Last month, mining company Sibanye announced that it planned on cutting over 5,000 jobs at its Marikana plant. Of those planned cuts, close to 4,000 (3,904) were permanent positions and 1,366 contractors would be terminated.

The union announced on Tuesday that it had referred the facilitation of wage negotiations to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Mathunjwa, who rarely backs out of a fight with mining bosses, said the union was hopeful that they could conclude negotiations without a strike.

He said that his union and most unions in the platinum sector would not accept less than a R1,000 monthly wage increase.