Labour an­a­lyst warns of ‘bod­ies and blood­shed’ if Amcu leads strike ac­tion

CityPress - - Business - – Bloomberg

A pay strike at gold com­pa­nies could re­sult in more vi­o­lence at mines, ac­cord­ing to labour re­la­tions con­sul­tant An­drew Levy.

The Cham­ber of Mines and the four unions rep­re­sent­ing work­ers are “far apart” in wage talks. Unions are seek­ing an in­crease of at least 80% in en­try-level pay and pro­duc­ers are of­fer­ing 13% at most.

“I think there will be a strike”, most likely led by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Minework­ers and Con­struc­tion Union (Amcu), which speaks for about 30% of the em­ploy­ees, said Levy.

If oper­a­tions con­tinue with Amcu on strike, “there will be bod­ies and there will be blood­shed”. Gold pro­duc­ers are look­ing to avoid a re­peat of a strike that crip­pled plat­inum com­pa­nies last year, halt­ing most lo­cal mines of the world’s three-big­gest op­er­a­tors, for five months.

The Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM) rep­re­sents 52% of the 95 000 em­ploy­ees at com­pa­nies the cham­ber speaks for, in­clud­ing Sibanye Gold and Har­mony Gold. The NUM and Amcu have lost mem­bers to vi­o­lence at plat­inum mines where Amcu has dis­placed the NUM as the big­gest union. The pay talks started on June 22. Amcu is in sep­a­rate dis­cus­sions with the cham­ber af­ter walk­ing out of the col­lec­tive ne­go­ti­a­tions.

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