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