Amcu: Should we be delighted to see the back of this lot?

Business

Amcu: Should we be delighted to see the back of this lot?

Perhaps not. While Amcu is radical and drives a strong populist line, more fiery unions are waiting to step in

Allan Seccombe


There are mixed responses about the potential deregistration of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).
The actual deregistration is only 60 days away – assuming the labour relations registrar Lehlohonolo Molefe doesn’t receive any written objections or arguments as to why Amcu should remain registered.
Many would be delighted at the thought of Amcu disappearing off the face of SA mining, given its disruptive rise to prominence since the strife on the Rustenburg platinum belt in 2012 which was accompanied by violence and culminated in the massacre of 34 protestors by police.
Amcu brought the Rustenberg platinum sector to its knees in a record five-month-long strike in the first half of 2014, costing companies and workers more than R30bn in lost revenue and wages. Some companies, such as Lonmin, have never recovered from the labour unrest that accompanied Amcu’s rise to prominence.
A strike that fell a few days short of five months at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines yielded precious little for 14,000 Amcu members and it was marked by murders, violence and arson. Amcu’s track record for peaceful strikes is fairly dismal, labour court judge Connie Prinsloo pointed out earlier this year.
However, it must be considered that, despite the unchanged leadership of Joseph Mathunjwa and his lieutenants giving rise to concerns about the democratic nature of the union, it is still an important union and has massive clout, particularly on platinum mines.
While Amcu is radical and drives a strong populist agenda, more fiery unions are waiting to step in. As one industry executive says, it would be far better to correct the internal failings of Amcu to bring it in line with legislation than to destroy it entirely.

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