South Africa: AMCU Vs NUM – Workers to Vote At ‘Hostage’ Mine

Gold One will organise ballot of miners The Springs mine…

Gold One will organise ballot of miners

The Springs mine where hundreds of miners were held underground last week is to hold a ballot to decide on union rights, chief executive Jonathan Hericourt told GroundUp.

More than 500 miners were kept underground at the Gold One Mine for three days. Last Wednesday afternoon, about 400 miners came to the surface after an operation that involved the police and the Proto team, who are trained in underground rescues. Earlier in the day, about 136 miners had escaped up a mine stope, an incline that is used to move vehicles underground.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is fighting for legal recognition on the mine and is challenging the “closed shop” agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The closed shop agreement means that NUM is the only union that the mine recognises.

AMCU claims to have more support than NUM.

Tladi Mokwena, the executive secretary of AMCU, said last week the union had collected 1,300 signatures on a petition which showed they had a majority and had submitted the petition to the company and to NUM. He said they were giving the company a deadline of 3 November, to respond. If not they would take legal action.

NUM denies that AMCU has a majority on the mine.

“Everyone is saying all sorts of numbers that we have no way of validating other than by doing an independent ballot, so that’s where we’re going to be going,” said Hericourt.