South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has refused to sign a government-brokered stability pact aimed at defusing tensions in the mining sector ahead of tough wage talks.
The unrest, which has shaken the industry for the last 18 months, is rooted in a turf war between Amcu and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a political ally of the ruling African National Congress.
Question marks hang over the latest government effort to bring peace to the shafts after an earlier peace pact was roundly ignored and as worker militancy rises when commodity prices are falling and company margins are being squeezed.
Gideon du Plessis, the general secretary of Solidarity, which represents mostly skilled workers, said Amcu had a set of preconditions it wanted met before signing.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is the government’s point man on the mining crisis, told journalists Amcu wanted to consult its members first.
“Investors are not interested in this document, they are interested in a stable mining industry which operates within the framework of the law,” he said.
More than 50 people were killed in mining unrest last year that cost gold and platinum producers billions in lost output and led to credit downgrades of Africa’s largest economy and the government is keen to bring stability back to the sector ahead of elections next year.
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