Lonmin has said it would give the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) the boot this week, allowing it to recognise the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) as the main union at its local operations.
The NUM had gone to the Labour Court to try to protect its dominant position at the world’s third-largest platinum producer, but the case was thrown out today, the day before its majority membership deal expired.
“The NUM will formally be derecognised as the majority union on Tuesday, which opens the way for Lonmin to cement a deal with Amcu,” Lonmin spokesperson Sue Vey said. “We are hoping that this will now lead to peace and stability at our mines.”
In the past 18 months, Amcu has won over thousands of members from the NUM, a key ally of the ruling ANC, which faces an election in less than a year.
More than 50 people have died in the union turf war, which has cost platinum and gold producers billions in lost revenue and led to credit downgrades for Africa’s largest economy.
Amcu is fast becoming a serious player in the mining industry and was recognised as the majority union at Impala Platinum and at Sibanye Gold’s Driefontein mine last week.
The union also made its first appearance at the two-yearly gold industry wage talks last week, despite its slower membership growth in the bullion sector.
Amcu’s emergence as a majority union has upped the stakes in the wage talks, with demands for a doubling of basic pay set against collapsing bullion prices and shrinking profit margins.
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