Statement on the developments in the Mining Industry
5 October 2012
The African National Congress (ANC) held a meeting with the Chamber of Mines on Thursday, 4 October 2012. A meeting between the ANC Officials and the SACP, the National Office Bearers of COSATU and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday, 2 October preceded this meeting. The purpose of both these meetings was to discuss the importance of mining and the minerals sector to the South African economy and also to discuss the current developments in the mining industry.
All parties agreed that unprotected and unlawful strikes affect the country, the economy and workers negatively and agreed that the industry, labour and the ANC would work together to find lasting and sustainable solutions to the problems besetting the industry.
There was widespread acknowledgement by the industry that much more must be done to improve the socio-economic conditions of mine-workers and the surrounding communities. These measures will include improving the accommodation facilities of workers and working with local government to develop the communities in which mines operate
The ANC expressed a view that workers should be represented by any union of their choice, but that employers should not have a say or preference in which unions they allow on their premises. Unions must be allowed to recruit and operate within the existing rules and legislative environment. Weakening existing and organized unions will have long-term implications for the economy.
All parties agreed that intimidation and violence has no place within our society and our labour relations. The parties were unanimous in condemning violence and intimidation at the work place and society as a whole. There was also an acknowledgement that various factors can contribute to creating fertile conditions for violence and intimidation and that all parties will contribute to eliminating the potential for its recurrence. In this regard, the parties re-affirmed their commitment to the system of collective bargaining and adherence to collective agreements. The parties highlighted the dangers of deviating from the collective bargaining system and collective agreements in creating uncertainty and the potential for further `wildcat` strikes in the industry and economy.
There was acknowledgement that the police have a role to play in maintaining law and order in society broadly, but that labour relations must never be conducted in an overly-policed environment. The police must only get involved when illegal actions are being perpetrated in the name of wage or employment negotiations. The South African Police Service (SAPS) must be supported and encouraged to continue to play a positive role in society.
African National Congress