Pretoria - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) did not attend the first quarter meeting of the mining consultative forum in Pretoria on Thursday.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said the union forwarded an apology to the meeting.
“The National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) attended the meeting and Amcu is their affiliate, I hope they also represented Amcu,” she said.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Solidarity and Uasa attended the meeting, held at the same time Amcu staged a protest march to Impala Platinum head office in Sandton.
Shabangu said the wage strike in the platinum sector that began more than two months ago was not discussed at the forum.
“The strike was not discussed mainly because there are processes going at company level and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration,” she said.
“We urge parties to engage to find a solution for workers to go back to work. The strike is not only hitting the workers but also impacts on the economy.”
Amcu members in the platinum mines in Rustenburg, North West, and Northam in Limpopo downed tools on January 23 demanding a minimum salary of R12,500 a month.
Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Lonmin offered to increase salaries by nine percent.
The union rejected the offer and revised its demand to have the minimum wage phased in over four years.
The company rejected the revised demand, stating it amounted to a 30 percent increase year-on-year.
In its first quarter meeting, the forum said progress had been made in bringing peace and stability to the mines.
The forum involves government led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, labour represented by the Congress of SA Trade Unions, Federation of Unions of SA, and Nactu, and business represented by the Chamber of Mines.
Shabangu said Motlanthe would not be lost to the forum after the May 7 election.
“He will still have a role to play. I do not think he will be lost to the forum.”
Motlanthe retires from government after the election.
The forum was convened to assess progress in implementing the framework agreement for a sustainable mining industry.
The framework agreement identifies both short-term and medium to long-term measures required to stabilise the mining sector and place it on a sustainable footing.
The short-term measures identified in the framework agreement include ensuring the rule of law is upheld, peace and stability, and provision of proper and sustainable human settlement infrastructure in the North West platinum belt.
“The meeting noted that since the signing of the framework agreement there has been relative peace and stability in the mines and that both labour and mining companies have been conducting their affairs within the ambit of the law,” she said.
Shabangu said the meeting noted progress in fulfilling some of medium to long-term commitments, including reviewing the migrant labour system, annual assessment of the mining charter, and re-skilling workers to achieve competitiveness. - Sapa