Johannesburg - The labour department has denied planning to deregister mining union Amcu, as its president Joseph Mathunjwa claimed in an interview.
Labour spokesman Page Boikanyo said on Thursday the registrar of labour relations' office wrote a routine letter to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, enquiring about its compliance with legal requirements.
This was not an indication that the department was planning to deregister the union, Boikanyo said.
“These types of questions are routinely asked of trade unions as part of the department's monitoring of compliance with legal requirements in terms of section 100 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA),” Boikanyo said in a statement.
“The LRA requires every registered trade union to provide the Registrar with audited financial statements and other legal requirements.
“The registrar may also ask for an explanation of anything relating to the auditor's report or the financial statements of such a union,” said Boikanyo.
The department was responding to statements Mathunjwa made in an SABC interview on Wednesday.
He reportedly said: “There are many questions that are posed to us by the department of labour that are very questioning; the very same department is the one that is facilitating the wage negotiations (in the platinum sector).”
He claimed the department was questioning the Amcu leadership's authority, which indicated “an agenda”.
“If they deregister Amcu because they want workers not to have a home, then they will be pushing us to form a political party, that is what we don't want to do.”
Boikanyo said the questions sent to the union were routine.
“Letters of this nature are routinely sent to many trade unions and Amcu is not being singled out by the department.
“Moreover, an investigation by the department does not necessarily lead to cancellation of the registration of a trade union.”
The department had not singled out Amcu and its letter had nothing to do with the department's role in assisting negotiations between Amcu and platinum producers, she said.
The department would invite Amcu to a meeting to clarify any misunderstanding.
Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum embarked on a strike on January 23, demanding a R12,500 basic salary for miners.
The platinum producers proposed a three-year agreement last month.
The proposal was a nine percent increase for A-level workers, 8.5 percent for B-level and 7.5 percent for C-level workers in the first year.
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has been mediating talks between the union and the platinum companies since January 24. - Sapa