New platinum mining union formed

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LonminMine Independent Newspapers. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Johannesburg - The Workers' Association Union (WAU), a new union in the platinum mines in Rustenburg, North West, plans to meet mining companies to end the strike, secretary Elphas Ngoepe said on Monday.

“We are meeting the three giants (Lonmin Platinum, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum) this week Thursday or Friday. We want to present a proposal to rescue the situation,” he said.

“Our members want to go back to work. The meeting will discuss how best to achieve that.”

The union was launched in Rustenburg on Saturday.

Ngoepe said they would not seek to negotiate recognition agreements with mining companies, but to ensure their members returned to work.

“We cannot sit back when our members are condemned to hunger by an indefinite strike,” he said.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have been on strike since January 23, demanding an entry level pay of R12,500.

Amcu dethroned the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the dominant union in the platinum mines last year.

Ngoepe said his union was apolitical, was not competing with any union, and was not affiliated to any federation.

He denied that the union had been formed to defuse Amcu's strike.

“We are a registered union with the scope to operate in mining, construction, energy and retail. We are not in competition, but to serve our members.”

He said the WAU promised to listen to its members and to negotiate their demands with employers to the best of its ability.

“We are not leaders, but servants of the workers.”

WAU is headed by Adam Selaledi, a former NUM deputy head of health and safety at Impala. Ngoepe is the NUM's former regional chairman.

He said the one-year-old union already boasted a membership of 8000.

It would convene a mini-conference to adopt the launch declaration that would guide its operation until an elective conference was convened in three years. - Sapa

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