No reason to sign accord: Amcu

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IOL pic sep5 lonmin worker

Associated Press

(File image) The Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa.

Rustenburg - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) does not see why it should be part of the Marikana peace pact, union official Jimmy Gama said on Friday.

“(Lonmin) must address the needs of the workers. We are not party to the violence,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

The union was asked why it did not sign a peace accord reached on Thursday after the shootings last month at Lonmin's Marikana

mine in the North West.

The Marikana worker representatives also did not sign the agreement.

The parties who did sign the peace accord in the early hours of Thursday morning were Lonmin, and trade unions the National Union of Mineworkers, Solidarity and Uasa.

The accord was aimed at paving the way for wage negotiations and included a commitment to promoting a peaceful work environment.

On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers near the mine, killing 34 and wounding 78. Another 10 people were killed earlier that week, including two policemen and two security guards.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the union could also not sign the accord as it had not received another mandate from workers, so it could not approach Lonmin with another wage offer.

He said the accord also did not respond to the demand of workers.

“It only refers to unconditional commitment to the process and their outcome thereof.”

As a union it respected the voice of workers, and therefore it could not sign an agreement without their mandate.

He said Amcu wanted Lonmin, the “sweetheart unions”, and all other concerned parties to negotiate in good faith and in the interest of workers.

“When the employer is prepared to make an offer on the table we shall make ourselves available and assist 1/8in 3/8 the process going forward,” Mathunjwa said.

“As far as we are concerned, this peace accord flies in the face of fairness and it goes against the very grain of what it purports.”

He said neither he nor his union ever put a gun to anyone's head, so there was no need to sign a peace accord.

“NUM must make peace.”

He said NUM members were behind the death of two miners in the week before the shooting at Marikana.

Therefore, it made sense for NUM to have signed the accord.

“I don't see any reason... why I should sign a peace accord.”

Asked if he condoned the illegal strike and if he would encourage his members to return to work on Monday, Mathunjwa said:

“I never called a strike. The workers will decide for themselves.” - Sapa


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