Hundreds gather for AMCU protest

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IOL bus apr3 Amcu march Reuters File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - Hundreds of members of labour union Amcu, wearing green shirts, descended on Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on Thursday for a protest.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union gathered on a veld opposite Willow Brook Close and Athol Oaklands Road.

Some wore shirts with slogans such as: “They died for a living wage R12,500. The struggle continues.”

The union has been on strike in the platinum sector for over two months, demanding a minimum monthly wage of R12,500.

Another read: “Amcu. No amount of oppression will deter our freedom of association.

Small groups formed and people milled around singing one song after the other. Some were waiting in the shade of large trees to be addressed, many sat in the sun under umbrellas.

A few wore yellow shirts with the face of United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa's face and the words “Join UDM” printed on them.

Parked nearby were about 40 buses that had ferried Amcu members to Melrose. Around 11.45am, four more buses full of Amcu members arrived. Police were stationed in a field opposite the gathering.

Traffic was diverted at the southern entrance of Melrose Arch, on Atholl Oaklands Road, for the protest.

Johannesburg metro police said this road would be completely closed to traffic from the M1 to Kernick Avenue from 9am to 2pm.

Amcu marshals, wearing reflective jackets, were directing traffic.

LONMIN MEMORANDUM

Union members were expected to hand over a memorandum at platinum producer Lonmin's offices at 1pm. The union earlier said its protests would expand to Parliament after the Easter holidays if its demands were not met.

On March 27, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the union had given Amplats until April 5 to respond to its demands. This was during a protest at Impala Platinum's head office in Illovo, Johannesburg, to hand a memorandum to the company.

A meeting between platinum producers and Amcu took place at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) on Monday.

On Tuesday, the CCMA said the platinum sector strike would continue following a meeting between employers, Amcu, and the CCMA.

At the time, Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey said progress to settle the dispute and end the strike could only be made if Amcu moved towards the “settlement zone of nine percent”.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum downed tools on January 23. They had so far rejected a wage increase of up to nine percent.

The companies, in turn, rejected Amcu's revised demand that the R12,500 could be achieved over four years.

Last week, mining bosses said the strike had caused irreparable harm, and caused loss of an estimated R10 billion in revenue.

Sapa



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