Possible new mining union on the platinum belt

Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) and the National Union of Mineworkers on Thursday said a new mining labour union in the platinum belt in Rustenburg is being formed.

"We know about a new union but we have not been approached officially," Implats said on Thursday, while releasing its interim results for the second half of last year.

The company said 62% of its workers belonged to the Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu), and less than 10% belonged to the NUM and the United Association of South Africa (Uasa).

In a statement, the NUM said it had been inundated with enquiries from workers.

"These workers have been approached by a number of people in the past few weeks with the aim to form a new union," the NUM president Senzeni Zokwana said.

"There are allegations which fuel the perceptions that the NUM is taking part in the formation of this new union or the new union is formed with the blessing of the alliance partners, especially the ANC."

Zokwana said the NUM knew nothing about the formation of the union.

"The NUM will not be part of a formation that will further fragment the unity and power of the working class," he said.

"We do not believe that any alliance partner is part of the new union."

The platinum sector has been severely battered since mineworkers affiliated to Amcu began striking in January.

The union's members at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Implats are demanding a R12 500 basic salary.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration has been brokering talks between the union and the companies since January 24, which will continue on Friday. – Sapa

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