Striking Amcu miners fall behind on ARV treatment

More than 1 000 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members were defaulting on their antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, according to a letter mining company Lonmin sent to the union.

In a written response dated April 9 to Amcu's petition, chief executive Ben Magwara said the company was helping its workers with housing, healthcare, and HIV and Aids support.

"I would, however, like to bring to your attention that over 1 000 Amcu members who are on strike have failed to report to our clinics to receive ARV treatment. We are concerned that they are risking their health and lives by interrupting their treatment and would like you to encourage them to continue treatment," said Magwara.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) operation in Rustenburg, North West and Northam in Limpopo went on a strike on January 23 demanding a minimum monthly salary of R12 500.

They have rejected the 9% salary increase the companies have tabled. The firms also rejected the unions' revised demand that the R12 500 should be phased in over a period of four years.

'Inflation-beating' proposal
​Magwara said most of the issues raised in the petition were of a socio-political and socio-economic nature, and were not attainable as part of the wage negotiation process.

"We have therefore confined our response to those issues that are within our control."

He said the company presented an affordable wage adjustment proposal, which the union did not accept.

"Our inflation-beating and affordable proposal adjustments ranging from 7.5% to 9% for all our entry-level jobs is higher than most settlements elsewhere in the industry."

"While we appreciate the movement by Amcu at the last CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration] plenary meeting, the revised demand for a R12 500 [increase] over four years remains unaffordable and cannot be met by the company."

Longest strike in SA
​Magwara said mineworkers in the platinum sector were the highest paid in the country relevant to the nature of work.

Amcu could not immediately be reached to comment. 

This is the longest strike in South Africa's history, and may have presented Amplats with an opportunity to finish what it started last year and retrench a further 25 000 employees at its Rustenburg operations – half its workforce.

Amplats and Lonmin sent out force majeure notices at the beginning of April because they could no longer deliver to certain suppliers. These notices are used to exempt parties from their contractual obligations, usually due to causes that could not be anticipated or were beyond their control. – Sapa, additional reporting by Staff Reporter

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Guest Author

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders