Everything was taken into account: labour department on deregistering Amcu

25 April 2019 - 08:53 By Iavan Pijoos
Amcu has thousands of members at mines operated by companies including Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin.
Amcu has thousands of members at mines operated by companies including Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin.

The labour department on Thursday morning said it had taken everything into account when it made its move towards deregistering one of the country's biggest mining unions.

The decision comes weeks before crucial platinum-industry wage talks are expected to begin.

The registrar of labour relations said in a notice published in the Government Gazette this week that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) "has ceased to function in terms of its constitution" and "is not a genuine trade union".

The union is active at mines operated by companies including Sibanye-Stillwater and Lonmin, where it has staged long-running strikes.

Speaking on Radio 702 on Thursday morning, labour registrar Lehlohonolo Molefe said the notice was issued after Amcu failed to operate in terms of the constitution.

Molefe said the union's last national congress was in 2013.

"There is supposed to be a national congress every five years. They should have had a congress in 2018," Molefe told the station.

"They refused to provide us with the information so that we could determine that they are able to hold a congress.

"We take everything into account when we take our decisions."

According to Molefe, the union made a commitment to the registrar that there would be a congress in May this year.

However, Molefe said they had received a letter from the union stating that it was unable to have a congress in May due to the Sibanye-Stillwater gold division strike.

The five-month strike by 14,000 of its members at Sibanye saw the union secure a R4,000 ex-gratia payment for its members, but this deal was the same as that accepted by other unions in November.  .

Molefe said in terms of the constitution, Amcu was supposed to have a regional congress six months before the national congress.

"When we followed up to ask on the progress of the congress, the registrar was told to back off.

"They said we are giving them unusual attention, it has never been seen that a registrar has given this much attention to a union."

Molefe said that Amcu was not an isolated case and that they had given other unions notices and deregistered them in the past.

Amcu could not be reached for comment.