Why Amcu baulks

Posted on July 14, 2013


Comments continue to be made about the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) being pig-headed in refusing to sign the “peace deal” brokered by deputy president Kgalema Motlathe. However, the major reason is that the Amcu negotiators are bound by mandates from a quite volatile rank and file that have recently flooded into the union on the promise of democratic, “bottom-up” governance.

One demand was that derogatory statements about Amcu by higher education minister Blade Nzimande, who doubles as general secretary of the Communist Party (SACP), should be condemned.  But the only excuse offered was that Nzimande was not speaking as a member of the ANC or as a government minister, but in his SACP capacity.

Amcu officials maintain that this is “splitting hairs” and that government cannot act as an honest broker while its ministers continue to attack their union.  The delegation maintained that it was contradictory for the government to try to establish peace in the mining sector on the one hand, while some senior figures continue to “promote violence”.

Another sticking point is the demand, as part of the deal, that an “independent verification process” be established to ascertain the levels of union membership.  This, as Amcu sees it, is an attempt to delay recognition of Amcu as a majority union on various mines.

Posted in: Commentary