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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

COSATU Media Monitor COSATU Media Monitor COSATU Media Monitor


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Media Centre  |  Memorandum

Memorandum to Mine Employers; Department of Mineral Resources; Department Labour and the South African Police service

10 April 2014

The Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates together with the community are gathered here as progressive structures representing the interest of the poor working people (employed and unemployed) who are exploited every minute of their life and killed in front of the Impala management.

We are presenting this memorandum to Impala, Provincial Government; Department of Labour, the Department of Mineral Resources and the South African Police Service not because we want to be here but because we are forced to be here by the conduct of the management of Impala which continues to violate our rights as workers and job seekers including allowing criminals to destroy our poor workers including their families.

The last time we were here the employers and the representatives from government made a commitment that they are going to make sure that the working conditions and the right of freedom of association is realised by all the unions which are organising in the platinum belt and the workers’ rights are going to be respected.

To this date we have not seen any application to this commitment from all the employers and the parties who have made it.

As COSATU we have observed with disappointment the continuation of the exploitation and abuse of power by the employers particularly Impala to undermine the constitution; the labour laws and the collective agreements to which the government has done nothing to stop.

We want to reiterate what we stated in the past in that the constitution of this country states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of association”. And this right has been clearly explained in the labour relation act which states that: Employees` right to freedom of association

(1) Every employee has the right to-
(a) Participate in forming a trade union or federation of trade unions; and
(b) Join a trade union, subject to its constitution.

(2) Every member of a trade union has the right, subject to the constitution of that trade union-

(a) To participate in its lawful activities;
(b) To participate in the election of any of its office-bearers, officials or trade union representatives; ¸ to stand for election and be eligible for appointment as an office bearer or official and, if elected or appointed, to hold office; and
(d) to stand for election and be eligible for appointment as a trade union representative and, if elected or appointed, to carry out the functions of a trade union representative in terms of this Act or any collective agreement.

(3) Every member of a trade union that is a member of a federation of trade unions has the right, subject to the constitution of that federation to-
(a) Participate in its lawful activities;
(b) Participate in the election of any of its office-bearers or officials; and
stand for election and be eligible for appointment as an office-bearer or
official and, if elected or appointed, to hold office.

Several attempts were made in that several meetings were held with the managements of the companies and all these have failed to come to an amicable resolution of the problems the workers are experiencing at this mine in particular the security matter and the continuation of workers being killed and assaulted right at doors of the company.

The workers in the platinum belt continues to be employed by labour brokers which is a form of modern slavery and its sole purpose is to deteriorate the working conditions of workers including the reduction of benefits as part of the salary which is taken by the labour broker.

The living and the working conditions of the workers in the platinum belt are horrendous and workers are forced to erect informal settlements illegally on the land of the Bafokeng tribe and surrounding area due to the fact that the employers has failed to provide them with decent accommodation including improved road infrastructure within local communities.

We want to put it again on record today that there is union bashing at Impala and most employers in the platinum belt as the companies unilaterally derecognised NUM without following proper procedure, recognised a union that has fewer members than NUM and which has constantly refused to participate in a verification process conducted by an independent entity including refused to observe the signed peace accord by both parties.

It is our strongest believe that should workers be allowed to express their independent minds on which union they support following an independent verification process, the unions which are recognised by employers would fail to factually demonstrate the threshold which both the unions and the company claims this new union has.

The management in the mines continues to assist the other union to organise in the company and this for us it is union bashing.

Though Impala alleges that they have employed some of the 2500 workers who were dismissed we want details of who was dismissed and who was reinstated, and demand that all those who were dismissed and are still remaining outside must be reinstated.

Since the beginning of the strike on the 23rd January 2014 many workers who were not on strike and wanted to go to work have been attacked by the strikers. The companies in the platinum belt have taken a decision to put some workers on special leave which have implications on their future leaves. We have noted that there are no security plans to protect the workers who want to go to work by the companies.
We have lost workers during the strike including their properties are damaged and this makes us to call for peace and stability in the platinum belt.

Impala continues to promote lawlessness and fails to protect the workers who have joined or associated to the National Union of Mine workers. Having given the background above we want to put the following demands; some of which are being repeated as they were put forward on the 9th February 2013 and again to the department of labour on the 23rd March 2013.

We demand the following:

1. The end of union bashing in all the mines in the platinum belt and the immediate reopening of the NUM offices with all the elected shop stewards to be back at work.
2. The protection of the workers who want to go back work during the current strike.
3. We call Impala management to produce a security plan and security assessment in protecting all workers during working hours and after.
4. We are calling Impala to produce the security plan to protect all women who work under ground.
5. Impala including other mining house must attend the MCCF with high senior management in particular the CEO’s

6. Impala reinstate the remaining of the 2500 dismissed workers in 2012.

7. Fair labour practice.

8. End of lawlessness in all the mines.

9. DMR to investigate Implats with a view of reviewing the license.

10. DMR to investigate the status of the implementation of the MPRDA in all the mines and if it is found that they have defaulted the mining license must be taken away from them.

11. The protection and the end of intimidation of all the workers.

12. The investigation of the killing of all the workers in the mining
industry and the prosecution of all those who are implicated.

Impala management must take responsibility of paying all the cost of the damaged properties of its workers including paying school cost of all their children of those mine workers who are killed during the 2012 and 2014 strike.

13. labour broker must be banned and all the employers must
employ all the employees under the labour brokers in their staff

14. A living wage which will assist to take workers out of poverty.

15. All the mines must build proper houses for all their mine workers employed by them.

16. Impala must take responsibility of all the cost of rebuild the
schools, shops, cars and the rest of the properties that were damaged.
17. Impala management must help the investigators with all the list of criminals that have killed our members.
18. we call our government to intervene with all what they have to protect our poor workers with their families including making sure that all stake holders respect the peace accord and the structures that are put in place dealing with crime in the mines.

We demand a full detailed response within seven days, failing which we are calling a boycott against Impala both inside SA and outside.