Amcu finally secures bargaining rights at Gold One mine

Gold One Modder East Operations mine and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) have signed an agreement that recognises Amcu at the mine.

Ziyaad Hassam, the legal department head at Gold One Mine, revealed to Sunday World on Monday that the recognition agreement was signed on March 26.

Hassam said at the time of the signing, Amcu had 608 employees, while the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) boasted 650 members.

Bargaining rights

“At the time of the signing, NUM retained a slight majority between the two unions,” said Hassam, adding that other unions were representing another 438 employees.

“There are a further 438 employees. These are, however, for category C and above employees, where the unions are Solidarity and UASA [United Association of South Africa].

“The NUM and Amcu only have bargaining rights for category A and B employees.”

The mining company, which is based in Springs, east of Johannesburg, employs about 1 700 workers.

Amcu will now have bargaining rights under the Labour Relations Act along with the NUM after signing a recognition agreement with Gold One.

Closed-shop agreement

Hassam said there will be no closed-shop agreement entered into with any of the unions. A closed-shop agreement allows any trade union to be the only union representing workers.

The company effectively terminated its closed-shop agreement with the NUM on December 14, paving the way for Amcu to be recognised as well.

Amcu general secretary, Jeff Mphahlele, said the union is excited about the signing of the recognition agreement. 

“We are happy that finally the matter has been settled. We are now able to represent our members,” said Mphahlele.

“We are happy that the employees managed to exercise their right to join a union of their choice.” 

Underground hostages

In October last year, a group of mineworkers held about 540 other workers hostage underground from October 22 until October 25.

The underground sit-in was a protest against the company’s failure to recognise Amcu.

Gold One said at the time that the miners affiliated with the NUM, who were keen to join Amcu, were responsible for the hostage.

However, Amcu dismissed the allegations, stating that the workers had voluntarily decided to stage a sit-in underground. In December, there was another hostage that lasted for five days.

Hassam claimed that Gold One had fired 551 mineworkers for their involvement in the hostages in October and December.

Of the 551 dismissals, 335 have either been appealed or have been referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

He added that all the suspended employees have had their disciplinary cases finalised.

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