Gold One mine, Amcu close to finalising agreement

The process to recognise the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) as a trade union at Gold One Modder East Operations mine is expected to be finalised in about two weeks.

This is according to Amcu general secretary Jeff Mphahlele, who spoke to Sunday World on Wednesday.

Close to being recognised

Mphahlele said the union is excited that they are close to being recognised as a trade union at the mine.

“We are happy that there are members who want to join a union of their choice. This will bring about calm and peace to the mine. We will now be able to come in and represent our members.

“There is nothing holding us back now. We have submitted what needs to be submitted to the mine. We have jumped every hurdle they put before us. The process should be completed in two weeks or so,” said Mphahlele.

Gold One mine head of legal, Ziyaad Hassam, told Sunday World on Wednesday that the mine and Amcu are currently engaging on the content of the recognition agreement before the process to recognise Amcu is finalised.

Process moving smoothly

“There are no new developments since last week. Processes are moving smoothly. The process to recognise Amcu as a union at the mine is progressing. There are several steps along the way before the process is finalised. Discussions are being held on the content of the recognition agreement,” said Hassam.

Last week, Hassam said Gold One is on the brink of concluding a trade union recognition agreement with Amcu. This following a verification process to determine employees who want to join the union.

Hassam said 494 employees from the mine have opted to join Amcu.

He said their resignations from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will be effective from March 1.

Verification processes

He said an additional 173 membership forms from employees who expressed interest in joining Amcu were still under verification.

The Springs-based mine in Ekurhuleni has a total of 1,700 employees.

Last month, Gold One commenced with the Amcu verification process. The desktop verification process was done on January 19, 2024.  Physical verification was also done last month. It was facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) in the presence of Amcu and NUM. 

Bargaining rights

Hassam said once both unions are recognised as trade unions at Gold One, both will have bargaining rights in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

Meanwhile, Hassam said 551 mineworkers have been dismissed by Gold One. This was for their involvement in the hostage situations that took place in October and December.

Hassam said of the 551 dismissals, 335 have either been appealed and/or have been referred to the CCMA.

He said all suspended employees have had their disciplinary cases finalised.

Appealing dismissals

NUM deputy general-secretary Mpho Phakedi said the union is appealing most of the dismissals by the mine.

Phakedi said it was a “blow” to the union that so many employees were dismissed.

“All our members who are represented through the appeals will be represented to the best of our ability,” said Phakedi.

Speaking on the dismissals, Mphahlele said it is “regrettable” that so many employees lost their jobs.

“A lot of jobs were shed because of the dismissals. It is unfortunate. We are unable to represent them [dismissed workers] at a mine level because we are not yet recognised. We can only represent them and challenge their dismissals at the CCMA or in court,” said Mphahlele.

First hostage incident

In October last year, hundreds of employees refused to come to work for nearly three days. The sit-in was a protest the company’s failure to recognise Amcu. Mineworkers held about 540 other miners hostage. They were held hostage from October 22 until October 25. 

Gold One said at the time that the miners affiliated with NUM who were keen to join Amcu were responsible for the hostage incident. However, Amcu dismissed the allegations, saying the workers had voluntarily decided to stage a sit-in.

In December, there was another hostage situation when 447 mineworkers went underground to work. The hostage situation was from December 7 to December 11.

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