Lonmin Plc (LMI), the world’s third-biggest platinum producer, said it signed a pact with the biggest union at its operations that formally recognizes the labor organization as the largest worker representative.
The agreement “acknowledges the rights and obligations which accompany that status in South African labor law,” the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. “There is much still to do, but this is a huge step towards stability and the prosperity of all our stakeholders.”
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union unseated the National Union of Mineworkers as the dominant union at the three biggest platinum producers in South Africa, which has the largest known reserves of the metal. Lonmin has been in talks with the AMCU since early this year about the terms as workers have held walkouts and threatened to strike.
“We have different mandates, but we acknowledge that without co-operation we are all losers and that, as leaders, we must find a way to ensure we can move forward together in peace and stability,” AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa said in the statement.
The AMCU speaks for more than 70 percent of the lower-skilled workers at the company and wanted to lead negotiations for higher-skilled employees, where it has fewer followers. It referred the issue of recognition to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration after talks with Lonmin broke down.
The next hearing at the CCMA was scheduled for Aug. 19, Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey said last month.
The NUM’s majority status at Lonmin expired on July 16, and the labor group lost its office at the Marikana operations.
Members of both the NUM and the AMCU have been killed since May, adding to mine violence that led to at least 44 deaths last year, including 34 protesters killed by police on Aug. 16.
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