AMCU Joins South African Unions, Producers in Mine Peace Accord

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union signed an accord aimed at maintaining peace and stability in South Africa’s mining industry, four days after the country’s largest union endorsed the plan.

AMCU, as the group is known, joined the accord today, the Department of Mineral Resources said in a statement. The signing took place at the fourth meeting called by Resources Minister Susan Shabangu since clashes between rival labor groups at an Anglo American Platinum Ltd. mine a week ago injured 12.

The National Union of Mineworkers, or NUM, gave its backing on Feb. 21, as did the Solidarity labor group. About 50 workers died in violence related to a series of wildcat strikes last year that shut gold and platinum mines, reducing South Africa’s gross domestic product by 0.5 percentage point, according to the National Treasury, and contributed to a drop in the nation’s credit rating.

“The signing of this framework for peace and stability in the mining industry is a major achievement towards bringing stability and enhancing collaboration by all key stakeholders to address challenges together in the future,” said Mike Teke, vice president of the Chamber of Mines, the negotiating body for major producers.

Nine workers and three security guards were hurt in fighting at Anglo American Platinum’s Siphumele mine, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. Production resumed two days later. The NUM, an ally of the ruling African National Congress, is losing support to rivals, including AMCU.

“The framework is a positive stepping stone towards addressing socio-economic challenges facing the working class, subsequent to identifying the root causes of the mining instability and violence,” Joseph Mathunjwa, president of AMCU, said in the statement.

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