Court Blocks Minority Unions’ Bid to Halt Amplats Wage Deal

  • UASA, NUM want pay pact halted because they didn’t approve
  • UASA considering whether to appeal Labor Court’s ruling

A South African labor court dismissed an application brought by two minority unions at Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the world’s largest producer of the metal, to block a wage agreement by the majority labor group.

“Dismissed without cost,” Franz Stehring, UASA’s head of mining, said in a text message. The group, along with the National Union of Mineworkers, attempted to halt the implementation of the deal on the grounds that the majority Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union didn’t seek their final approval. UASA is “looking in to the ruling if we can take it on appeal," Stehring said.

The AMCU reached a three-year deal with Amplats, with pay increasing by 7 percent or 1,000 rand ($74) monthly, whichever is greater, for workers in higher wage bands, the company said Oct. 28. The union led South Africa’s longest strike in 2014 at the local operations of the world’s top three platinum producers.

Labor Court Judge Rob la Grange on Monday heard the minority unions argue that the wage deal was unlawful because there wasn’t a conclusion of the central bargaining forum, which includes all the groups, after the AMCU moved to bilateral negotiations with the company. Amplats argued that an agreement reached with the majority union is extended to all.

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