Contractors warn Numsa they cannot long support “unprotected’ strike at Implats mines

Impala Platinum

A STRIKE among members of the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA) at Impala Platinum’s (Implats’) Rustenburg mines has been declared unlawful, according to one of the contracting firms affected by the action.

Reagetswe Mining had successfully applied for an interdict against the strike which was called by NUMSA for employees at three contracting firms at Implats’ facilities. The two other contractors – Triple M Mining and Newrak – were also applying to the court for interdicts against the strike.

“We trust NUMSA will recognise that unprotected strikes could have implications for members’ job security, and that they make the responsible decision of calling off the strike,” the contractors said in their joint statement.

NUMSA called the strike on June 20 saying the contractors were paying its members “very little and denying them benefits while they reap massive profits”. NUMSA also claimed that Reagetswe and Triple M were ignoring a Labour Court ruling ordering them to do verifications which the union said would “confirm NUMSA is the majority union”.

The Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) is the majority union at Reagetswe and Triple M while NUMSA has 16% and 26% representation at the companies respectively, the contractors said in their statement today. NUMSA had failed to improve its representation after being given 14 months to do so, they added.

About R30m had been lost in revenue to the contracting firms which were running on tight margins.

The contractors also rejected claims by NUMSA that its members were paid exploitative wages, saying employees were not paid “anything near” the R5,000/month claimed by the union. Other claims made by NUMSA were also rejected.

“Job security is an important issue and the companies would like to avoid any job losses for all of their employees and the impact it would have on their livelihoods and families,” the contractors said. “The companies are small businesses and can ill afford a loss in production.”

The contractors are retained at Implats’ high cost, limited life shafts in Rustenburg as part of an initiative to end the mine life of the operations. One of the shafts was identified for closure by Impala in 2017 and is being mined by one of the contractor companies keeping some 3,000 jobs in place over the past five years.

Johan Theron, spokesman for Implats, said earlier this month that: “We are deeply concerned and we are working with all affected parties in order to secure a legal sustainable resolutoin as best we can”.