NUM disputes schism allegations

[] — Moferefere Lekorotsoane, a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers responds to an article published by Miningmx on the 26th of June entitled ‘Lonmin stunned as NUM schism opens.

Hi David,
I just need to point out a few things on your story recently, regarding Lonmin.

I believe you are reading too much into the issue by suggesting a schism. First of all the rejection of the Lonmin deal is not a [Gwede] Mantashe decision but an National Executive Council (NEC)and Mantashe spoke merely as the spokesperson of that structure – which, I must add, is the highest decision making structure.

Second, [Archie] Palane is a member of the NEC and was present in the NEC that made this decision suggesting that he would he would have made his viewpoints heard.

Third, the NUM is both a unitary and open organisation. As a result, both its members and leaders may at times differ on a proposed course of action. However, the view that is acceptable to the majority in any of its constitutional (decision-making) structure(s) prevails. In this regard, Lonmin is no different.

In terms of the signed document, there is no mention of the deputy-general secretary – Archie Palane – signing the deal, but a mining house coordinator. This seems acceptable to your article despite these facts:

1. that the NEC made a decision on chief negotiators in the various sectors and mining houses, and Victor Tsake is not one of them.

2. that the Lonmin CEO had a meeting with the NUM’s most senior leadership which informed him that his new deal was flawed and unacceptable to the union because it was diminishing the collective bargaining process

3. Palane did not sign. He is senior and had previously been negotiating with platinum, including Lonmin. But the NEC decided that senior managers should also lead negotiations hence the involvement of Jeff Magida, Titi Mthenjane and Frans Baleni in dealing with specific mining houses.

I’m sorry David, but I find it difficult that your article is seemingly questioning the NEC’s decision against the face of all this. It’s hard to also understand why it should be schism.

I am most unclear why you didn’t press Lonmin on why they would choose to sign the deal – hurriedly, I must say – with a coordinator instead of the chief negotiator; and why they conveniently ignored the national position advanced to them in May by the most senior leadership. With your extensive experience in these issues, why would the NUM agree to a CPIX deal and one that covers 5 years – isn’t that strange?

Unfortunately the analyst got it wrong by thinking it’s about closing a gap between workers and management. We all need to accept that the apartheid wage gap, based on race and not any scientific knowledge, must go today and not tomorrow. This deal would continue making black mineworkers separate and unequal to their white counterparts.

Thank you,