The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Tuesday said more than 7 000 of its members were set to embark on a massive march at Northam Platinum in Limpopo on Wednesday against “witchhunting, victimisation, suspension” of its members.
Two months ago, Northam Platinum mine was plagued by union rivalry between the NUM and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), with clashes between the two unions claiming the lives of two workers at the Zondereinde operations.
In a litany of accusations, the NUM claimed Northam Platinum chief executive Paul Dunne disregarded the Recognition Agreement and further alleged he had a history of dividing workers and unions.
The union said Northam Platinum had instead contravened the Labour Relations Act by establishing a cosy relationship with Amcu, which it gave access to the workplace when it did not meet the threshold.
The NUM is the majority union representing 80% of the workforce, while Amcu has only 6.7% representation at Northam Platinum. In a statement, NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu said the union did not support the presence of Dunne at Northam Platinum.
“Paul Dunne has a history of dividing workers and unions. He mastered this art at Impala Platinum and under his leadership the company triggered a tumultuous tide of turmoil in the platinum sector,” Mammburu said.
“The NUM is going to fight and expose this divisive and evil character, who thrives on dividing black mineworkers. He is the real enemy of the workers.”
The NUM said Dunne had also refused to conduct membership verification through an independent verifier at Impala Platinum Mine, where he was executive director until 2014, saying his behaviour had plunged the mining sector into another chaos.
It said NUM members were being suspended and charged without Northam Platinum providing sufficient reason and undermining existing collective agreement, something it saw as a witchhunt.
Among other things, the NUM demanded Dunne’s immediate removal, as well as that of the employee relations specialist.
Dunne was not immediately available for comment.
Northam Platinum spokesperson, Marion Brower, said he would comment as soon as he had gathered all the facts around the matter.
– African News Agency (ANA)