The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Tuesday welcomed the Constitutional Court judgment on the collective wage agreement signed between the Chamber of Mines and the majority trade unions in the gold mining sector in 2013.
The Tuesday ruling related to the decision by the Labour Appeals Court in 2014 to uphold the interim order issued by the Labour Court on an urgent basis in January that year preventing the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) from embarking on protected strike.
The Labour Court had dismissed Amcu’s application for a strike action in a dispute over wages and other conditions of service on the basis that it was bound by the collective agreement reached for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2015.
The legal question was whether the collective wage agreement concluded between the Chamber, on behalf of gold producers AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony and Sibanye, could be extended to bind members of Amcu even though Amcu had majority representation at certain individuals mines.
The collective agreement was extended in terms of section 23 of the Labour Relations Act.
The Act stipulates that a collective agreement binds even employees who are not members of the union’s party to the agreement provided those unions have as their members the majority of employees employed by the employer in the workplace.
NUM general secretary, David Sipunzi, said the ConCourt judgment strengthened Section 23 of the Labour Relations Act which says the employer can enter into a collective wage agreement with the majority unions, and that must be extended to the minority unions.
“This Constitutional Court judgment vindicate the NUM after Sibanye Gold and Amcu signed a R25 wage increase in 2016 after Amcu again refused to sign the 2015 gold sector wage agreement,” Sipunzi said.
“The NUM refused to sign the R25 wage increase because it was an insult to the mineworkers in this country. It is a victory for the Centralised Collective Bargaining Forum at the Chamber of Mines.”
Amcu was yet to respond to the court judgment and spokesperson Manzini Zungu could not be reached for comment.
– African News Agency