The ANC and the Chamber of Mines have met to discuss issues presently facing the mining sector, the party said on Friday (05/10/2012).
"The purpose... [of] these meetings was to discuss the importance of mining and the minerals sector to the South African economy and also to discuss the current developments in the mining industry,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
"All parties agreed that unprotected and unlawful strikes affect the country, the economy, and workers negatively, and agreed that the industry, labour, and the ANC would work together to find lasting and sustainable solutions to the problems besetting the industry.” The meeting was held in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The mining industry acknowledged that more needed to be done to improve the socio-economic conditions of mineworkers and the surrounding communities, said Mthembu.
This would include improving accommodation facilities for workers and working with local government to develop the communities in which the mines operated.
In terms of unions, the African National Congress expressed its view that workers should be able to chose who represented them. Employers should not have a say or preference in which union to allow on their premises.
"Unions must be allowed to recruit and operate within the existing rules and legislative environment,” said Mthembu.
"Weakening existing and organised unions will have long-term implications for the economy.” Discussions started on Thursday between the Chamber of Mines and the unions, and it was agreed that the existing wage agreements would be respected.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders met with CEOs from the gold sector.
The unions would meet with heads from the platinum sector on Friday.
This was after wildcat strikes at platinum, gold, coal, diamond, chrome, and iron ore mines continued across a number of provinces.
The ANC said during its meeting with the chamber it was agreed there was no place for intimidation and violence in labour relations.
"There was also an acknowledgement that various factors can contribute to creating fertile conditions for violence and intimidation, and that all parties will contribute to eliminating the potential for its recurrence,” said Mthembu. Both also re-affirmed their commitment to the processes of collective bargaining and adhering to the agreements.
"The parties highlighted the dangers of deviating from the collective bargaining system and collective agreements in creating uncertainty and the potential for further ’wildcat’ strikes in the industry and economy,” Mthembu said. - Sapa