The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has led a five-month strike at the Sibanye-Stillwater's goldmines. While the union has finally settled, damage has been done not only to the mines, but to the workers themselves, and leadership now has to answer for it.
AMCU led a 5-month strike at the Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines, leading employees into action that would later claim 9 lives.
Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the union, refuses to take responsibility for the damage done, according to -, blaming everyone but the union and it's members for the fallout.
Reports of violence and intimidation against those opting to go to work at the affected mines are well documented. When one considers the settlement that AMCU has agreed to, one cannot help but lament the futility and wastefulness of the situation.
The union had been striking for R1 000 extra every month for it's workers. Three other unions reportedly agreed to a R700 increase for the first two years, with R825 promised in the third year.
This is what AMCU has eventually settled on, after lives were wasted, homes destroyed and R1.6 billion in costs incurred for the mines.
14 000 have sat without their wages for the months that the strike has continued, unable to feed families or pay debts with the lessons learnt from the strike. BusinessLive reported that the strike has damaged membership, the mines and the union's credibility.
With the union well aware that the goldmines were in deep financial trouble, already engaging in talks of restructuring, it is beyond comprehension why they would allow a strike to drag on for so long, doing even more damage.
Mathunjwa reportedly distanced himself from the situation, adamant that he had been acting on the mandate of the protesters. Nevertheless, his role as a head of the union has been called up for debate.
One can only hope that the membership of the union has learnt something from the months of forfeited wages, financial hardship and protesting, all for the sake of a R4 000 ex gratia payment and a ride back to the mines.
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