Employment and Labour Minister & CCMA meeting with NUM and Impala Management on strike

Today, 09th January 2024, the Minister of Employment and Labour, TW Nxesi and the Mr. Xolani Nduna, Acting Director of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) met with National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). NUM was led by its President Daniel Balepile, World Federation of Trade Unions (WAFTU) led by its President Mzwandile Makwayiba and Impala management led by Mr Patrick Morutlwa, Group COO (IMPLATS) to receive a briefing regarding the strike from stakeholders. The meetings were also attended by a representative from the inspectorate of mines from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE).

The Minister and CCMA were listening to the parties on the issues at Impala. Having heard the parties, with issues ranging from workers expected to go back to work or face the closure of the mine, dismissed workers, revoking / uplifting of suspensions, reinstatement of workers as opposed to re-employment, a list of demands of workers, Employee Share Ownership Scheme (ESOPS), Provident Funds, sporadic incidents of intimidation, road blockages, Gold One issues, 401, vacuum of leadership created at shop floor level, etc.; the Minister, after all due processes are followed, will consider possible interventions towards the resolution of the impasse and workers going back to work.

The meetings noted similarity of analysis issues, between the employer and employees. The Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) would like to facilitate and engage constructively with all parties involved in the strikes that are mushrooming in the mines and explore solutions. The Minister expressed concern on the dangerous trend of holding worker’s hostage underground through sit-ins which can lead to fatalities. The Minister calls on leadership to prevail from all parties to engage workers and provide a resolve, based on facts and not allow opportunism with increased misinformation, with a potential to mislead employees and cause violence. All parties should follow prescribed processes provided by law, to find each other in disputes that arise at factory floor.

The Minister encourages talks with workers, beyond just the unions to raise their conscious on issues ranging from health and safety, rights, avoidance of mass retrenchments, capacity building for workers, training of shop stewards, role of the union, Ditsela, role of Mining and Mineral Sector SETA (MQA SETA), long-lasting solutions, protecting jobs, safe return of workers to work, and stabilising the mining sector. 

The labour legislation in South Africa creates an enabling environment for the protection of workers’ rights and a constructive relationship between employers and employees, and internal democracy. The CCMA, in line with its mandate to promote peace and stability in the labour market, will partner with government, labour and business to restore sound labour relations in the mining industry.

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