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AMCU opens ‘strike fund’ for members, calls for donations

JOHANNESBURG – Labour union the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has opened a ‘”strike fund” for its striking members in the platinum belt, appealing for donations from the State, trade unions, interest groups, nongovernment organisations, community groups, faith-based groups and individuals to support AMCU members who have now been without an income for 82 days.

This came as a “no work, no pay” strike by the union at platinum majors Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum entered its twelfth week, with AMCU remaining unmoved from its entry-level wage demand of R12 500 a month.

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told journalists and AMCU shop stewards on Tuesday that the union had donated R1-million to the fund, while AMCU office bearers, officials and staff had put forward a further R50 000.

He also called on government to provide financial support to the striking mineworkers.

“We call upon our democratically elected government, as a custodian of the principle of human dignity, to make donations to restore the dignity that has been compromised by these capitalists, [the mining companies],” he commented.

The union head, meanwhile, confirmed that he and other AMCU heavyweights had recently met with the CEOs of the three platinum companies and were currently awaiting their response to undisclosed demands presented by the union.

Mathunjwa would not elaborate on the nature of these negotiations.

All three mining firms had, in the past, made it clear that the union’s R12 500 wage demand was “unaffordable”.

Mathunjwa also took aim at the media, accusing it of biased reporting of the ongoing strike and of describing AMCU’s demands as “irrational, unachievable and unaffordable”.

He further noted that AMCU’s leadership was being “villified” by the press.

“The media is working with [the capitalists] to perpetuate the notion that the AMCU leadership is enriching ourselves at the expense of striking mineworkers. You, the media, are not independent and are being controlled. You need to create a balance between fact and fiction,” Mathunjwa remarked.

The union, meanwhile, confirmed that it planned to March to the Union Buildings, in Pretoria, once it had received the relevant authorisations, with Mathunjwa noting that AMCU would “flood the streets of the embassies”.

He added that he would also march to Parliament, in Cape Town, should the union’s wage demands not be met.

Source – Miningweekly