The leaders of the mine labour unions signed a new recognition dispensation that promotes industrial democracy and inclusivity, but the rank-and-file appear to have different ideas, as emerged when mineworkers at Lonmin’s Saffy and Newman shafts refused to go underground last week and demanded that Lonmin close the National Union of Mineworkers offices at these shafts. The dispensation agreed to but seemingly honoured in the breach at some shafts gives an appropriate voice to the majority union in a system that promotes inclusive representation. It would be great if unions all acted with the inclusivity recognised in last month’s labour peace accord, which has been widely publicized in advertisements in a large number of mass-medium newspapers. Participants need to uphold their agreement, which, in this case, involves supporting the peaceful transition to a democratic and inclusive recognition dispensation for which they have signed.
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