South African court blocks AMCU's plans for industry-wide strike

15th March 2019 By: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – The labour court has rejected a request by platinum and gold sector union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction (AMCU), to hold an industry-wide strike, Anglogold Ashanti, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Lonmin said on Friday.

AMCU has been on strike at Sibanye-Stillwater's gold operations since mid-November in a pay dispute. It wanted to extend the strike to at least 11 other mining firms including Anglo American's gold and platinum operations, Harmony Gold and Lonmin.

"We welcome the decision of the court to grant an interdict against the secondary strike action called by AMCU. We maintain that a secondary strike by AMCU would not be in the best interests of our employees or the industry," Amplats CE Chris Griffith said.

In a statement, Lonmin confirmed the judgement.

The Johannesburg Labour Court was not immediately available for comment, and AMCU spokesperson Manzini Zungu did not respond to requests from Reuters to confirm the ruling.

In February, the labour court ordered AMCU to suspend its plans for an industry-wide sympathy strike following an application by producers.

Sibanye-Stillwater said last month it could cut nearly 6 000 jobs at its gold mining operations in a potential restructuring plan as above-inflation cost increases to labour and electricity gnawed at its margins.

Job cuts are politically sensitive in Africa's most industrialised economy, where the unemployment rate is more than 27%.

Data on Thursday showed gold production contracted for the fifteenth month in a row, shrinking by 22.5% in January, while platinum production was up 8.8% in the same period.