The labour action threatened by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at two of the mines belonging to gold miner, Harmony, had been declared “unprotected” by South Africa’s Labour Court.
An unprotected strike is basically an illegal strike in South Africa’s legal parlance. Thus the labour court’s ruling basically urges miners at Kusasalethu and Masimong mines to go back to their work stations as soon as possible.
On 20 January this year, AMCU was poised to down tools at the mines before Harmony applied for a court interdict.
Harmony said the strike was in respect of a wage agreement that was finalised in September 2013 which benefitted all workers irrespective of the union they belonged to. It also benefitted all workers that were represented at the bargaining units.
Harmony said on September 10 last year, a two-year salary increase contract was reached with other unions like NUM, UASA and Solidarity, which lead 72 percent of the workforce at Harmony.
Gold miners applied for an urgent court interdict which was heard on January 19 this year – a day before AMCU’s planned strike on the 20th.
At the time, the presiding judge called for the strike to be suspended up until today’s ruling.
Graham Briggs, Harmony CEO, said the September 2013 wage settlement was fair, urging AMCU to inspire its workers to respect today’s court ruling.
“Our message…together we can get this industry working. By actively contributing to the success of the company, employees can and will share in its fortunes,” Briggs promised.