ESG

Historic move as 5 unions join mine modernisation journey in SA

In what’s been dubbed an historic development, five trade unions have joined a new forum addressing mine modernisation at South Africa’s Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP).

Staff reporter
 MCSA president Nolitha Fakude and CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini at the signing ceremony

MCSA president Nolitha Fakude and CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini at the signing ceremony

The MMP is a public-private partnership, set up in 2018 by the Department of Science and Innovation and the Minerals Council of South Africa, to ensure the mining industry's sustainability.

The five unions - Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, National Union of Mineworkers, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, Solidarity and UASA - yesterday joined in signing terms of reference to establish MMP's new Organised Labour Consultative Forum.

"This is historic in that it is the first time that organised labour, as a critical stakeholder in the modernisation journey, will actively participate in research, development and innovation (RDI) initiatives in SA," Minerals Council executive of modernisation and safety Sietse van der Woude said.

"The signing ceremony marks the commitment between all stakeholders to working towards a more sustainable mining industry that contributes positively to a better world for individuals and society at large."

The move is also the latest sign of recent collaboration between the country's rival unions.

All five agreed to a pay deal with Harmony Gold Mining in September, while four - the NUM, UASA, Solidarity and AMCU - united in an unprecedented move earlier this month to call on Sibanye-Stillwater to meet their wage demands.

South Africa's mining industry employs about 450,000 people.

"It is critical to have unions meaningfully involved in the modernisation journey and it is vital that unions recognise that modernisation of mining is an imperative to extend the lives of mines, save current jobs in mining and create new opportunities in South Africa," minerals council president Nolitha Fakude said.

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