NUM loses to rival unions
SOUTH Africa's dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is losing members to rival labour groups tapping into a swelling vein of discontent with the African National Congress.
NUM counts roughly 300000 members but has in recent months lost about 5% to other unions that have launched recruiting drives.
Lonmin, the world's third largest platinum producer, has given recognition to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at its Karee mine.
AMCU claims more than 3000 members.
Officials at Impala Platinum, the number two producer of the precious metal, said it looked as though AMCU had poached about 10000 former NUM members or roughly half the unionised workforce at its Rustenburg operation, the world's largest platinum mine.
This still needs to be verified by independent audit.
AMCU said it had started recruiting at Amplats, the world's top producer, which is part of Anglo American's global stable.
It does not claim any members there or have any company recognition yet.
Gold One, the junior gold producer with operations east of Johannesburg, has been the scene of recent violence involving former members of NUM who joined the Professional Transport and Allied Workers Union (PTAWU).
Several hundred workers who joined PTAWU and took part in a wildcat strike were dismissed and the company, backed by a court decision, has not given recognition to PTAWU.
The PTAWU's leadership has also said it was recruiting at the Evander mine in Mpumalanga.
AMCU had attempted this year to recruit at the KDC mines of Gold Fields, the world's fourth largest bullion producer.
Gold Fields responded with a written letter warning AMCU that its actions were illegal and it was trespassing on company's premises.