Possible strike looming at Lonmin mine

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“We are a reluctant striker as we kept the mine going every time there was an unprotected strike,” Gideon du Plessis, Deputy Secretary of Solidarity, told CNBC Africa.

The agreement was signed between Lonmin [DATA LON:LONMIN PLC.] and the Association of Mineworkers and the Construction Union (AMCU), which has resulted in the de-recognition of Solidarity.

 Solidarity haa however identified an unusual clause within the agreement, which gives the trade union every right to hold a strike.

“The provision  indicates that if one of the other unions get derecognised and decides to go on strike and has a negative effect on mining operations, the company has the right to restore the recognition of that union,” said du Plessis

“It is the most bizarre situation we find ourselves in but we are left with no choice but to use that option to go and cause damage to the business. We don’t want to but then at least we can then get our recognition back.”

Du Plessis believes that the possible strike could potentially cause serious damage to Lonmin as they have joined forces with other trade unions such as the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the United Association of South Africa (UASA).

He added that Solidarity had met with the other unions earlier today in order to submit joint dispute documentation to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

“The CCMA now has 30 days to convene the meeting. If we don’t reach an agreement at the CCMA within a month then we can go on strike,” explained du Plessis.

He pointed out that Solidarity represent s the skilled labour workforce, which means that those workers in key positions could potentially bring mining production to a standstill.

Du Plessis projected that Lonmin could possibly lose 60 million rand a day due to production loss and AMCU members would forfeit approximately 80 million rand in monthly bonuses if the strike went ahead.

“We hope we can avoid this through a settlement with Lonmin. With the other unions acting jointly, obviously our strike will be very effective,” he said.

“Hopefully sanity will prevail and we can prevent such a destructive process.”