National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) secured exclusive union rights for workers at platinum producer Rustenburg Platinum Mine yesterday. The NUM represents 80 percent of the workers of around 7,000 and said workers at the company’s four mines voted overwhelmingly last week in favour of the agreement. Under the NUM’s closed shop agreement, employees who are already members of NUM will not be able to join other unions, while all new staff that wish to join a union will have to join the NUM.
“The parties recognise that sound industrial relations hold benefits for the members of the trade union, the company and all other stakeholders in the business,” the agreement said. NUM General Secretary David Sipunzi said that if the closed shop agreement was successful, the union could push for it at other mining companies where it is the main union. “This agreement doesn’t mean NUM and the company can’t disagree, it just means we have to do so in a mature manner,” he said. “If we don’t sign agreements like this our stability as a country can’t be guaranteed.”