AMCU delays wider mining strike until judgment

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has said it will delay a wider strike across the industry until a court decides whether the action can be blocked.

AMCU issued a notice to at least 15 companies last week about the action that was scheduled to start with the night shift on Thursday. Producers including Anglo American Platinum asked a court to block the planned week-long sympathy strike, which the companies say would further hurt the struggling industry.

The strike “cannot start until there is a judgment,” said AMCU spokesman Manzini Zungu. A South African labour court reserved judgment late on Wednesday over the interdict.

AMCU downed tools at Sibanye Gold’s gold mines in November after failing to reach a new wage agreement with the company, while other unions signed a deal.

South Africa’s precious-metals mines are among the world’s deepest and most labour-intensive and companies operating them are under constant pressure to contain costs. AMCU’s plans for an industry-wide strike marks a return to escalated conflict between South African mining companies and workers.