ANGLO American Platinum (Amplats) stands a chance of succeeding in its unusual step to sue a labour union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), for damages to property and loss of income because of intimidation of non-striking workers, a labour lawyer says.
Amplats is demanding nearly R600-million in strike damages from the union, arguing that Amcu disregarded a Labour Court order to make marshalls available to monitor their striking members, and has not distanced the union from violence and intimidation, and damage to property.
Members of Amcu are on a protected strike and are demanding that the lowest paid workers be paid a monthly basic salary of R12000. They have rejected a three-year salary package.
Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said the decision to sue Amcu was largely in response to acts of violence and intimidation of non-striking workers. “We would like to see an end to incidents of intimidation and vandalism. We want that to stop and for production to resume,” she said.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the union leadership “have not seen the court papers as yet”.
An Amplats source said there was enough evidence linking Amcu to vandalism and intimidation, “that has been captured on video and will be presented to court as evidence”.
Lawyer Sandile July, who specialises in labour matters, said: “The company is within its rights to sue for damage to its property and it can succeed in its claim.”
In 2012, the Constitutional Court ruled the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union was responsible for damage caused during a riotous 2006 march in Cape Town. The union was ordered to take disciplinary action against those responsible for the damage.