Jean-Jacques Cornish

Militant unions bids to spread miners strike

The militant labour union dominating South Africa’s platinum sector is seeking to extend to the gold mines the marathon strike threatening to drive the country into recession.

The Union’s determined to reduce the pay of executives it says create a disproportionate wage age perpetuating the inequities of the apartheid system overthrown two decades ago.

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The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union known as AMCU’s in South Africa’s Labour Court contesting a bid by the Chamber of Mines to prevent the platinum miners’strike now in its fifth month spreading to the gold sector.

Earlier this week that court rejected an AMCU bid to prevent employers contacting the workers directly through text messages.

Counsel for the union argued that it was the miners unions that dismantled apartheid

And any bid to prevent their seeking a wage of 900 euros a month – twice their current remunetration – undermines this historic progress.

The Chamber of Mines argues that AMCU, a relatively newcomer to the scene, is not a party to the collective agreement is has with unions in the gold sector.

The Platinum miners strike has cost workers 700 million euros in lost wages and bled two billion euros off the mine owners’ earnings.

It’s created the biggest slump in mining output in nearly 40 years and threatens to drive the South African economy into recession.


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.