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“A new era for labour relations” In 2012 the highly unionised South African mining sector experienced wildcat strikes at a number of mines within the sector. These wildcat strikes were not authorised by the labour union to which the workers belonged to at the time.

According to media articles, strikers were not only directing their anger towards the management of the respective mines, but were also demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the South African Government as well as the National Union of Mineworkers(NUM).

NUM is the union which represents as many as 300 000 mineworkers within the South African mining industry and is said to be politically linked to the governing African National Congress. South Africa is described as the world’s fifth largest producer of gold and the world’s number one platinum producer. The widespread mining unrest in 2012, which was characterised by high levels of violence and the killing of 34 miners at a mine in Marikana, has resulted in high levels of distrust between employees, management, as well as unions. During the wildcat strikes, the previously strong position of NUM came under attack. At Impala Mine, the media reported a decrease in NUM’s representation from 70 percent to as low as 13 percent in a seven month period. NUM has denied the decrease in their membership, which was suggested in the media. The South Africa Survey, a respected research publication, identified four keyreasons that can be associated with strike action in South Africa:

• Workers usually demand increased wages.

• The possibility of retrenchment in mines due to an unfavourable business environment and soaring operational costs contributes to the decision to strike.

• Internal grievance procedures that are in place in the respective mines are also an area leading to dissatisfaction.

• The fear of being subjected to either disciplinary action or being dismissed is also indicated as an area of concern to workers.

At the time when the mining industry was dealing with the consequences of the violent strikes, and the introduction of new players in the trade union arena, the chief executive of Harmony Gold said “ it’s a new era for labour relations”. The relationship that existed for the previous 25 years between the workers, the labour unions, and Government, is said to have changed significantly after the latest strike action in 2012


1.1 The South African Constitution clearly states clear guidelines in terms of employment relations in the country. Name the five (5) provisions stipulated in terms of Section 23 of the Constitution.

1.2 Provide a list of five (5) external recruitment methods human resource managers within the mining sector can use when hiring more workers for the mine.

1.3 The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (No. 75 of 1997) stipulates five (5) administrative obligations each employer needs to meet.
Name the five obligations that mining houses need to meet with regard to the above-mentioned Act.

problem 2

The field of Human Resources Management (HRM) is said to consist of three basic functions. Define and briefly discuss the three (3)functions that are referred to and indicate what tasks form part of each function in business. In conclusion, also indicate how each of these basic functions could have influenced the mining strikes referred to in terms of the scenario introduced earlier.

problem 3

You were recently appointed as human resources consultant by one of the mines where workers were striking towards the end of 2012. Upon taking a closer look at the situation, and knowing that the main reason for strike action is a demand for higher wages, you decide to conduct a job analysis within that specific mine. Before being allowed to conduct the job analysis, you are, however, required to prepare a convincing motivation to management and the trade unions to indicate the terms of reference for conducting a job analysis.

3.1 Provide a clear breakdown of what job analyses are used for , i.e. what are the major uses of job analyses?
Illustrate how particular aspects of the wage demand could be influenced or clarified through the use of information obtained as a result of the job analysis.

3.2 Name and discuss the steps that will be followed when conducting the job analysis in the mine you are consulting at. The motivation needs to provide information on what each of the steps will cover. Finally, highlight which of the indicated steps you regard as the most important and provide a reason for this.

HR Management, Management Studies

  • Category:- HR Management
  • Reference No.:- M93107

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