Fighting the battle of the mine workers: the emergence of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)
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The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) was formed in post-apartheid South Africa. AMCU organises workers in the mining and construction sector. The importance and relevance of AMCU in democratic South Africa should not be de-emphasised, given the high levels of labour exploitation by mining companies. The mining sector is regarded as a crucial engine for economic growth and social development. AMCU, as the mining and construction labour movement, plays an important role in ensuring that its members are well represented, work in decent working conditions and are not exploited but are protected instead from the capitalist system in which the global economy operates. However, in the post-apartheid era, trade unions have not been forceful enough in advancing the interests of their members; instead they have been accused of being too close to employers and of having been co-opted by the new government. They are faced with the challenges of outsourcing, labour brokers and contracting-out of services by employers. Trust in trade unions has also decreased. This paper examines the emergence of AMCU and its rise in the mining sector.