Amcu plan to march to Union Build­ings over lay-off threats

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Di­neo Faku

THE AS­SO­CI­A­TION of Minework­ers and Con­struc­tion Union (Amcu) is con­sid­er­ing a na­tional strike in a bid to op­pose the jobs blood­bath as 20 000 min­ing in­dus­try em­ploy­ees face the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing re­trenched.

Amcu pres­i­dent Joseph Mathun­jwa told jour­nal­ists ahead of the fifth an­niver­sary of the Marikana Mas­sacre that the strike would follow af­ter a planned aware­ness march to the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria.

“Strike ac­tion is a part of labour re­la­tions. If this aware­ness march to the Union Build­ings does not bring sense to these em­ploy­ers, the next step is to con­sider ap­proach­ing the Com­mis­sion for Con­cil­i­a­tion, Me­di­a­tion and Ar­bi­tra­tion to issue a cer­tifi­cate of non res­o­lu­tion that will permit our mem­bers to par­tic­i­pate in a pro­tected strike,” Mathun­jwa said.

Last week Amcu’s archri­val, the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM), led a march to An­gloGold Ashanti’s head­quar­ters in Jo­han­nes­burg to op­pose the job losses.

An­gloGold Ashanti, the world’s fifth big­gest gold pro­ducer, an­nounced plans to cut 8 500 jobs, 7 400 jobs are on the line at Sibanye Gold and Bokoni Plat­inum also planned to cut 2 651 jobs.

The job cuts come as the gazetting of the Min­ing Char­ter III added un­cer­tainty in min­ing, which grap­pled with ris­ing in­put costs, volatile com­mod­ity prices and South Africa’s re­ces­sion.

He said a strike would not plunge em­ploy­ees into fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, par­tic­u­larly in the gold sec­tor, where em­ploy­ers gave em­ploy­ees in­creases linked to in­fla­tion over the past five years.

“They are poorly paid, and they are fac­ing chronic dis­eases like sil­i­co­sis, they are worse off. It is bet­ter to fight be­fore you die. The whole min­ing sec­tor should shut down. We should have a revo­lu­tion in min­ing, whether it is coal, plat­inum or iron ore, to say let us break this struc­ture,” he said.

Mathun­jwa also weighed in on the un­cer­tainty in the min­ing in­dus­try since Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane gazetted the Min­ing Char­ter III.

“There is no direction in min­ing, we do not take what Zwane is say­ing se­ri­ously in a nut­shell,” he said.

Last month, the (NUM) said that Zwane was the worst Min­eral Re­sources Min­ster since 1994, and planned to re­quest that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma fire him.

In the lat­est move, Zwane back­tracked on a de­ci­sion to im­ple­ment the mora­to­rium on is­su­ing min­ing li­cences last week, say­ing that he would use other le­gal in­stru­ments at his dis­posal to achieve a so­cial eco­nomic im­pact.

“He (Zwane) is back­track­ing, be­cause he spoke of some­thing that his rul­ing party was not in agree­ment with. So now the ques­tion will be with whom has he con­sulted?

“We are in a cri­sis in South Africa, some of these depart­ment are dys­func­tional, no one knows what the other hand is do­ing.” He did not be­lieve that the char­ter was en­forcible.

“It is an im­age kind of a doc­u­ment, you can­not en­force the char­ter, it is a code of good prac­tice.

“Dur­ing the eco­nomic boom, it is when the char­ter should have been en­forced. Now the econ­omy is in a down­ward tra­jec­tory, now you want to en­force the char­ter, be­cause you are push­ing a nar­ra­tive of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion with­out con­sid­er­ing the neg­a­tive eco­nomic im­pact,” he said.

Around R51 bil­lion was lost in mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of JSElisted min­ing com­pa­nies when the char­ter was gazetted on June 15. See page 18

PHOTO: DU­MISANI DUBE

Mem­bers of Amcu gather in numbers to com­mem­o­rate the Marikana killings in this file photo. 20 000 min­ing in­dus­try em­ploy­ees face the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing re­trenched.

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