Mine unions failing workers
SOUTH Africa is on its knees economically and completely lost in space and time as far as direction and leadership are concerned. We are an under-educated country, fortunately with some very bright sparks throughout all levels of our society who hold the key to an explosion of enterprise and a deviation on to the high road of social and economic success. Sadly, these leading lights are drowned in a morass of red tape and a bureaucracy hellbent on keeping our country at the top of the world’s non-performers hit parade. We are at risk of losing our bright sparks to countries which appreciate their innovation and drive. Everyone of us knows people who have taken their skills abroad and been received by our competitors with open arms.
We are sadly an underachieving and underperforming country in just about every category you might wish to choose: education, literacy, numeracy, production, employment, growth in GDP and personal well-being, service delivery from government at all levels, corruption, days lost to strikes and the general growth of the country at all levels. Our failures can squarely be placed at the front door of our successive ANC governments, again at all levels.
There are rotting cesspools of incompetence, corruption and malfeasance. Considerable blame must also be put at the doorstep of the plethora of trade unions which, as they shrink in size, become more demanding and violent in their bid to keep the coterie of trade union leaders on the front pages in some attempt to keep them in the hearts and minds of their members.
The recent announcement by Implats that they will be closing shafts and laying off employees, due in part to the massive reduction in the world-wide price for the precious metal platinum, (almost 50% in the past eight years) which more than any other precious metal used in industry is entirely recyclable and hence very closely linked to production cost. The mining trade union, Amcu, seems to be totally unaware of this and is hell-bent on further crippling the mining industry by massive strikes and the coercion of other unions to follow suit so that, as they say, “no platinum goes out of the ground”. Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, in his entirely predictable fashion, has come out in favour of the unions, stating that Implats has negotiated in bad faith. A smart union and minister should have done the right thing to ensure that the minimum of jobs is lost and production continues in the face of ever decreasing platinum prices and increasing mechanisation, by telling Implats that they would increase production per man hour and help by all possible means to reduce the cost of production. Why has this never been put on the table?
It’s time union members look for their own well-being and jobs by appealing to the mining companies that they will do whatever is required to keep their jobs. If it means the demise of trade unions and an entente cordiale between labour and mining houses, let the good times roll.
‘It’s time union members look for their own well-being’
Parktown North, Joburg