Amcu digs in for fight over looming mine job cuts

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) vowed on Tuesday to intensify their efforts to stop Impala Platinum mine shedding up to 13 000 jobs.

“Losing your job is a harrowing experience – especially in South Africa today with its unemployment rate rising to 27.2% in the second quarter of this year. As we all know‚ this is also by the narrow definition of unemployment and real unemployment stands much higher‚” said Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa at a media briefing on the looming cuts.

Mathunjwa said the union would monitor the situation closely and do everything possible to exercise the mandate of its members‚ including embarking on industrial action where necessary.

Impala Platinum announced plans last week to shed as many as 13 000 jobs over two years.

“The mining industry has been seized with optimisation and mechanisation discourse for a while now. It is becoming clear‚ through heightened retrenchment efforts‚ that the sector is bent on changing mining systems to use lean workforce towards hyper profits‚” warned Mathunjwa.

“Amcu will participate in the retrenchment consultations at Impala‚ and we will do our best to save as many jobs as possible. We will spare no resource in our struggle to protect the livelihoods of mineworkers.”

Mathunjwa urged the government to create demand for its own minerals.

“Government must create demand for its own minerals. The Highveld Steel manufacturing plant‚ close to Kusile Power Station‚ was closed down in 2016. One wonders why government never nationalised this resource‚ in order to create jobs and sustain communities. One wonders how many tonnes of steel were used in the construction of Kusile and Medupi. Ironically all this steel was imported from China. How short-sighted can one be‚” he asked.

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