Aim should be to minimise job cuts

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SA is on its knees economically and completely lost as far as direction and leadership are concerned.

We under-achieve in just about every category - education, literacy, numeracy, production, employment, gross domestic product growth and service delivery.

The blame for our failures can be placed squarely at the door of successive ANC governments. They are cesspools of incompetence and corruption. We can also blame trade unions which are becoming more demanding and violent in their bid to keep their leaders on the front pages. To hell with the economy and the country, our country.

Implats recently announced that it will be closing shafts and laying off employees, due in part to the massive drop in the global price for platinum. The metal is entirely recyclable and hence very closely linked to production cost.

Trade union Amcu seems to be totally unaware of this and is hellbent on further crippling the mining industry through massive strikes and the coercion of other unions to follow suit so that "no platinum goes out of the ground". This will only lead to the end-user becoming more efficient in recycling the mineral.

Predictably, mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has come out in favour of the unions, stating that Implats has negotiated in bad faith.

A smart trade union and minister should have done the right thing to ensure that job losses are minimal and that production continues in the face of ever-reducing platinum prices and increasing mechanisation, by telling Implats that they would increase production and help by all possible means to reduce the cost of production. Why has this never been put on the table?

It's time that trade union members looked after their own wellbeing by appealing to the mining companies that they will do whatever is required to keep their jobs, even if it means the demise of trade unions.

Dr Peter Baker

Parktown North

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