Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Showdown Over Job Cuts In South African Mining Industry

9/25/2013 11:50:53 PM

Showdown over job cuts


The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has been taken to task for allegedly having acted in bad faith over looming retrenchments at Anglo American Platinum.

The upstart union, which has replaced the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the majority union in the platinum belt in Rustenburg, is expected to down tools tomorrow in an effort to halt the retrenchment of 3300 workers.

Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole confirmed they had received a 48-hour strike notice from Amcu on Monday.

NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka lashed out at Amcu saying they had acted in bad faith regarding industrial action.

“We feel that Amcu has not acted in good faith regarding the strike. They should have invited all unions so that we have a united approach against the retrenchments,” Seshoka said.

He vowed they would not be joining the strike.

“We are going to court to interdict Amplats from going ahead with the retrenchments,” Seshoka said.

Amcu national treasurer Jimmy Gama said: “The strike was called in an effort to stop the company from retrenching workers. If they agree, there will be no strike.”

It had been explained to their members that the industrial action needed to be conducted in a peaceful manner.

“We told them that those who are going to work should be allowed. We believe that workers will abide by that. This is a legal strike,” Gama said.

He said the strike would go on until the company “accedes to what the workers are saying. This will be an indefinite strike”.

Sithole earlier said strikes and work stoppages would result in further losses that would “hamper plans for future sustainability”.

The retrenchments were “necessary” for the survival of the business, and “for ensuring a secure future for the remaining 45000 employees”.

Amplats wanted employees to be part of improving the business through the difficult time, she said.

UASA spokesperson Franz Stehring said: “We can’t support the strike at the moment. We will take whatever action that’s needed because we are not happy that 3300 jobs will be lost.”

Trade union Solidarity spokesperson Marius Croucamp said while the mining industry was in distress, strike action would “aggravate” the situation.

“We believe that retrenchments should be done as an absolute last resort. Alternative measures should be sought because those workers (facing retrenchments) support vast families,” Croucamp said.

He said a solution to the retrenchments should be found around the negotiating table.

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