Today's Labour News

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Business Report writes that 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.

The original of this report by Dineo Faku is on page 15 of Business Report of 11 August 2017