AMCU threatens strike at Implats over planned job cuts

17th August 2018 By: Anine Kilian - Contributing Editor Online

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has threatened industrial strike action at Impala Platinum (Implats) if talks with the company over its plans to cut 13 000 jobs and shut down five mines are not successful.

Implats announced last week that it would cut its workforce by 13 000 employees over the next two years at its operations in Rustenburg to meet the challenge of declining global demand.

Addressing the media at a briefing earlier this month, AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa said the size of the South African mining workforce was estimated at 490 146.

“Forty-one per cent of these individuals were employed in the platinum-group-metals (PGMs) [sector]. Since 2015, PGM ore lost a total of 7 800 jobs – meaning that the recent Lonmin [retrenchments] and, now [those at] Impala . . . are actually the most significant in history,” he said.

He added that an equally important consideration was the knock-on effects of these job cuts.

“Popular research has shown that one salary in the mining sector actually represents between five and ten livelihoods of spouses and family members dependent on [the] salary. “This could mean up to 130 000 people directly affected by the looming retrenchments, and probably millions more being affected indirectly,” he noted.

Mathunjwa said that AMCU would participate in the retrenchment consultations at Implats and do its best to save as many jobs as possible.

“We hope the company will come to this consultation process with a view of following the legal test of a joint consensus- seeking process and not be positional in engaging this matter.

“All the parties have rights in law and recourse should they have objections to the procedural or substantive fairness of the process. We will closely monitor this and retain our rights to do everything possible to exercise the mandate of our members, including industrial action, where necessary.”