Unions to resist Anglo retrenchments

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Johannesburg -

The planned retrenchments by Anglo Platinum must stop immediately, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) demanded on Saturday.

This was one of the demands put forward in a memorandum handed over to Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinum when the two unions marched to the Rustenburg municipal offices.

“Workers of this country continue to be marginalised and subjected to substandard services and slave wages which continue to degrade their lives while the politicians and business executives continue to benefit from the rich economy this country poses,” the memorandum read.

“At the same time we are threatened by further job losses through retrenchments and dismissal in the mining sector.”

Amplats announced in January it would retrench nearly 14 000 workers. Later that month it delayed the retrenchments by two months for consultation.

The memorandum also demanded the end of “union bashing” at Impala Platinum and the immediate re-opening of the NUM offices there.

“Companies such as Impala unilaterally derecognises unions and take away their organisational rights while the agreements are still valid and at the same time continues to give recognition and rights to a union which has lesser members just because that union organises white employees.”

Cosatu said it subscribes to the notion of freedom of association as enshrined in the Constitution and condemned any form of intimidation which intended to force workers to join union which they did not choose.

The memorandum also called for the appointment of a jointly agreed independent body to conduct a membership verification exercise for both Impala and Anglo Platinum.

The unions' other demands included that Impala's mining license be reviewed, the department of labour investigate the status of all the unions and deregister those which do not meet the requirements, and a better living wage that would assist workers out of poverty.

“We demand a full detailed response within seven days.” - Sapa

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