Johannesburg - The government should nationalise Anglo
Platinum [JSE:AMS] if it continues with the proposed retrenchment of 14 000
workers, trade union Amcu said on Thursday.
"If Anglo persists with the retrenchments, it's a
window for government to take those mines and nationalise them,"
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathunjwa
told reporters in Johannesburg.
"See if nationalisation will work on a small scale. The
issue of retrenchments is just a drop in the water."
Anglo Platinum (Amplats) announced this week it could cut up
to 14 000 jobs, close four shafts and sell a mine considered unsustainable.
Mathunjwa expressed shock at the announcement.
"We were shocked on Tuesday.... This is very
unacceptable," he said.
"We all know the country is facing a high number of
unemployment. Now for Anglo Platinum to shed so many jobs is a sign of not
putting the interest of this country at heart."
The union would hold a meeting in Rustenburg to discuss and
plan the way forward.
Mathunjwa said it was important for the government to step
in to find "amicable solutions" to the problems facing the mining
sector and the economy at large.
"We cannot let these foreign investors do as they
please with our mineral resources," he said.
"It is high time now that we as a nation stand together
and find ways of ensuring that our mineral resources benefit the people of
He said Amcu represented about 26 000 Amplats employees.
On Tuesday, workers embarked on a strike and refused to go
underground following the company's announcement that about 14 000 jobs could
be lost by its plan to stop production at four of its shafts in Rustenburg.
The announcement came after Harmony Gold Mining Company
[JSE:HAR] said it was suspending operations at its Kusasalethu mine in
Carletonville to review operations after several illegal strikes.
On Wednesday night, Amplats miners returned to work and
abandoned their illegal strike, the company said.
Mathunjwa described the situation at Harmony Gold as tense.
He said when workers returned to work on January 3, the
gates were closed and they were told the mine was shut down until further notice.
Miners were denied access into the mine hostel and many
slept outside the gates, he said.
Amcu took the matter to the High Court in Johannesburg, to
obtain an urgent interdict granting access to the hostels. The matter will be
heard on January 22.