Amcu: More protests expected at Amplats

Amcu will have a mass meeting with its members from Amplats to discuss a way forward.

Workers standing outside Amlplat's Rusternburg mine. Picture: AFP

RUSTENBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) on Thursday said it expects more protests over the possible retrenchments at Anglo Platinum.

The union's leader Joseph Mathunjwa said he was planning a mass meeting with his members to discuss a way to counter the mining company's decision.

The mine announced restructuring plans this week which could see 14,000 employees lose their jobs.

Mathunjwa said he will be getting a mandate from his 26,000 members from Amplats sometime this weekend.

He said he was shocked by the company's announcement about possible job losses and believes this could raise tensions.

"It appears that we might, in the near future, see more protests against retrenchments. Our position as Amcu is that no job should be lost."

Mathunjwa has also called on government to intervene.

Meanwhile, Anglo Platinum miners said they are resorting to strikes because democracy has failed them.

Thousands of miners started an illegal this week after learning about possible job losses due to restructuring, but returned to work on Wednesday as they wait for permission to strike legally.

One miner said he has no other choice but to strike.

"Democracy has only benefitted the elite while the working class continues to suffer. There's mass unemployment, poverty and exploitation. I think going on a strike is the right thing because we are fighting for our rights."

Amplats is talking to unions about the restructuring process and how jobs can be saved.

Meanwhile, community leaders and business owners in surrounding settlements say development there will also suffer.

Most communities surrounding the mine rely heavily on the miners to sustain the local economy.

Community leader and business owner Hashaley Setshedi says if miners are fired, development is likely to stop in the settlements.

"We feel betrayed by the mine because there are certain things that we were hoping they would help us with. We've been engaging the mine in terms of development."

Mining Minister Susan Shabangu has slammed Amplats saying it did not involve government in its decision to retrench workers.

The mining has been under immense pressure in recent months following wide spread industrial actions.

In August, miners at Marikana down tools demanding better salaries.

The strike became violent when the strikers clashed with police.

At least 34 miners lost their lives.

The strike quickly spread to other mines.