Amcu heads to court to compel dept to set minimum standards for health, safety

The union wants government to issue binding regulations to protect miners from the virus as the lockdown moves to level 4 allowing production to return to more than 50%.

FILE: Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa addressing the media. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is taking the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to court to force the minister to set minimum standards for health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The union wants government to issue binding regulations to protect miners from the virus as the lockdown moves to Level 4 and allowing production to return to more than 50%.

The safety of miners was thrust back in the spotlight recently after Impala Platinum CEO Mark Munroe was charged for contravening lockdown regulations when he asked non-essential workers to return to work.

Amcu said that before it approached the Labour Court, the union wrote numerous letters to the DMRE pleading with Minister Gwede Mantashe to set health and safety standards for miners.

The union said miners were at risk because they worked in highly congested areas with very little ventilation. Amcu feared that this would lead to widespread infection among mineworkers and the vulnerable communities they lived in.

The union also urged government to show its support for miners by ensuring their health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

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