The tussle between Sibanye-Stillwater and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has reached new heights.
The trade union, whose membership also includes coal mine workers, has teased a secondary strike and this could affect load shedding too.
Why is AMCU set to embark on a secondary strike?
AMCU president, Joseph Mathunjwa, made it abundantly clear that the upcoming strike has to be felt on a national scale. The plan is to render the entire country to a complete standstill.
This, according to Mathunjwa, is the only way to make the government — particularly the Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe — heed their calls for a moratorium at Sibanye-Stillwater.
Mantashe, on Thursday, revealed that his department would be engaging with the gold producer after it revealed its intentions to retrench more than 6 000 workers.
Mathunjwa expressed his disgust with this, criticising Mantashe of catering to the needs of Neal Froneman, the CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater.
“Mantashe is not prepared to engage with AMCU. He has not even been to Lily Mine where three workers are still trapped. But has already been to Gloria Coal Mine where illegal miners are trapped,” Mathunjwa said.
He also criticised the government on not bringing up the situation at Sibanye-Stillwater at the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“During the SONA debate, none of the opposition parties mentioned anything about the strike in the gold sector. Not a single opposition asked what the president of the country was doing about the ongoing strike at Sibanye-Stillwater but they want your vote.
“We are giving the government a chance to tell us what their plans are about Froneman so we can decide who we are voting for in May,” the AMCU president added.
Coal mine workers expected to join AMCU mass protests
Mathunjwa called on all mines where the trade union has majority representation to join the week-long strike.
The strike will be targeting the platinum sector and Mathunjwa revealed that after a mass meeting that allegedly took place on Monday evening, members from Impala Platinum and Lonmin have pledged their allegiance with the cause.
This news threatens all of the work that has gone into rebooting Eskom’s power grid. There have been no scheduled power cuts in the country since Friday 15 February, after a week of severe disruptions.
However, this mass strike action could see the return of load shedding. Remember that AMCU represents about half of coal mine workers.
With their anticipated participation in the seven-day strike, the power utility will be left vulnerable and without an output source of the coal that is needed to convert energy into electricity for the grid.
This report does not necessarily reflects the opinion of SA-news.