Whilst I am sitting in my office contemplating the negativity of the annual strike season, I listen to the news of the administrative arm of the police force going on strike. This is clearly setting the tone for the next few weeks. Yesterday morning President Jacob Zuma once again called for faster economic growth and a stable mining sector. He said that organised labour, business and government must help to stabilise the sector. President Zuma appears to be likewise worried about the future and the instability of the mining sector.
Despite this, we read in Business Day that three thousand jobs could be cut at Beatrix West and a further one thousand jobs will be lost at Sibyania Gold. The retrenchment numbers are rising in almost every industry. We have noted that statistics South Africa have said that we are losing jobs in manufacturing and the only real increase in the job market was with the state. Increasing employment within the state is a very negative situation as it merely eats into income tax money. In the latest Forbes Africa Edition 1 June 2013, the Forbes focus is Marikana. It is absolutely clear that Marikana had an incredibly negative backlash throughout the world. The workers themselves are not satisfied and are certainly not going back to work as usual. In an interview with one of the AMCU members he said the following to Forbes magazine “the employer is clearly showing that he is sleeping with NUM and Government. We are not going back to work until NUM vacates the mine.” The article ends by stating days of unrest lie ahead.
During the two most vicious strikes that at the platinum mines and those in the Western Cape’s agriculture sector the Minister of Labour was wholly absent. However when Amplats decided that they had no choice other than to cut fourteen thousand jobs the ministry saw fit to interfere with the normal business process and bring pressure to bear upon management to cut that figure down to six thousand jobs. Even when the formal process to cut the jobs began it was a move that appeared to spark a radical reaction from the union movement. There is a war going on between AMCU and NUM who are both the big giants in the mining industry and this will clearly spill out and effect the entire mining industry. The turf war is something that we cannot afford and in turn will affect South African economy. President Zuma said that the mining industry has been a key feature of the economy for more than a hundred and thirty years. He said the mining sector is responsible for 60% of export revenue and is probably the most valuable contributor of corporate taxes. The entire economy stands back in a state of shock.