AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa speaks at a media briefing in Johannesburg about the union's position regarding looming 13,000 job losses at Impala Platinum. PHOTO:Siphelele Dludla/ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said on Tuesday it would do its level best to save jobs at Impala Platinum, including downing tools and bringing the South African platinum industry down to its knees if necessary. 

Last week, the world's second-largest platinum producer announced it would cut its workforce by 13,000 employees over the next two years at its operations in Rustenburg as part of the implementation of its restructuring plan to meet the challenge of declining global demand.

On Tuesday Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the majority union in the platinum mining industry, said Amcu would "never stomach" 13,000 workers going home and vowed to cripple Impala operations should the mine go ahead with retrenchments. 

The union would fight the Implats plans in the same manner that it forced Anglo American Platinum to whittle down its initial intention to retrench 14,000 workers to just 3,000 in 2013, it said.

"Amcu will participate in the retrenchment consultations at Impala, and we will do our best to save as many jobs as possible. We will spare no resource in our struggle to protect the livelihoods of mineworkers. We hope that the company will come to this consultation process with a view of following the legal test of a joint consensus seeking process," Mathunjwa said. 

"We will closely monitor this and retain our rights to do everything possible to exercise the mandate of our members including industrial action where 
necessary. We will even apply for a secondary strike at other Impala operations to make sure that no single ounce of platinum comes up from the ground. Whoever has a business relationship with Impala will be affected."